Temptation is not bad
Jesus tells us to pray everyday "lead us not into temptation" and people sometimes feel guilty if they are tempted. There are stories of people in ministry who after having a tempting dream will feel so guilty or defiled they avoid ministry the next morning. Jesus tells us "Temptation to do wrong is inevitable". Remember Jesus, the Son of God, was led by God's Spirit to be tempted. Being tempted is not a sin. Jesus did not sin because He was tempted. Giving in to temptation becomes the sin. Thinking about the temptation or fantasying about the subject of temptation can also be a sin. Some of the more common internal or mental sins are being "angry" or "lust" or simply having "worry". Our society encourages us to have self-esteem and be proud of our accomplishments even though Jesus tells us "pride" is a sin. The sin of pride includes being proud of progress in being obedient to God. Jesus tells a story where the bad example prays privately to God, "God, I thank You that I am not like other men I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I possess". Fasting and tithing are both commendable accomplishments but being proud of your accomplishments, which may have required God's help to accomplish, are risking being a sin of pride. It may be better to thank God for helping you be obedient by fasting or tithing without the comparison to others. When temptation is avoided we are less likely to sin. Whether the temptation comes from yourself, your flesh, or from the devil, is not a concern if the temptation is immediately rejected or resisted. 1
If you are the cause of someone else being tempted, you are in trouble. Jesus says, "sorrow awaits the person who does the tempting". If you say or do something that tempts another person to be angry, you may be in trouble. If you compliment a person or just say or do something that tempts them to have pride or lust, you may be in trouble even if you consider it harmless flirting. As a servant of God we may want to encourage others or build them up, especially in their walk with God but we do not want to tempt them to sin. How can we avoid this potential concern? The simple way is to follow Jesus example and let God guide you in everything you "say" and "do". 2
1. Mt 6:13 (KJ); Mt 18:7 (TL) Mt 4:1-11; 5:22, 28; 6:25; Mk 7:22; Lk 18:11 (NKJ)
2. Mt 18:7 (NL); Jn 12:49; 14:31
note: click here bible verse and translation abbreviations
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A Psalm for reflection "I will be careful how I act. I will not sin by what I say". Ps 39:1 (IC)
Understanding the Teaching: What I share in the teaching is what I believe God wants me to share. All the direct quotes from God are highlighted in royal purple. Of course the words of Jesus are in red. Rather than follow some made up doctrine, remember that Jesus said that every thing He said (Jn 12:49) and everything He did (Jn 14:31) comes from God. All teachings and all opinions should be supported by what we learn from God or Jesus (see the scripture referred to in the footnote).
MARRIAGE WORKSHOP MOMENT
There are many kinds of stress. Events you can see coming, like a visit, events you cannot see coming, like a sudden illness and ongoing stress, like a job. Stress can affect your body like interfere with sleep, it can affect your mind like make you more irritability and it can affect your relationships like increase arguing. To be set free from stress, first focus on everything good that has happened to you from your earliest memory and as you write them down, praise God for each event all the way to present. Then make a second list and write down every unpleasant memory from the earliest to present, including what is causing the current stress. As you start over from the beginning of the list, imagine that you are handing each subject to God with Jesus' help. If you need to forgive, say, "I forgive ____ in Jesus' name, amen." If it is an on going problem like your job or your marriage as you give it to God, thank Him by saying, "Thank You God for taking this _______ from me in Jesus name amen." As you give everything to God remember that Jesus said, " Give to God what is God's" Mk 12:17 (NI). Everything belongs to God, even the bad stuff and He is more than capable of disposing of trash or cleaning up problems. As you use Jesus' help by using His name remember that Jesus said, "if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed" Jn 8:36 (NI). If your spouse is a source of stress, forgive your spouse and give your spouse to God. God is more than capable of improving your marriage and helping your spouse become less stressful in your life. Once you do that and your spouse upsets you, complain to God (not your spouse) and seek God's guidance.
The Better Half "When your partner won't support your efforts to make your marriage better" Without your spouse's support to improve your marriage, you can still pray daily for God's will to be done in each of your lives and your marriage. Jesus said, "all things are possible with God", Mk 10:27 NI). The above teaching on being free from stress and other memories does not require a spouse's support. If your spouse is a source of stress, forgive your spouse and give your spouse to God. God is more than capable of improving your marriage and helping your spouse become less stressful in your life. Once you do that and your spouse upsets you, complain to God (not your spouse) and seek God's guidance.
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