Saturday, January 24, 2015

God’s Recipe for Resisting Temptation

God’s Recipe for Resisting Temptation

One of the greatest challenges for a Christian living in this fallen world is the constant bombardment of temptation. When we are young in our faith, entanglements from our past or enticements of unfulfilled pleasures can cause us to fall into sin. As we mature, we risk becoming proud, self-righteous, gossipy or judgmental. Regardless of the temptation, God has promised us a way out; a way to honor Him!

God desires that His children enjoy a life of victory over sin. In the Book of James, a book devoted to practical guidance for living the Christian life, God tells us:
  • James 4:7 Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.

God’s recipe for successfully resisting temptation:
  • Submit to God – Make a personal decision and ongoing commitment to place all of yourself and all of your life under God’s authority and care.
  • Resist the devil – Utilize any and all of the ‘R’ action steps below as often as needed to resist Satan and all the enticements that have resulted from his lies.
  • Enjoy victory over temptation – Live a life that glorifies God by minimizing the amount of sin in your life and maximizing your fellowship with the Lord.

What is good and what is evil
  • Hebrews 5:13-14 For everyone who partakes only of milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, for he is a babe. 14 But solid food belongs to those who are of full age, that is, those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.
Sources of temptation
  • 1 John 2:15-16 Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16 For all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not of the Father but is of the world.
    • The Flesh – Our Enticements
      • Lust of the Eyes – the things we see and want, but don’t need or shouldn’t have
      • Lust of the flesh – the things our human nature strongly desires that would dishonor our Heavenly Father
      • Pride of Life – the things we take credit for that are actually beyond your capabilities
    • The World – Our Environment
      • James 4:4 Adulterers and adulteresses! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Whoever therefore wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.
    • The Devil – Our Enemy
      • Genesis 3:13 And the Lord God said to the woman, “What is this you have done?” The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.”
    • Never God - Our Emancipator
      • James 1:13 Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am tempted by God”; for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone.

Christ’s life as a powerful example of victory over sin
  • Christ Submitted to God
    • John 5:30 I can of Myself do nothing. As I hear, I judge; and My judgment is righteous, because I do not seek My own will but the will of the Father who sent Me.
    • Luke 22:42 saying, “Father, if it is Your will, take this cup away from Me; nevertheless not My will, but Yours, be done.”
  • Christ Resisted Satan
    • Matthew 4:10 Then Jesus said to him, “Away with you, Satan! For it is written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God, and Him only you shall serve.’”
  • Satan Fled
    • Matthew 4:11 Then the devil left Him, and behold, angels came and ministered to Him.
  • Christ Lived a Sinless Life
    • Hebrews 4:15 For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin.
    • 2 Corinthians 5:21 For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.

In God’s ability to deliver us from temptation
  • 1 Corinthians 10:13 No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.
  • 2 Peter 2:9 then the Lord knows how to deliver the godly out of temptations and to reserve the unjust under punishment for the day of judgment,
  • Hebrews 2:18 For in that He Himself has suffered, being tempted, He is able to aid those who are tempted.
  • Galatians 5:16 Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh.

God’s Word
  • Psalm 119:11 Your word I have hidden in my heart, That I might not sin against You.
That as Christians, we are dead to sin
  • Romans 6:6-7 knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin. 7 For he who has died has been freed from sin.
The frailty of our human nature – Our strength and hope is found in Jesus Christ
  • Hebrews 4:12 For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.
  • 2 Corinthians 12:9-10 And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 10 Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

God’s help through prayer
  • Matthew 6:13 And do not lead us into temptation, But deliver us from the evil one. For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.

On our Reinforcements
  • Hebrews 3:13 but exhort one another daily, while it is called “Today,” lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.
  • Proverbs 27:17 As iron sharpens iron, So a man sharpens the countenance of his friend.
On the power of the Holy Spirit
  • Acts 1:8 But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”

Away from the temptations that appeal to the core of our human weaknesses
  • 1 Corinthians 6:18 Flee sexual immorality. Every sin that a man does is outside the body, but he who commits sexual immorality sins against his own body.
  • 1 Corinthians 10:14 Therefore, my beloved, flee from idolatry.
  • 2 Timothy 2:22 Flee also youthful lusts; but pursue righteousness, faith, love, peace with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart.

