We’re often tempted to do or say unhealthy things. The temptation alone isn’t an issue. However, losing the battle in our mind by sinning or at least intending to sin (rebel against God’s ways) IS! Here’s what Jesus’ half-brother James had to say about this:
But each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own lust. Then when lust has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and when sin is accomplished, it brings forth death. —James 1:14-15.
So, we must learn to squash temptations before they become intentions and sinful actions. But, what is temptation? It’s a strong desire, but still in the mind. So, it isn’t a problem as long as it stays there. By the way: temptation is common.
No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it. —1Corinthians 10:13.
We have the freedom to do what we ought—choose the right path and not let temptation lead to sin. We who have the Spirit of God can walk by that Spirit to ensure we don’t sin.
But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh. For the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another, so that you may not do the things that you please. —Galatians 5:16-17.
Reading the Bible daily and praying and meditating all the while can help us imitate Christ as we walk in His ways and away from temptations to do bad things.
Let us behave properly as in the day, not in carousing and drunkenness, not in sexual promiscuity and sensuality, not in strife and jealousy. But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh in regard to its lusts. —Romans 13:13-14.
And, we should avoid temptations we can’t control. For instance, anyone with a weakness to gamble should stay away from places that host gaming. Have a weakness for alcohol? Stay away from friends who drink and places that sell or serve alcohol. Tempted by sexual misconduct? Stay away from media that show nudity and sex.
Finally, pray, pray, pray!
Keep watching and praying that you may not enter into temptation; the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak. —Matthew 26:41.
Next week, we’ll look at the concept of judgment by Christians.
Blessings and peace,