Summary: This message deals with what we need to do to avoid temptation and to see it for what it really is.
I Can Beat This Temptation
Is there anyone here who faced temptation this past week? You may have found yourself in the ring, ready to give that knockout punch, only to discover that temptation was a little stronger and a little quicker than you had imagined and found yourself flat on the mat, caught off guard by quick left hook.
Before your knew it temptation was looking down at you, saying you ain’t so bad after all. I want you to know right now, that was just round one. There’s a whole lot of fight left inside of you, and I want you to know, if you go into the next round the way God wants you to go, you’ll come out of your corner saying, “I can beat this temptation.”
Sometimes when we look at Jesus’ command to love your neighbor as yourself, we so focus on the neighbor part, that we forget the “as yourself part.” It’s important for us to love ourselves because if we don’t love ourselves right, then we’re not going to love each other properly. Now I’m not talking about standing in front of a mirror telling yourself , how good you look, and how in love you are with yourself.
I’m talking about loving yourself in such a way that you want nothing but the best for yourself. I’m talking about loving yourself as God loves you, so that you can say to yourself, “Self, I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not to harm you.” Now our love for ourselves is submitted to our love for God which keeps us from simply becoming selfish in our love.
You see, in order to be properly equipped to beat up on temptation, you have got to love yourself. Love is willing to look out for the long term interest of another person. If your six year old child says, “but I don’t want to go to school anymore because I don’t like it and I’ve been a whole year.” Love is going to overlook the child’s immediate need for satisfaction, and think long term about the consequences and what’s best for the child in the long run.
Temptation is always going to involve some immediate benefit, pleasure, or satisfaction at the risk of some long term disaster, headache or new set of problems. For instance if you’re broke or want more money, temptation may come in the form of a pocket book on a table, a credit card on the ground, an old boyfriend, an idea of how to use a computer to hide funds being stolen, or the theft of someone’s money. The satisfaction and reward is immediate because you get the money, but the consequence of the action may not be known for quite some time. Just because you got it, does not mean you got away with it.
All of us are like fish in a pond from temptation’s point of view. The devil is out fishing. Any fisherman who plans on catching fish has to do two things. The first is, you’ve got to use the right kind of bait, and the second is you have to hide the hook. We all have specific things that we are more tempted to do than others. Satan just sits back and watches us. He sees where we want to be tempted.
How many of you know, there are some areas we just want to be tempted in. We give it away by what we focus our attention on. In our reading in Proverbs, we saw a guy that wanted to be tempted by drugs and alcohol. He was looking at it while it was in the glass.
He focused on the sparkling it caused as it was being swished around. He wanted to sample just a little bit here and there. He could feel how smooth it would go down and the pleasure it was going to give to him. Once he took it, he started seeing strange things and his mind became all confused. Once the experience was over, all he could think about was doing it again. He became an addict. Many of us are addicts to various things without knowing it. We just can’t wait to do such and such again.
After observing us, Satan comes along with a beautiful lure, that offers us all that we think we’re going to get from this whatever it is. It catches our attention. We swim around and look at it from all sides. Some of us don’t even think about the consequences. We just go ahead and bite the thing and run. But some of us are more cautious. We think now is now the right time, but I’ll be back after I’ve studied this a little more. We know that there is a hook, but we’re waiting to see how we can get it and escape the hook.