Thursday, April 05, 2007

Tempting Little Backstabber

When it comes to temptation, we think, in our flesh, that giving in to the temptation is how we will be rewarded. That is what makes it tempting. Sin, though, is a lying, deceitful backstabber. The Bible reveals that the true reward comes when we resist the temptation. Moses understood this: “By faith Moses, when he was grown up, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter, choosing rather to be mistreated with the people of God than to enjoy the fleeting pleasures of sin. He considered the reproach of Christ greater wealth than the treasures of Egypt, for he was looking to the reward.” (Heb 11:24-26)

John Piper says… “Sin (lust for example) gets its power by persuading me to believe that I will be more happy if I follow it. The power of all temptation is the prospect that it will make me happier.” But once again, sin is a lying, deceitful backstabber. It promises happiness and gives you regret. It promises happiness and gives you guilt. It promises happiness and gives you pain. It promises happiness and gives you disappointment. It promises happiness and gives you discontent. It offers you freedom and sells you into slavery. It shakes your hand and stabs you in the back.

James 1:12 says, “Blessed is the man who endures temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord has promised to them that love him.” There is a prize, a reward, for enduring temptation. Notice first it said "blessed" or happy is the man who endures temptation. Happiness comes from having your life under control, so that there is no bad habit that is controlling you. When you know how to say “no” to temptation or when you “flee” temptation it produces happiness in your life.

James also says there is a “crown of life” to those who, out of their love for God, resist and endure. In the Greek this literally means “life itself.” James is telling us: when you understand temptation, when you learn to say "no," when you overcome it, when you resist, then you begin to really live. It is a crown which is life -- abundant life -- itself. Benjamin Franklin said: “It is easier to suppress the first desire than to satisfy all that follow it.” Did I mention that sin is a lying, deceitful backstabber?

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