Friday, January 29, 2016

Lead Us Not …

My friend and our brother at Keller, Louis Stein, presented this devotional message recently. I asked him if I could share it with you.
James 1: 2-4, 12
A minister parked his car in a no-parking zone. He was short on time and couldn’t find a space with a parking meter. So, he put a note under the windshield wiper that read: “I have circled the block a 100 times. If I don’t park here, I will miss my appointment. FORGIVE US OUR TRESPASSES.”
When he returned, he found a citation from a police officer along with this note. “I’ve circled this block for 10 years. If I don’t give you a ticket, I’ll lose my job. LEAD US NOT INTO TEMPTATION.”
James 1:2-3 says: “2Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, 3knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance.”
Temptation is one of our trials. We will experience trials. We all will be tempted. Adam and Eve were tempted in the garden, Eve by the serpent and Adam by Eve; temptation has been with us from the very beginning. Jesus was tempted in the Wilderness. Jesus resisted the temptation, Adam and Eve did not. What was the difference?
I believe attitude was the difference. Jesus did not face temptation with defeatism, but as an opportunity to turn to the scriptures for strength and understanding. Temptation is not sin, but succumbing to temptation is the start of sinning. Rather, temptation is testing and should be viewed as a chance to strengthen our faith. It has been said that “Temptation is to the Christian what a football game is to the trained athlete – an opportunity to prove their ability to win.” When you resist temptation, as James 1:3 says, you show your endurance. And then, the endurance can lead to the desired outcome:     James 1:4 “And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.”

When you are tested by temptation and resist, you gain endurance, for we know that we will be tested again. You gain maturity and grow stronger in your faith (“…so that you may be perfect and complete”), You gain independence as your endurance and faith increase (“…lacking in nothing”). You are responsible for your temptation, regardless of where it comes from. And when you have successfully resisted the temptations of this life, at the right time in God’s plan, you will receive from Jesus your just reward.   James 1: 12  “Blessed is a man who perseveres under trial; for once he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him.”

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