Summary: Part 2 in a 4 part series dealing with temptations that we all face. This message deals with the attack of our old nature upon our physical body as Paul understood the struggle in Romans 7.


The Temptations We Face

Part 2, The Stranger

Romans 7:21-25

May 7, 2006

Pastor Brian Matherlee

The Scripture refers to a part of life that everyone has experienced—even those with a personal relationship with God through faith in Jesus Christ.

Billy Joel wrote a song entitled, “The Stranger”. In it he describes the truth so many of us try to hide about ourselves from others. He describes “The Stranger” as something we “show ourselves when everyone has gone.” The Bible speaks about the “Old Man”—the carnal man. It describes the sinful nature that still remains that Satan taps into as a tempting force.

When the “old me” attacks it comes against my physical being, my biological needs and natural drives. Then it seeks to twist them against the direction, provision and blessing of God.

• In his book, Men at Work, George F. Will takes a close look at four baseball players. One of those examined is Orel Hershiser (of Dodgers fame), who talks about his philosophy of pitching. “There are two theories of pitching,” Hershiser says. “One is that you try to convince the batter that a particular pitch is coming and you throw something different. The other theory, that you don’t hear as much, but that I use, is that if the batter expects a particular pitch, you throw it, but you throw it in a place where he can’t hit it.” That is: Know what a batter wants or expects and throw the ball almost there. If he is a highball hitter, throw it a bit too high. His eagerness will prevent him from laying off it, but it will be hard to hit well.

Isn’t that the way the enemy works in our life? He knows just what kind of pitch that we are a sucker for and then throws it our way. But, it is just a little higher or just a little bit more outside than where we like it, and most likely we will bite on it every time. After all, it looks so good. It feels so right. -- Doug Cecil, Dallas Connection, Spring, 1995, p. 1

• Know your weaknesses when life throws temptations at you

The “old me” shows up at the most inconvenient times.

• When I have “down time”—boredom

• When I have “sad times”—pain, loss, dissappointment

• When I have “good times”—I drop my guard

o In the movie “The Princess Bride”, one of the characters keeps saying, “I’m invincible”, and each time he fails at something. One of his cronies, played by the late Andre the Giant, remarks, “I don’t think that word means what he thinks it means.” It’s the times of blessing that Christians tend to forget they still need God.

Let’s look at some examples:

Luke 12:23

• Food is a need but the out of control part of my old self turns fueling my body for living to gluttony for comfort, control, activity. This behavior takes the truth and twists it into a lie that destroys. The lie is that we really aren’t harming ourselves or, that we need more or, I deserve it.

• Clothing is necessary but the out of control part of my old self turns the need for modesty, warmth, and protection into greed, accumulation and discontent.

o A woman bought a extravagant dress, and the husband asked why did it have to be so extravagant, She said the devil made me buy it, The husband asked, why didn’t you say get behind me Satan?, The woman said, I did and said it looked as good in the front as it did in the back, so I bought it. (Sermon Central)

o “I don’t have anything to wear.”

2 Samuel 11

• David fell into the trap every man struggles with—what we see with our eyes. Our vision coupled with sexual desire is the most prevalent pitfall for our society. And it’s not just men.

PR 29:11

A fool gives full vent to his anger, but a wise man keeps himself under control.

• A husband sees a therapist about his anger towards his wife and is advised by the psychiatrist to assert himself. "You don’t have to let your wife henpeck you. Go home and show her you’re the boss." The husband takes the doctor’s advice. He rushes home, slams the door, shakes his fist in his wife’s face, and growls, "From now on, you’re taking orders from me. I want my supper right now, and when you get it on the table, go upstairs, and lay out my best clothes. Tonight, I’m going out with the boys, and you are going to stay at home where you belong. And another thing, guess who’s going to comb my hair, give me a shave, and tie my necktie?" His wife says calmly, "The undertaker."

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