Summary: This message looks at the Apostle Paul’s dilemma in Romans 7:14-25. Paul evaluates why he does not have victory in his spiritual life.
BREAKING FREE FROM PERSISTENT TEMPTATIONS (Acknowledgment - Rick Warrens Series Breaking Free)- Breaking Free Part 1 (Romans 7:15-24)
o Were calling this series “Breaking Free, breaking free areas in our lives that block us from fulfilling God’s purpose for our lives.
o God wants to heal our inner wounds. But we need each other to break free from our past. Many of us have carried secret hurts – a sin, a habit, a hurt, regret, a fear, a worry.
o Here is a big issue people tell me. Pastor, I start out with great intentions to change my ways. This year will be different. But it never is. I always fall back into my same old bad habits.
o I really want to do right but I always end up disappointing myself and God.
o I’ve tried everything – prayer, resolutions, self-help tapes, even Dr.Phil. Why am I so unhappy? Why do I do things that I know are bad for me? I’m very discouraged and I need help.”
o If were honest we will admit we have all felt that way. The things you want to do you end up not doing. The things you know are bad for you, you end up doing. You’re caught in what I call the cycle of failure. It goes like this: Good intentions, action, failure – guilt. Then the cycle repeats itself.
o The Apostle Paul struggled with it; so do we. Why does that happen? Because it takes more than good intentions to change. If I could change from good intentions I would weigh 200 pounds and be buff. It takes far more than desire to change my life.
o Today were going to talk about “Breaking Free from Persistent Temptations.”
o Maybe its out of control anger; maybe its fear that tends to dominate your life; worry or resentment. For some it is lust and sexual thoughts. For some it is greed. It could be jealousy.
o Your unsure about how to break the cycle.
o Paul obviously felt this way, the Apostle Paul. Romans 7:15 “I don’t understand myself. For I really want to do what’s right but I don’t do it. Instead I do the very thing I hate.” How do I break free from persistent temptations?
o Here are the steps to have victory over persistent temptation.
1. Predetermine my pattern of temptation.
o What do I mean by that? Every one of us is unique. I thought about that when I was in Ottawa. There were thousands of people, and not one of them was the same.
o We all have the same common temptations. But Satan attacks us in different ways.
o For instance food is a huge temptation for me. I have a highly developed sense of taste. That is an area that affects me and can drive me.
o When I travel I want to go to nice restaurants. Now that is not even an issue with my wife. That is one way in which we are so different.
o I have discovered that I can handle the food issue if I have healthy snacks I will not feel out of control. Then I am not such a bear to be around.
o We all justify these things. I used to say I have hypoglycemia, which I do, a medical condition where your blood sugar level drops before meals. If you have hypoglycemia then you become very moody if you don’t eat.
o Now I would justify that and be very moody around my wife and children, particularly after work if there was not a huge meal ready the moment I walked in the door. So I said that is not sin in my life, until my accountability partner, Fred Schuman, challenged me. He said that is sin in your life. I said really Fred.
o Fred said you’re justifying your bad moods at the expense of other people around you. You need a healthy snack in the middle of the afternoon. That will help. This is a sin in your life and it is not fair to your family. I discovered something. Fred was right. I needed to change. The Apostle Paul wrote ‘look not only to your own needs but also to the needs of others.’
o Some of you know that you get on Facebook and your there for hours. There goes your prayer and Bible reading time; for others its television.
o We need to know our pattern of temptation. The devil precisely knows how to trip us up. If you do not know what tempts you – your going to be very vulnerable to a fall.
o Look at the five questions on your outline. When am I most tempted? Where am I most tempted? Who is with me when I’m most tempted? What temporary benefits do I get if I give in? And, How do I feel right before I’m tempted? Let’s look at these in a little more detail.