Standing Against Temptation: We Are Not Alone
He gives to us the power to overcome temptation and sin.
By Chris Magill, Perimeter School Dad
As I reflect on my first year, I am overwhelmed by the great works that the Lord has done in and through this school. Although at times my faith has been tested, the Lord has shown Himself to be faithful. From the bottom of my heart, I want to say thank you! I encourage you to fight the good fight of faith. To that end, one of our covenant dads wanted to bless you with a word of encouragement for the upcoming summer. Please enjoy Chris Magill's reflection on the sovereign work of God.
- David Goodrich, Middle School Principal
There are moments throughout my day when I find myself tempted to be self-indulgent in so many ways. I put off doing the dishes, preparing a proposal for a potential client, or exercising. I am tempted to covet and lust after things of this world. I covet recognition and status from others around me. I am tempted to find my sense of self-worth in what my kids are achieving.
I find comfort in the fact that the temptations with which I struggle are no different than those faced by anyone else. I am not the only one. I find hope in the fact that God does not allow the temptation to be more than I am able to endure, and He even provides the way of escape. 1 Corinthians 10:13 says, "No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it."
However, all too often, I don't bother to look for the way of escape. I don't reach out to brothers or sisters in Christ to stand with me in the fight. Thus, I despair. When I consider all God has done to reveal Himself to the world and to me, I sometimes question whether I am really a Christian if I can so easily give in to those temptations and commit sins. Think about what He has done! He took the required consequence of my sins upon Himself and died on the cross; then He rose from the dead in glory so that I might have new life in Him.
He reached into my life and changed my very nature from one of sin to one of righteousness, so that I could be transformed and conformed to the very image of His dear son. He sent the Holy Spirit that I might know God is eminent, involved, and caring; and He constantly makes intercession on my behalf to the Father. My emotions and my mind agree with Paul when he says, "Wretched man that I am! Who will set me free from the body of this death?" (Romans 7:24).
Lately, in my struggles and frustrations with myself, I have returned to Hebrews 4:14 - 16 repeatedly: "Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin. Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need."
Here I find the truth that sets me free from my despair. Jesus, being fully man and fully God, sympathizes with our weaknesses. He was also tempted in all things. God even understands when I don't look for the provided way of escape from temptation. While He has been tempted in all things, He did not give in to those temptations and sin.
Therefore, you and I, knowing that God understands and sympathizes, can come with confidence into His presence and receive mercy rather than the rightful consequences for our sins. We will find a loving Father who looks at His children with understanding and sympathy for their weaknesses and says, "You are forgiven."
He Offers the Power to Overcome
Now here is the amazing part. He could have just left us there - forgiven, understood, but with no real solutions or answers. However, God goes much further than that. He gives to us the power to overcome temptation and sin.
He planned for us to know Him and enjoy Him forever! He planned for us to know that He sympathizes and understands. He planned to grant us mercy and forgiveness, so that we can receive from Him the power to overcome our temptations. He planned for us to know the presence of God, not just in our quiet times, discipleship groups, or church services, but in our daily lives. He planned for us to be able to communicate with him moment by moment, so that He can transform us and conform us to the image of His dear Son.