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November 5, 2003

It isn't WHAT - It's WHOM

Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit in the desert, where for forty days he was tempted by the devil. Luke 4:1-2a

How can anyone withstand forty days of temptation? I struggle with one!

Jesus spent forty days in the desert, where he was tempted by the devil. Sometimes, I get the impression that Jesus was only tempted three times because there are only three specific incidents mentioned in this passage of Scripture. The writer of Hebrews states that He was tempted in every way, yet was without sin. He faced the same struggles we do. Greed, pride - even sex. Jesus was a man in every sense.

So how did He do it? How did He resist the enemy? Many point to His use of Scripture, which is a vital weapon in the battle. But the key is not "what" He had in His arsenal, but "Whom." The Apostle John said it, "Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit..." The Spirit was His only means of overcoming; He is our only means as well.

Lord, help me to truly lean on Your Spirit. Without Him, I would fall at every opportunity. Spirit, fill me today!

January 17, 2004

Flirting with Danger

One day he went into the house to attend to his duties, and none of the household servants was inside. Genesis 39:11

Joseph knew that danger lurked around the corner. Potiphar's wife had her eyes on him, and she was watching for the opportune moment to tempt him. Despite his continued rejection, she hoped a day would come when Joseph's defenses were down. Every man is weak at one time or another. Potiphar's wife was simply watching for Joseph's time.

Why did Joseph go in the house alone? He knew what could happen. I'm sure he felt that he could stand strong as he always had. Stand strong is what he did.

Once again, Potiphar's wife seduced him. Once again, he rejected her. This time it backfired. She took revenge. Joseph was unjustly accused and unjustly thrown in jail. It would have been better if he had never gone in the house at all.

The interesting thing is: before this time, Joseph took special care to not be with Potiphar's wife. He was the boss of the house! Why didn't he protect himself this time by ensuring the other servants were present? Maybe he felt the danger had past. Maybe he felt he could handle whatever came his way.

Lord, there are times that I know I can stand strong, so I might choose to go closer to danger than I should. Wouldn't it be wiser to stay away altogether? I know I cannot hide from temptation. It will find me regardless. But help me to discern Your plan. If I should enter a dangerous place, surround me by Your Spirit and the protection of my Christian brothers. Too often, in my pride, I cross the threshold into danger, and I am harmed. Help me to learn from these lessons. Help me to be righteous as Joseph was righteous. Give me wisdom, so You can be glorified.

May 26, 2004

A Fashion Trend

"You will have the tassels to look at and so you will remember all the commands of the Lord, that you may obey them and not prostitute yourselves by going after the lusts or your own hearts and eyes." Numbers 15:39

God started a fashion trend. As a remembrance, the Israelites were to put tassels on their garments. The tassels were to remind them of the Lord's commands. In times of temptation to stray from God's law, the tassels were like a giant stop sign warning them not to proceed.

Lord, I think I need to start a new fashion trend - not so much with my clothes, but with my heart. I need little reminders that will represent huge red lights. A verse posted here, a picture on display there, or even a cross around my neck - these are what I mean - little reminders of Your grace. Help me to see these things and stand strong against the lusts of my heart and eyes. Open my eyes to see these things and remember.

Open my eyes to see You.

September 16, 2004

Enslaved

No, I beat my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize. 1 Corinthians 9:27

Sometimes my body feels out of control. Like a wild man running loose in the jungle, it seems impossible to tame it. How could I ever expect to be righteous - ever expect to win the prize - when self-control so often eludes me?

The Apostle Paul faced this same struggle, as every man does. Yet despite the challenge, he could say, "I beat my body and make it my slave." How does one make his body like a slave? How can one control himself in a world that is so out of control?

The truth is: it doesn't involve the body as much as it involves the mind. Either in exercise, eating, or sex, physical failure generally begins as a thought. A temptation that is allowed to grow in the mind easily becomes a premeditated sin. If there is ever hope of righteous living with our bodies, we must allow the Holy Spirit to intervene - in our minds.

