Thursday, February 7, 2008

Purpose Driven Life - Day 26 - Growing Through Temptation

Another amazing thought today, that every temptation is actually an opportunity to grow through making the right choices. It was Erwin McManus who said when he was with us that the most spiritual thing we will ever do is to make choices, and that the choices we make define where we are in God. I guess I'd never really seen temptation before in that light, but it certainly gives a completely different perspective on how to view temptation.

On a different note it was nice to see an English team actually win last night, especially after the humiliation of the rugby. Ben was very gracious about Wales beating England when I was with him in Peterborough!

Simon.

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Every temptation is an opportunity to do good!

“Happy is the man who doesn’t give in and do wrong when he is tempted, for afterwards he will get as his reward the crown of life that God has promised those who love him.” James 1:12 (LB)

On the path to spiritual maturity, even temptation becomes a stepping-stone rather than a stumbling block when you realize that it is just as much an occasion to do the right thing, as it is to do the wrong thing.

While temptation is Satan’s primary weapon to destroy you, God wants to use it to develop you. Every time you choose to do good instead of sin, you are growing in the character of Christ. To understand this, you must first identify the character qualities of Jesus. One of the most concise descriptions of his character is the fruit of the Spirit: “When the Holy Spirit controls our lives, he will produce this kind of fruit in us: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.” Galatians 5:22-23 (NLT)

Character development always involves a choice, and temptation provides that opportunity. Temptations keep us dependent upon God. Just as the roots grow stronger when wind blows against a tree, so every time you stand up to a temptation you become more like Jesus.

Instead of giving in or giving up, look up to God, expect him to help you, and remember the reward that is waiting for you: “When people are tempted and still continue strong, they should be happy. After they have proved their faith, God will reward them with life forever.” James 1:12 (NCV)

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

Like you i was struck by the thought that temptation is an opportunity to grow in God. All through my christian life i have always looked at temptation as a sign of weakness in me, felt guilty about it and that because of that i was failing as a christian.

so today it was really a release to know that God is allowing the temptation to build me up spiritually and to cause me to seek Him whenever temptation strikes.

Really felt this whole week of study has changed a lot about the way i now view difficulties, troubles and temptation knowing that ok, i sometimes will fail but that's alright because God in his mercy will forgive me because he loves me and that through this i am growing spiritually.

Looking forward to sunday and moving on to purpose number 4

Chris M

sandra said...

We had a great suggestion at housegroup last night that we take a half term break from the book to process everything that we are dealing with......maybe a point to consider for the future.

Hopefully we will get some time over the next year to revisit some of these issues in more depth Simon?

Frances said...

I read today's chapter sitting in the sunshine with a cup of coffee in the garden!!!! How wonderful. Apologies to those stuck in the office.
Powerful readings this week, and some tough things going on in my life which I am really seeing in a whole new light.
I realise that a major temptation for me (shown up by Day 25 readings too) is in the whole area of how I deal with being hurt. My temptation is to conclude that 'it doesn't matter' or even worse that 'I don't matter'. Then internalise it and carry on regardless. The choice is to believe the truth of being loved by God and by the family of God, as opposed to the lies of deserving all that gets thrown at me.
I liked the encouragement to pray far more for help in dealing with temptation and making choices based on the truth. Which was day 24 wasn't it? This week really hangs together!

Frances said...

PS I've been listening to Helen Cottee's beautiful song a lot this week in the car and found it really moving, in the context of the readings. Especially verse 1

'Through whatever comes my way
I’ll choose to run with You
And in the deepest valley times
I’ll turn my face to you
And though I may not understand
I still believe You hold my hand'

As it's already on the website I hope its OK to put the words on the blog. If not, please delete this!

Anonymous said...

its great to read all the comments... and to see lots more contributions ...must be the work of the Holy Spirit....in us all

today is such a release for me...to know that its okay to be tempted...as a relatively mature christian..(in years if not character)..i have struggled with still failing in areas that i think i should have dealt with years ago....and find it hard to admit to having failures...

but as chris said....God is looking to build strength into our spiritual muscles through this.....

i really like the way that Rick
Warren writes esp. the way he gets all the points beginning with the same initial....makes it easy to remember

dont know about others but there is a real buzz about people who are doing this...almost every day i seem to talk to /recieve email from someone asking me /sharing with me bits of the days study

and our Life group is fantastic at present...considering we have only been in this group for 5 weeks and many of us didnt really know one another well its been great to get down into deep stuff really quickly and easily and be able to love and support one another in things that are tough...

we also had an exceptionally intimate time sharing Communion this week and considering there were 15 of us there it was an incredible moment of Gods presence...ask Yvonne and Paul what they did,,!!!!!!!

re the comment sandra made....it will almost be essential for many.... if not all of us to re-visit issues coming up in more depth..i know i want to.....but i know this coming week will be very significant to engage with as it is about ...serving in the body....so maybe not next week....LOL.....when is half term anyway.????

love to all ..irene m.

Anonymous said...

oooooooooooooooops..

didnt realise my comment was so long...the wee box is deceptive..LOL....just snooze your way through it..zzzzzzzzz
irene m.

Anonymous said...

I thought the Day 26 reading was really helpful, too, in thinking about temptation as an opportunity to do good. I also really liked Simon's illustration on Sunday of 'dropping the rope'. I too often enter into mind games with the devil when I should just refuse to start. This chapter also reminded me of the story of Smith Wigglesworth being woken in the night to find Satan at the foot of the bed. Reportedly, he turned over, muttering 'Oh, it's only you' and went back to sleep.

Hope you enjoy my first eve blog comment!! -Eileen

Simon Benham said...

Hi Sandra,

Your thought on taking a break for half term is a good one. We did think about that but the problem was that straight after the course finishes is Mothers Day which would have meant having a two week break where I suspect we'd have lost some momentum.

However, we'll definitely be returning to some of the issues raised in the course later in the year.

Good to have Eileen's first comment too!

Simon.