God loves us so very much. He has given us all we need to resist the devil and experience victory over temptation. However, when you do succumb to temptation (which we all do sooner or later, that’s why Christ had to die for us):

With God
  • 1 John 1:9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

Everyone struggles with temptation. I pray that you find strength in Christ through God’s Word to escape the traps along your path that would pull you into sin and away from fellowship with God.


Heavenly Father, may Your Word and Your Spirit strengthen, protect and guide Your children such that they experience the joy and peace that come with submitting to you, resisting the devil and living a life that brings glory to Your holy name. I pray in the name of Jesus, Amen.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

I Didn’t Do It

I Didn’t Do It

The pride that is part of our human nature often tempts us to boast about what we think we have done or what we think we can do; God hates pride (see Proverbs 6:16-17). Whether we think it, say it, or just act like it, we sometimes put confidence in ourselves above confidence of God. Even mature Christian slip into the pit of pride.

And even though God sometimes allows us to participate in His gracious displays of mercy and love, pride can still lead us to believe that we accomplish on our own what only He can do. We may start believing that in our own wisdom, goodness, strength and effort we can:
  • Earn forgiveness for our sins.
    • Ephesians 2:8-9 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, 9 not of works, lest anyone should boast.
  • Convince someone of God’s truth so they turn from their sin.
    • 2 Timothy 2:24-25 And a servant of the Lord must not quarrel but be gentle to all, able to teach, patient, 25 in humility correcting those who are in opposition, if God perhaps will grant them repentance, so that they may know the truth,
  • Talk someone into surrendering to Christ as Savior.
    • John 6:44 No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up at the last day.
  • Bring forth spiritual fruit in the lives of others by our works and effort.
    • 1 Corinthians 3:7 So then neither he who plants is anything, nor he who waters, but God who gives the increase.
  • Overcome our inherent human weaknesses.
    • Isaiah 40:29 He gives power to the weak, And to those who have no might He increases strength.
  • Understand the deep truths revealed in scripture.
    • 1 Corinthians 2:10-11, 14 But God has revealed them to us through His Spirit. For the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God. 11 For what man knows the things of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so no one knows the things of God except the Spirit of God. … 14 But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.
  • Initiate the thoughts and deeds in our lives that glorify God.
    • Philippians 2:13 for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure.
  • Figure out on our own how to live a righteous life that glorifies God.
    • 2 Timothy 3:16 All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness,

Any such pride is self-righteousness. Jesus teaches and warns us about being self-righteous.
  • Luke 18:9 Also He spoke this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others: 

And beyond that, the Bible is clear that our own righteousness is worth nothing to God.
  • Deuteronomy 9:6 Therefore understand that the Lord your God is not giving you this good land to possess because of your righteousness, for you are a stiff-necked people.
  • Daniel 9:18 O my God, incline Your ear and hear; open Your eyes and see our desolations, and the city which is called by Your name; for we do not present our supplications before You because of our righteous deeds, but because of Your great mercies.
  • Isaiah 64:6 But we are all like an unclean thing, And all our righteousnesses are like filthy rags; We all fade as a leaf, And our iniquities, like the wind, Have taken us away.

Godly righteousness in man has always been a precious gift of God in response to genuine faith in Him. Before Christ died on a cross to pay our sin debt, righteousness came from keeping God’s law.
  • Deuteronomy 6:25 Then it will be righteousness for us, if we are careful to observe all these commandments before the Lord our God, as He has commanded us.’
  • Romans 10:5 For Moses writes about the righteousness which is of the law, “The man who does those things shall live by them.”

However, the problem is, people are not capable of keeping God’s moral law.
  • Romans 3:10 As it is written: “There is none righteous, no, not one;
  • Romans 3:23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,

The ceremonial law given by God looked forward to the ultimate sacrifice of Christ. Ongoing animal sacrifices were used to cover the sin of the Israelites. Before the cross of Christ, righteousness came by heart-felt obedience God.
  • Leviticus 17:11 For the life of the flesh is in the blood, and I have given it to you upon the altar to make atonement for your souls; for it is the blood that makes atonement for the soul.’
  • Romans 4:13 For the promise that he would be the heir of the world was not to Abraham or to his seed through the law, but through the righteousness of faith.

