Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Don't Fight Temptation. Just Give Up - "A Guest Post by @RobEagar"

Don't Fight Temptation - Just Give Up 

ByRob Eagar

Chuck fought the desire to lash out at his girlfriend, Leah. While shopping at the mall, they had bumped into her ex-boyfriend, Dan. A quick “hello” turned into a conversation that Leah seemed to enjoy. Chuck was a Christian and knew that he should be considerate. Nevertheless, the more he listened to Leah laugh with Dan, the more a jealous anger brewed within him.

The interaction made Chuck worry. “I thought that Leah liked me, but maybe she wants to date Dan again,” he said to himself. His fear and jealousy suddenly reached the boiling point. He grabbed Leah’s arm and announced, “Time’s up, Leah. Let’s go!” He pulled her away from Dan in a show of force, but it backfired.

“Let go of me, Chuck! How could you be so rude?” she exclaimed.

“We need to get going,” Chuck urged.

“Well, if you are in such a hurry, then leave,” Leah replied. “I’ll have Dan drive me home!”

Chuck couldn’t believe his stupid outburst. He wished he could crawl into a hole and disappear.
You would think that if Christian singles wanted to share God’s love together, then all of their relationships would be godly and loving. Yet, we all know that reality can be quite a different experience. Just because someone is a Christian doesn’t mean he or she acts wisely or exhibits perfect self-control.

For example, have you ever gone on a diet? What normally happens? Usually you discipline yourself to exercise and eat right. Over time, you achieve some success, but when you quit your diet, your body gains back some pounds. So, you dedicate yourself to losing weight again, falling into a frustrating cycle. Worse, no matter how hard you try to enhance your shape, your body remains in a constant state of decay, which means you cannot prevent the inevitable sags, wrinkles, and death.

Battling against fleshly urges of indwelling sin with your willpower is similar to dieting. You can try to defy temptation through self-effort, biblical principles, or accountability groups, but sin will never stop enticing you until you die. Your self-discipline may yield some temporary success, but eventually, stress, boredom, or fatigue will wear you down. The moment your self-effort gets weak, sin will pounce on you (1 Peter 5:8). God offers a better way to resist sin:

“For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men, instructing us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously, and godly in the present age.” (Titus 2:11–12).

These verses explain that the grace of God instructs you to live in a godly manner. It does not say that righteous behavior occurs through self-discipline, memorizing Scripture, or following principles. You cannot muster enough self-control to stop Satan. Instead, Paul writes that the goal of the Christian life is to “glory in Christ Jesus and put no confidence in the flesh” (Philippians 3:3). He also says, “For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh; for the willing is present in me, but the doing of the good is not” (Romans 7:18). How do you give up your pride and allow God’s grace to deliver you from temptation?

“I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.” (Galatians 2:20) 

This verse reveals one of the best blessings of being a Christian! Instead of fighting sin with all your might, allow Christ to do the fighting for you. He wants you to stop struggling, rest by faith in His love, and let Him take over.

As an example, let’s revisit Chuck’s dilemma at the beginning of this chapter. Remember how he got upset with his girlfriend, Leah, for talking to Dan? If Chuck had allowed Christ to live through him, he might have responded to his angry feelings by thinking, “Why am I feeling this way? I am holy, so obviously these angry and jealous thoughts are sin’s attempt to control me. However, Jesus freed me from sin’s power. Lord, please take over and live Your patience through me toward Leah right now.” Then, if Chuck had continued to trust in Christ, he could have remained calm while Leah talked to Dan.

No matter how you are tempted, sin can never offer anything superior to the unconditional love and acceptance that you already have in Christ. Therefore, by comparison alone, temptation is worthless. Sin can be very subtle, however, so Jesus advises you to let go of your discipline and appropriate His strength in dealing with fleshly enticements. He wants to help you discern the lies that sin presents and remind you of His passionate love.

Jesus conquered sin forever when He died on the cross. Furthermore, His resurrection enabled Him to live His victory through your life. Yet, Christ cannot disarm temptation until you stop trying to fight it by yourself.

Rob Eagar
WildFire Marketing
Phone: 1-800-267-2045
Twitter: @RobEagar
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Rob Eagar

Dating with Pure PassionFor more information on this topic, check out Chapter 6The Impact of Sin on Your Dating Life in Rob’s book, Dating with Pure Passion. Need a copy? Click here.

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