Temptation Vs. Sinful Desire.
A temptation becomes a sin when we determine in our mind that we personally want to partake of it.¹ The bible says we sin when we are lured and give into our sinful desires.² In God’s eyes, fantasizing about something is the same as doing it.³ It’s not wrong to have an attraction to something that displeases God, it’s only a sin when we let ourselves think about doing it, and fantasize about what it would be like.
Jesus was tempted and never sinned.⁴ It’s not that Jesus didn’t want the fulfillment of sin, but he wanted his Father’s will more. Sin is pleasurable to the righteous, but they know that it’s better for them if they don’t sin. God says all sin has consequences and all obedience has rewards.⁵ God’s rewards or consequences always outweigh whatever a temptation might offer us.⁶Sin is like eating honey with ant poison mixed in, or like eating a snack, but forfeiting a delicious meal. The only way we would pass on honey or a tasty snack, is if we know about the poison or the meal we would forfeit. Knowing the truth gives us the necessary facts and incentive to make the right decision. This is why the scripture says we “transformed by the renewing of our minds,” and again, “you shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free”.⁷ As God teaches us his ways, we learn about the rewards and consequences of doing what’s right or wrong. God promised not to let us be tempted beyond what we can bear.⁸ We don’t know all truth, so he teaches and prepares us for future temptations.⁸God helps us, but he still requires our effort to overcome future temptations. His way of preparing us involves doing, thinking, and saying what he shows us. We need to be learning what the Bible says, praying, and doing everything God shows us.⁹These things give us the knowledge and training to overcome the temptations God will allow us to go through.⁹
The Bible says, if we love God, we will do what he says.¹⁰God tells us to use all our heart soul mind and strength to love him.¹⁰ He promised to help us, to give us rest when we’re tired, reminders when we forget, strength when we are week, endurance when we are weary, and any other imaginable thing we may need.¹¹ His yoke is easy and his burden is light, but his help is for those that are striving to obey him.¹² We can have victory over sin, but only if we fight it the ways God shows us.¹³ “His mercy is new every morning,” today is the day we can do what he says.¹⁴
① Matthew 5:21–22, 27–28 ② James 1:14–15 ③ 1 Samuel 16:7 / Psalm 44:21 ④ Hebrews 4:15 / Matthew 4:1 ⑤ Job 4:8 / Hebrews 11:6 ⑥ God promised to reward our hardships here on earth ⑦ John 17:17 / John 8:31-32 / 2 Peter 1:3 / Titus 1:1 / Romans 12:2 ⑧ Jeremiah 32:33 / Psalm 71:17 / Psalm 32:8 /Psalm 23:1 ⑨ Hebrews 5:14 / 2 Timothy 3:16–17 / Psalm 119:9 ⑩ Matthew 22:36–40 / Matthew 5:48 ⑪ Hebrews 4:15–16 / Philippians 4:13 / Matthew 11:28 / Romans 8:26 ⑫ James 4:8 / Jeremiah 29:13 ⑬ Philippians 4:13 / 2 Corinthians 4:16 ⑭ Lamentations 3:22–23 / 2 Corinthians 6:2 / Matthew 6:34
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When I have sinned, one thing that helps me overcome that sin is rememberingwhere I first was tempted, what lies I believed, and what truths I forgot. Then I can better prepare myself to obey God in that area next time.