So the law served as a teacher; it showed that because people are incapable of keeping the moral law of God, there had to be a savior. Jesus, who perfectly kept the law (He lived a sinless life), was sacrificed on a cross to pay our sin debt to God. This was the ultimate and final sacrifice necessary to cover the sin of all humanity.
  • Galatians 3:24-25 Therefore the law was our tutor to bring us to Christ, that we might be justified by faith. 25 But after faith has come, we are no longer under a tutor.
  • Romans 10:4 For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes.
  • Galatians 2:21 I do not set aside the grace of God; for if righteousness comes through the law, then Christ died in vain.”

Since the time of Christ’s sacrifice, righteousness comes by heart-felt obedience to God demonstrated by faith in Christ as Lord and Savior. God’s righteousness is credited to us because of what Christ did for us.
  • Romans 3:22 even the righteousness of God, through faith in Jesus Christ, to all and on all who believe. For there is no difference;
  • 2 Corinthians 5:21 For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.
  • 1 Peter 2:24 who Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness—by whose stripes you were healed.

Therefore, regarding my righteousness, I Didn’t Do It! God credited it to me when I accepted His gift of faith and trusted Christ as my Lord and Savior. The same is true for every Christian!


Father, thank You for the righteousness that comes only by Your grace, through Your gift of faith in Jesus Christ, as revealed in Your Word, and enabled by Your Spirit. I pray that anyone reading Your Word in this devotion will ask for forgiveness of any self-righteousness. Sanctify Your saints and save the lost. I pray this in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

How Do I Live

How Do I Live

What does it take to survive in this world? One could argue that all we really need is water, food and the proper clothing to protect us from the elements. But the Bible teaches us that, as important as these things are, our most fundamental need is the Word of God! And if we trust in God and seek Him above all else, He will provide what we need (according to His plan for our life on earth and for eternity in Heaven).
  • Matthew 4:4 But He answered and said, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.’”
  • Matthew 6:31-33 “Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. 33 But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.
  • Psalm 119:116 Uphold me according to Your word, that I may live; And do not let me be ashamed of my hope.

To demonstrate this point further, as a follower of Jesus Christ, consider the following:

How Do You:
  • Learn about God, His love for you, His character, His attributes and His expectations of you?
  • Discover the truth about your sin nature and its earthly and eternal consequences?
  • Come to understand the gospel message of Jesus Christ?
  • Know how, what and when to pray?
  • Get informed about your adversary the devil and learn about his objectives and methods?
  • Increase your knowledge of what the church is and what it supposed to do?
  • Evaluate the doctrine, ordinances, preaching, service ministries and heart of a local body of believers when seeking a church home?
  • Learn from the successes and failures of the people of God who came before you?
  • Gain strength and encouragement from the long line of faith heroes who are your ancestors?
  • Assess and apply the advice given by Christian brothers and sisters?
  • Know how to properly interpret circumstances and make choices?
  • Identify which paths in life to walk on?
  • Stand firm and fight for your faith in the midst of spiritual attacks?
  • Resist temptation?
  • Learn what true love is?
  • Discover how to live the Christian life that saints of God are called and commanded to live?
  • Realize that God will provide for, protect and prepare you?
  • Grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ?
  • Understand your purpose in life?
There is only one answer – to read, study, contemplate, memorize and personally apply the Word of God!! Yes, we learn from pastors, teachers, authors, experiences and by the example of mature Christians. But reading the Word of God for ourselves is how we test, confirm, learn, believe and live out what we see and hear from others about God and living a Godly life.

As much as I would love to continue on about the Word of God, here is a small sampling of what the Word of God has to say about the Word of God!
  • John 1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
  • John 1:14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.
  • 2 Peter 1:20-21 knowing this first, that no prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation, 21 for prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit.
  • 2 Timothy 3:16-17 All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.
  • John 17:17 Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth.
  • Romans 10:17 So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.
  • Psalm 119:50 This is my comfort in my affliction, For Your word has given me life.
  • 1 Thessalonians 2:13 For this reason we also thank God without ceasing, because when you received the word of God which you heard from us, you welcomed it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which also effectively works in you who believe
  • Hebrews 4:12 For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.
  • Psalm 119:98-99 You, through Your commandments, make me wiser than my enemies; For they are ever with me. 99 I have more understanding than all my teachers, For Your testimonies are my meditation.
  • Psalm 119:105 Your word is a lamp to my feet And a light to my path.
  • 2 Peter 1:19 And so we have the prophetic word confirmed, which you do well to heed as a light that shines in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts;
  • Psalm 119:130 The entrance of Your words gives light; It gives understanding to the simple.
  • Ephesians 6:17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God;
  • Acts 17:11 These were more fair-minded than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness, and searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so.

