Summary: How can we withstand the temptation which we face on a daily basis?
A mother told her son not to go swimming. However, when he came into the house his mother noticed that his hair and bathing suit were wet. "I told you not to go swimming," the boy’s mother scolded. "I couldn’t help it mom," he defended himself. "The water looked so good." "But why did you take your bathing suit with you?" "In case I was tempted."
In the 1980’s it was first lady Nancy Reagan who popularized the slogan "Just say no." Remember that? though simple and straight forward, that little two letter word can still be a difficult choice to make.
Whether you are on a diet and get in line at all you can eat buffett, or if you are taking a test and are tempted to cheat, or whether you are facing the temptation to sin, it can be difficult to just say “no”.
Temptation to do the wrong thing is very real. Are you ever tempted to do what you know is wrong? Do you ever give into those temptations? Do you ever struggle to do what is right in the eyes of God? Temptation to sin is a part of a Christian’s daily life, and most likely we will give in on a daily basis.
Many people are not concerned with doing the right thing. There are millions of people in the world who are content with their lives the way they are. They are convinced that they are good people and therefore have earned favor with God. When a person becomes content with the person they have become they stand in a very dangerous place. Before I get into the heart of this message I want to make it clear that we as people need to learn several vital truths. First, God is holy. The trait that the Bible repeats about God more than any other is not the fact that God is “love”, but rather that he is holy. That means he is perfect, and not only has he never done any wrong, evil or sin cannot come into his presence because he is holy. That is why God has to judge sin. Second, we are sinners. I know that it is not politically correct or very appealing of a thought but that is the reality. We all have sinned, the Bible tells us and fallen short of the glory of God. Third, we cannot earn favor with God. There is no way that we can ever be good enough to make ourselves right with God. I really do believe that most people are good people, but the problem is that one sin has separated us from a holy God. What Jesus did, was he came and bore the punishment for our sins that we deserved, he settled the wrath of God that should have been shown on us. That sounds great, who in their right mind wouldn’t be thrilled with that. Then since our sins have been forgiven does it really matter how we live our lives? Does it really matter what we do? Jesus has already died for our sins, so why do we still have to try to do what God says?
For some reason even after we have decided to become Christians and accepted what Jesus did for us we still choose to sin. Even after knowing the good we should do sometimes we choose to do what is wrong. That is never okay and that is never acceptable, but we are human and we struggle with sin.
Perhaps you feel tempted at times to do what is wrong. Maybe you feel tempted sometimes to say things that are improper, impure or out of place. Maybe you feel tempted to engage in things that you know are wrong. Maybe you feel tempted to continue in a bad habit. Maybe you feel tempted to avoid doing the things you ought to do. Perhaps you look at your life and you see there are certain things which you have wrestled with and struggled with since you have been a Christian. I want us to understand that temptation in not what is wrong, it is the giving into the temptation that is wrong. I want us to understand that temptation is not uncommon, I believe we all face temptation. If someone were to tell me they are never tempted I would quickly wonder what they were not doing to make them not a target. As long as there is a Devil in this world we will have a target on our backs because his objective is to keep us from God. Someone once said, “I wouldn’t be tempted if temptation wasn’t so tempting.” Sam Levenson said, “Lead us not into temptation. Just tell us where it is; we’ll find it.” Flip Wilson said, “The devil made me do it the first time, but ever since then I’ve been doing it on my own.” Oscar Wilde said, “I can resist anything but temptation.” We all deal with temptation. I want us also to understand that we can overcome. We are not doomed to failure.