Lord, for so long it seems my body has been out of control. How tough it is to walk in righteousness. But there is hope - not in some masochistic way of control, but through the gift of Your Spirit. Help me to keep my thoughts in check today. Give me the ability to practice self-control in every area of life. Make me a slave to Your holiness.

June 6, 2005

Animal Lessons

We have escaped like a bird out of the fowler's snare; the snare has been broken, and we have escaped. Psalm 124:7

What does a trapped animal do the moment freedom becomes possible?

Does it linger? Does it decide to stay behind because the bait in the trap might satisfy its hunger? If it breaks free, does the animal return to the trap again? Does it visit the snare, saddened that it is no longer confined?

Animals tend to learn from bad situations. If an animal is trapped and freedom presents itself, it will do everything in its power to escape. And generally, once an animal breaks free, it will avoid the snare at all costs.

Oh, to be as smart as the animals! It is sometimes hard to believe that man is the crown of God's creation.

Human beings have been given the gifts of intelligence and reasoning, yet we still do stupid things. We find it difficult to break free from the enemy's snares, not because freedom isn't possible, but because we don't want to deny ourselves the bait. And if we break free, despite what we know, the temptation to return to confinement is so enticing. We find ourselves standing beside the snare, studying it, trying to determine how to snatch the bait without getting caught. How foolish to think, "This time, I won't get stuck in there."

Lord, every snare has been crushed by the sacrifice of Your Son. Why do I sometimes choose to stay confined? Why do I sometimes choose to stand beside the snare longing to be inside? Help me to flee from the enemy's confinement. Teach me to avoid it altogether. No matter how tempting the bait, keep me ever-mindful of the truth: You offer so much more!

Help me to learn from the animals.

July 7, 2005

I'm Stuck!

The world and its desires pass away, but the man who does the will of God lives forever. 1 John 2:17

Have you ever felt stuck? Have you ever felt like nothing will ever change? Like you will always be weak? Always be trapped by the world?

Eventually, it will all be gone. A day will come when the silly temptations of this world are a faint memory. They are mere threads in the fabric of eternity.

So why is it so easy to be overwhelmed by the world?

It is so easy because we forget who we are!

In Christ, we are new. In Christ, we have overcome the world. In Christ, we find our hope and our future.

Lord, remind me that nothing from the world will last. All of it will pass away. Give me the courage to step into Your will. Give me the story to tell. Help me to walk with You forever.

October 11, 2005

Curiosity Killed the Cat

But God struck down some of the men of Beth Shemesh, putting seventy of them to death because they had looked into the ark of the Lord. 1 Samuel 6:19a

Who hasn't heard the saying: "Curiosity killed the cat."? We know better, but sometimes we just have to see what we have been told to avoid.

Since they were little boys, every man in Israel must have wondered about the ark of the covenant. Who wouldn't? This amazing box was built by Bezalel himself, the great craftsman chosen by God to oversee the building of the tabernacle.

Seven months after the ark had been stolen by the Philistines, it miraculously appeared. There was great excitement, yet the elation soon turned to grief. Seventy men from Beth Shemesh let their curiosity take control, and it cost their very lives.

They must have known what could happen. The was God's mercy seat! And they treated it with contempt.

Since they were little boys, every man in American has wondered about it. The human body, the intrigue of a salacious picture... Unfortunately, too many little boys in our day are pulled into secrets that can someday leave them empty and alone. Ask any sex addict. Most can remember finding some hidden "stash" around the age of seven.

We need to protect our children! We need to protect ourselves! God will not withhold His wrath from those who treat His dwelling place with contempt.

Now, He dwells in the hearts of man.

Lord, curiosity can be a good thing if it motivates us to seek You. Too often, I am curious about those things that I know to be off-limits. Help me to treat Your dwelling place with respect.

About Temptation

This page contains an archive of all entries posted to The Potter's Hand in the Temptation category. They are listed from oldest to newest.

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