Sermons

Summary: how to overcome temptation

Taming the Temptation:By Pastor Ohm Prakash

M.TV! No way it won’t affect my mind," the teenager barked back at his mother as he slammed the door to his room and picked up the magazine filled with images and pictures that contain the power to shape his life in a direction far from what God has planned. The world is filled with temptation and evil desire. And if left unchecked, it will rob and steal one of the most precious things you have—your mind—which is the sanctuary and dwelling place of God’s holy truth.

While many Christians grapple with the issue of how to censor what their children watch on television, countless others ignore the warnings. Thin excuses abound: "It’s just a short program; it won’t hurt them to watch it. Besides, it keeps them busy." "I know it’s wrong, but it’s funny and it portrays real life." "I get so tired of all that goodie, goodie Christian stuff. No one can be good all the time."

What we fail to acknowledge is that the material we listen to, read, and watch programs our minds and hearts. One secular writer admits to his readers: "You are what you read." This is not a new concept. Romans 12:2 cautions us "not to be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect."

our minds operate like huge computers by gathering and taking in data. They are constantly arranging and storing facts and memories. We may think we forget certain events, names, and faces, but actually until something short-circuits our mental ability, all we experience is sorted and kept. Our ability to retrieve data may seem limited at times. However, each experience, thought, and event remains imprinted on our minds. Only God has the ability to remove those thoughts that are too painful or irrelevant to where we are today in our Christian walks.

When it comes to sin and its effect on our lives, the memory is often difficult to erase. In his book Raising Lambs Among Wolves, Mark Bubeck explains how the cycle of sin and lust exploded in Solomon’s mind and life.

"[Solomon] experienced the consequences flowing from David’s most glaring sins. His failures were centered on his giving in to sensual sins. He followed a pattern of sexual sins. His sensual love for foreign, beautiful women was legendary . . . As he grew older, these foreign women influenced Solomon to follow their idolatrous practices. This spelled his doom . . . Solomon’s moral sins had a direct relationship to one of David’s darkest failures."

David helped to establish a pattern of thinking in the life of his family. He regretted his sin with Bath Sheba and did not want it to be incorporated in his son’s life. Once Solomon grew to be a man, the temptation to yield to this same sin became very great. God protects us to a certain point. However, when we disobey His will and sin against Him, He allows us to go our own way. He is omniscient, but He will not violate the limited free will He has given you. Therefore, it is illogical to pray to be pure and then pick up a lustful magazine with the expectation that God will stop you. He works in mighty ways. He warns you to stop but will not pressure you into doing something you do not desire.

We must face the fact that our sin affects the people we live and work with and the body of Christ in general. It divides our minds and sets us up to become easy targets for the enemy’s deception. Once your mind grows accustomed to darkened enticement, the only way to renew the light within is through God’s Word. Colossians 3:2-3 admonishes you to "set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth." The apostle Paul reminds us that we have died to sin and our lives are now hidden in Christ.

Yielding to sin and temptation simply does not fit who you are in Christ. Now that you are saved, your life has been sealed by the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit. The life of God’s Son now lives within you. This is why there is confusion and strife when we become involved in things that go against the principles of God. We may blame the tension and stress we feel on others or our circumstances.

However, when we yield to temptation, we open ourselves up to evil and therefore suffer its consequences. Because Christ lives within you, there is a residing desire for purity and identity with God. This is why it feels good to go to church. Singing, worshiping, and learning more about God’s love bring contentment to our souls. We come away thinking how wonderful it is to be a Christian and how fulfilling it is to live for Christ. Then temptation comes and we sense the darkness gathering. The challenge God places before us is to resist the enemy and stand firm in our faith. When we fail to do this we find ourselves drifting along in a sea of guilt and shame.

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