It is important to understand there is a difference between temptation and sin. The Bible says, “You lust and do not have; so you commit murder.” Of course not everyone is committing murder simply because they can’t obtain something they want, but the principle is there. We are drawn away by our lust or selfish desire and at that point we must make a decision either to bite into it or to turn to Christ. I once heard temptation is like a taste and sin is when you swallow.
In the war on drugs we hear the slogan “Just say no!” While that may sound great, there is a bit more to it than that. It is true we must say no but in reality that means we are saying yes to something else. You see, we can’t just say no to the temptation without turning toward the solution. The Bible puts it this way, “Submit therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.” We tend to think we just resist the devil but without submitting to God resistance is futile.
Everyday we are faced with opportunities to sin but the good news is that also means we are faced with opportunities for faith. Each and every temptation provides us with a choice. Either we jump in and commit the sin or we turn to Christ and say, “I don’t need that because all I ever really need is found in you.” “He will supply all my needs according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.” Because the truth is, at the center of the temptation is the idea we are somehow lacking and in need. The victory is in remembering God is our provider and our ever present help in time of need.
The enemy says, “You need more money no matter what you have to do to get it.” God tells us: “Do not store up for yourselves treasure on earth…But lay it up for yourselves in heaven.”
The enemy says, “If you don’t watch out for yourself first no one will.” God says: “Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind let each of you regard one another as more important than himself.”
The enemy comes along saying, “Eat, drink and be merry, for tomorrow we die. God says: “Man doesn’t live by bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.”
It seems the adversary continues to attack the areas in our lives that are the most vulnerable. The good news is these are the areas God sees need reinforcement so he continues to test us. I used to have one huge drug and alcohol addiction and I’m not saying I couldn’t fall back into it but it no longer seems to be an attraction to me. This doesn’t mean I don’t have temptations in other areas it only means for now in the realm of drugs and alcohol I’m safe.
Looking to Christ in each and every area of temptation is the only way to victory. It doesn’t come through will power or positive thinking, it only comes from recognizing my powerlessness over the situation and my turning to Christ to handle it on my behalf.