How Do I Live? I live by the mercy, grace, love and Word of God!
  • Luke 11:28 But He said, “More than that, blessed are those who hear the word of God and keep it!”

How Do You Live?

I believe there is nothing more essential for any Christian to grow in their faith than to daily spend time studying, contemplating and memorizing the Word of God!!
  • Psalm 119:11 Your word I have hidden in my heart, That I might not sin against You.

The more you learn, believe and apply God’s Word,
the more you will become like Jesus Christ –
loving, serving and sharing His truth!!!


My God, my King, my Lord and my Savior, I praise You and thank You for giving us Your Holy Word! I pray that Your indwelling Spirit will prompt and encourage every believer in Jesus Christ that has access to Your Word to daily search Your Scriptures for Your truth. Use Your church to provide Bibles or other means of access to Your Word to those who need it. I beg you to bless, protect and use those serving as missionaries and evangelists all around the world. May Your Word change and mold and guide and convict every believer. May Your Word convert the lost and sanctify Your saints. In Christ’s name I pray, Amen.

Sunday, January 4, 2015



Every single person is unique! In fact, we are all very different. The sum total of our age, gender, size, disposition, education, work history, birthplace, family makeup and history, likes, dislikes, beliefs, experiences and much more all distinguish us as individuals. Along with all these difference comes the human tendencies to be critical and judgmental of others (especially those who seem to be different).

But as Christians, we are all ONE – we are one body in Christ!
  • Romans 12:4-5 For as we have many members in one body, but all the members do not have the same function, 5 so we, being many, are one body in Christ, and individually members of one another.
  • Ephesians 4:4-6 There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called in one hope of your calling; 5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism; 6 one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.

And using His children, our perfect and all-knowing God is building this one body in Christ.
  • 1 Corinthians 12:13 For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free—and have all been made to drink into one Spirit.
  • Romans 8:16 The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God,
  • 1 Corinthians 12:18 But now God has set the members, each one of them, in the body just as He pleased.

Yet within the unity of the body, there is great diversity:

Different Functions
  • Ephesians 4:11 And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers,

Different Spiritual Gifts
  • 1 Corinthians 12:4 There are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit.

Different Ministries
  • 1 Corinthians 12:5 There are differences of ministries, but the same Lord.

Different Activities
  • 1 Corinthians 12:6 And there are diversities of activities, but it is the same God who works all in all.

And according to God’s sovereign plan, the unity and diversity of this one body is working together for the benefit of the entire body.
  • 1 Corinthians 12:7 But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one for the profit of all:

Reading Romans 12, 1 Corinthians 12 and Ephesians 4:1-16 will help bring this all together.

So back to the human tendencies to be critical and judgmental of others; as we look down on others, we begin to elevate ourselves. In the parable of the Pharisee and the tax collector, Jesus provides a clear warning about self-exaltation.
  • Luke 18:9-14 Also He spoke this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others: 10 “Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. 11 The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, ‘God, I thank You that I am not like other men—extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this tax collector. 12 I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I possess.’ 13 And the tax collector, standing afar off, would not so much as raise his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me a sinner!’ 14 I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other; for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.”

Who did you criticize today? Or perhaps you rendered judgment on the intent of someone else’s heart? Even if you didn’t speak it out loud, God saw your heart! And if you did share these thoughts, you could be leading others into sin.

Although we all fall short, with ongoing humble repentant prayer (like that of the tax collector above) and diligently seeking after God through His Word and all aspects of our daily lives, we can minimize our self-exaltation and maximize our benefit to the body!


Father in Heaven, be merciful to me a sinner! Too often I criticize and judge others. You have gifted me and others according to Your perfect will and plan. Forgive me for being self-righteous. I pray Your Word will guide all Your children to be loving, kind and humble. Thank You for the unity You have built into Your body, the church. I praise You and pray to You in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.