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Fort Gibson

March 17, 2014

Beating temptation: learning how to hate sin

It’s hard to keep from getting excited about the arrival of spring when I spot Easter flowers popping up in my neighborhood.  But as Lisa and I looked out our kitchen window the other day at what hopefully was final ice storm of the season blanketing our yard, we both groaned at the frosty setback that was occurring right before our eyes.

How many times have you been encouraged to hear about a new Christian who was doing so well in their spiritual walk and then you find out their streak of perseverance seemed to have been jerked out from under them. This scenario is played out way too often when a weaker brother or sister is so full of hope and a bright future in living for the Lord. And then it’s almost as if the devil says, “Wait, not so fast! See if you can handle one more storm.” We’ve all seen it happen. In all likelihood, we’ve all actually been that person who fell back into a temptation that we couldn’t handle, at least on that particular day. The fall is often especially hard for those who thought they were beyond Satan’s reach. But the fact is, anytime we step off of God’s lighted path, we put ourselves at risk of going into spiritual battle unprepared.

Last week, my Fort Faith column focused on trusting in God as the first step in overcoming temptation.  This week, I have one more point to make on this topic.  Hate sin!  We must learn to hate the consequences of sin more than we enjoy the benefits of it.  We must understand how temptation and sin are related.  Temptation is plain and simple a tool of the devil no matter what it looks like, feels like, smells like, or tastes like.  The devil plays dirty.  His lures are creative, deceptive and powerfully aimed at our weaknesses.  

We would never think of asking to be locked up in a cell with a known serial killer, because we know what things such a person is capable of.  But Satan is capable of a lot worse things than any human can scheme. Spiritually, there are two sides of the fence. We as Christians MUST IDENTIFY the enemy, and KNOW which side he or she is on, and GET on the other side.  James 4:7 says, “Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.”

James 1:13-15 reminds us that we can be our own worst enemy in overcoming temptation simply by letting our evil desires run rampant, leading us straight to sin, and ultimately spiritual death.  Matthew 12:43-45 reminds us that one strategy in preventing this is to replace all those temptations with good things.  You know, fill your life with things that will help you get to heaven instead of just stopping at saying no to the devil’s schemes.  If you only say no, but then fail to make any changes for the better, the devil will take advantage of your indecisiveness and less-than-committed attitude.  Overcoming temptation, it starts with trusting God, and then hating sin with everything you’ve got.  Have a great week!

Reach Barrett Vanlandingham at the Fort Gibson Church of Christ at (918) 478-2222 or barrett@ftgcc.

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