Every day, everywhere, society pressures us to accept unbiblical thinking. Fears or anxious thoughts may seem more real than faith. Our own desires often whisper, “Put yourself first. No one will get hurt.” Satan and those who unwittingly serve him try hard to turn us from God and His truth. Even trusted friends may encourage us to choose our own way instead of God and His will. If sin could capture a “man after God’s own heart,” how can we or anyone resist its power?
God has provided ways for us to guard ourselves:
1. Know and love God more deeply: God is holy, perfectly pure and always just.18 God’s goodness means He never tempts,19 yet He does test His children.20 Our Father controls all things, including tests, for His children’s highest good – to make us holy like Jesus.21
2. Know sin destroys: God gives His children a new nature, but sin’s nature remains unchanged – against God and unremittingly deadly.22 Name what tempts you or identify your sin specifically. Acknowledge it for what it is: against God; evil and dangerous. As creatures made in God’s image, our actions matter.23 Therefore, even forgiven sin has consequences.
3. Know Satan’s lies: “it’s such a little sin.” “No one will know.” “You deserve it.” “You can stop anytime.” “God will forgive you, so what does it matter?”24Yet if you sin, Satan accuses: “You call yourself a Christian?” “Don’t pray; why would God listen to you?” “There’s no turning back.”25Without God’s help, our enemy easily deceives us. Ask God to help you recognize lies, and cling to the truth.
4. Know yourself: Temptations change at different stages of life but never stop until we are with Jesus in glory. If you think you are strong, have you realized that apart from God’s grace, you would fall?26What particularly tempts you, and whom could you ask to help you or hold you accountable?
5. Pray for yourself, your family, pastor, neighbors and country. Thank God for keeping you from sin, which would overwhelm you. Thank Him especially for His Spirit, who strengthens His people to live for Him.27
6. Know and act on God’s Word: God promises to provide a way out when temptation is too strong.28 Run from temptation – turn off the TV; don’t take a second look when an image pops up on your computer.29 Meditate on God’s Word to fill your mind with God’s thoughts.30 Our hearts lie to us, and our feelings sometimes shake us.31Only God’s truth keeps us on solid ground.32
7. Know the power of prayer and of praise: Jesus told the disciples to prepare for temptation through prayer. Do you?33Ask God for grace to believe His warnings. Confess when your heart grows hard. Choose to delight in God.34Run to Jesus often for help in loving Him more than you love sin.35
8. Know the gospel:36 The gospel is “the power of God,” bringing salvation and Christ’s own righteousness to all who believe.37 Christ not only takes the judgment we deserve, but He becomes our righteousness.
9. Know your goal: God has destined all His children to be holy as He is holy.38 “All who have this hope in Him purify themselves, just as He is pure.”39Look away from the short-term gains of compromise. Lift your eyes to the long-term view. Pray for God to continue to make you more and more like His beautiful Son.
From www.bsfinternational.org People of the Promised Land I, Lesson 20: 2 SAMUEL 11:1-17
18: Holy: Deuteronomy 32:4; Isaiah 6:3; 1 Peter 1:15-16; 1 John 1:5
19: God does not tempt: James 1:13-17
20: God’s tests: Deuteronomy 8:2-5; Job 23:10; Psalm 26:2; 66:10; 81:7; 139:23; Proverbs 17:3
21: Like Jesus: Romans 8:28-29; 1 John 3:1-3
22: Sin’s deadliness: Romans 6:23; 8:13; James 1:15
23: God’s image: Genesis 1:26
24: Do not sin: Romans 6:1-14; 1 John 3:4-10
25: Satan accuses: Micah 7:8-10, 18-20; Zechariah 3:1-4; Revelation 12:10
26: Standing firm: 1 Corinthians 10:12
27: Spirit’s help: Romans 8:1-17, 26-27
28: God provides: 1 Corinthians 10:13
29: Flee: 1 Corinthians 6:18; 10:14; 2 Thessalonians 3:6-13; 1 Timothy 6:9-12; 2 Timothy 2:22-24
30: God’s Word: Psalm 119:11; Romans 12:1-2; Hebrews 4:12
31: Deceitful hearts: Jeremiah 17:9
32: Solid ground: Isaiah 40:8; Matthew 7:24-27
33: Prayer prepares: Matthew 6:13; 26:41
34: Delight: Psalm 119:14; Matthew 22:37; John 14:15; Philippians 3:1
35: Receive help: Hebrews 4:14-15
36: Why Jesus came: Hebrews 2:14-18
37: Gospel’s power: Romans 1:16-17; 2 Corinthians 5:21
38: Be holy: 1 Peter 1:16
39: Jesus our goal: 1 John 3:3
Blessings to you… Brother Rob