Day twenty seven of The Purpose Driven Life deals with temptation and how every temptation is an opportunity to do good. A temptation is only a stumbling block if I react the wrong way. What Satan uses as his primary tool to destroy me is what God uses as a primary tool to develop my character. “God develops the fruit of the Spirit in your life by allowing you to experience circumstances in which you’re tempted to express the exact opposite quality.” For example, God tests our love by placing people in our lives who are difficult to love.
Warren outlines four steps Satan uses to tempt me. First he identifies a desire inside of me. Then he gets me to doubt what God has said about that sin. Third, he deceives me by making me think I can get away with it or that it isn’t really important. Finally I disobey, falling into his trap.
The author outlines three steps to overcome temptation.
- Refuse to be intimidated. I will never outgrow temptation. Being tempted is a part of life and something I need to expect. Being tempted is not wrong; it is my reaction to temptation that can cause sin.
- Recognize my pattern of temptation and be prepared for it. Some situations make me more vulnerable to temptation than others. I need to identify these areas and prepare to avoid them as much as I can.
- Request God’s help. When I am tempted I need to ask God for His help. This may be nothing more than a quick cry to God for help, but He will hear and will help. God never gets tired of helping us in this way.
Temptations keep me dependent on God. When I realize that I need Him to overcome these, I will depend more fully upon Him.
Warren quotes the Bible eighteen times using seven translations and paraphrases. Generally he quoted reasonable translations within their proper context.
Point to Ponder
Today’s point to ponder is “every temptation is an opportunity to do good.” It is an awesome thought that with God’s help I can turn Satan’s evil into good. The very things he uses to try to trip me up can be the things I use to grow closer to God. I love the thought that when I am tempted and desperately want to do something that is wrong, I can lean on God, ask for His help, and grow closer to Him.
And I have to admit, I have seen this happen in my life. There have been times when I so badly wanted to do something I knew was wrong – something I knew was a temptation – yet I turned to God and asked Him to give me the strength to back away. And He did. Of course there are just as many times when I did not bother to ask Him for help at all and just went ahead and fell right into Satan’s traps. But thank God that He is there to provide forgiveness and then provide hope for the next time.
Tomorrow’s topic is Defeating Temptation