Therefore I esteem right all Your precepts concerning everything,
I hate every false way.
Have you ever wished sinful things were not such a temptation? I have often wished that lust did not have such a pull... that overeating was not such a problem... that greediness never entered my heart... that the desire for that which God forbids was not existent.
Why the temptations anyway? Would it not be better for us (and God) if temptation had no allure and no attraction? I mean if we never got tempted, then we could REALLY walk with God and please Him, couldn't we?
WHERE IS THE VICTORY?
God does desire us to walk with Him and not succumb to the temptations of the flesh. However, God wants us to defeat temptation not by forfeit, but by victory.
When I was younger and still had good knees, I loved to play basketball. After graduating from college, I played in several city leagues in the Houston area. It was a ton of fun. Some nights, there would be a game in which the other team had to forfeit because they did not have players show up. My squad won not because we beat them, but because they could not field a team for that night. It was a hollow win, to say the least. Victory by forfeit is not much of a victory.
God wants His children to meet the enemy head on... and defeat the enemy. David met Goliath on the field of battle and beat him for a great victory. If Goliath had suffered a massive heart attack on his way down the mountain to face David, would that not have been a hollow victory? Do you think we would be talking about that kind of story with the same excitement and passion? NO! Anyone can defeat a dead giant.
THE EXAMPLE OF JESUS
For you and I to experience the thrill, excitement and joy of victory, there has to be opposition... there has to be temptation. Jesus met temptation in His life on earth... and defeated it, not by default, but by hard fought victory... by depending on His Father and trusting His will, His word, and His ways.
So how can you and I do what Jesus did when we are tempted t
*Tell a lie in order to save face or get what we want?
*Be sexually immoral in thought or action to gratify the flesh?
*Be irresponsible to have fun for the moment?
*Steal in order to get ahead?
*Take drugs or alcohol in order to escape or cope?
*Bash people with our tongues in order to hurt them because they hurt us?
Without question, you and I must depend on God's strength for victory over temptation. I have found, however, another big key to victory... Psalm 119:128 - Therefore I esteem right all Your precepts concerning everything, I hate every false way. If you and I settle the issue in our own hearts that God's ways (laws, precepts) are right concerning everything, then temptation loses a lot of its pull and attraction.
For example, suppose you are tempted in the area of sexual immorality. God says, "This sexual immorality will destroy you. It will bring a moment of pleasure and a lifetime of pain. It will leave you guilty, ashamed and alone" (see Prove 6:29-35). Temptation says, "Go for it. If it feels good do it... everyone else is! Live for the moment and give no thought to tomorrow." Which voice is telling the truth? Which voice is the one to follow?
The next time you are tempted, think it through. God ALWAYS tells the truth, and His ways are always "right concerning everything." The sooner you and I believe that, receive that and live by that, the sooner we will start slaying those Goliath temptations by the power of the Holy Spirit.
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Jeff Schreve is Senior Pastor of First Baptist Church in Texarkana, Texas. He and his wife Debbie have been married for over 20 years and are blessed with three wonderful girls. Jeff began From His Heart Ministries, a radio and television ministry, in January of 2005. This ministry is completely listener/viewer supported. It continues only through the faithful and generous gifts of people like you. Pastor Jeff takes no salary from this ministry. All gifts go to further the broadcast. Click here to become a ministry partner.