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Resisting Temptation

Young people, let us address some of today’s temptations and how we can resist them. This world is so full of temptation for the believer that it is impossible not to see and feel them.

The sad part is we expose ourselves to them. Yes, we often compromise our convictions and accept the world’s invita­tions. Take her music for instance. We sometimes cherish it, sing it and are mesmerized by the Godless lyrics and harmonies. What type of mood does it put us into? A very carefree, morally loose and generally worldly sinful mood. Ever notice how you can listen to a sermon and really not feel moved by the Holy Spirit after listening to adulterous country or rock music?

After seeing a movie particularly on Friday or Saturday night notice how easy it is to drift back to it in your mind while sitting in church.

Sin has its awesome effect on us doesn’t it? Our Canons in Article 5 of the 5th Head teach us the severity of our lamentable fall into heinous sin. “By such enormous sins, however, they very highly offend God, incur a deadly guilt, grieve the Holy Spirit, interrupt the exercise of faith, very grievously wound their consciences, and sometimes lose the sense of God’s favor, for a time until on their returning into the right way of serious repentance, the light of God’s fatherly countenance again shines upon them.”

Lose the sense of God’s favor – ever experience this? Our sin separates us from God’s loving hand, that wonderful joy and comfort of being a Christian – an elect child of God.

After Young People’s Society or a Singspiration with the joy of Christ in our hearts and His words just on our lips, you have felt the struggle of temptation, debating whether to turn on your radio or listen to a tape of Godless music. What happens within us when temptation knocks? Usually we justify what we are going to do. Think about it right now. Are you contemplating sin; premeditating to have some sort of wicked enjoyment in the hours or days ahead? Really think now, be honest with your conscience and your heart. What reasons do we have when we go ahead with our plans? Oh, we have our good reasons, our rationalizing, our conniving and scheming. Blasphemously wicked, aren’t they? We are so clever with our sin. Trying so hard to appear outwardly pure. Temptation comes in the form of hypocrisy and pride all too often. We know ourselves so well, and our God knows us so much better. He knows the very center of our being – our heart.

Now that we have seen our real selves is there any hope, any possible way to be delivered from temptations, pitfalls? Yes! In II Peter 2:9a we read “The Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptations. . ..’’ God will give us the grace that David prays for in Psalm 19:13 “Keep back thy servant also from presumptuous sins; let them not have dominion over me: then shall I be upright and I shall be innocent from the great transgression.” David was a man who understood the power of sin well. He lived a very full life, earthly speaking. He was brought from poverty and made rich; was taken from humble beginnings and be­came powerful and well known. He enjoyed sin for a time, but was plagued by them. He said “My bones waxed old” and he felt God’s “hand was heavy on me.” David’s Psalms speak of his struggle with sin and its terrible effect on him. We certainly echo David’s prayers especially through singing. (May we always hold our Psalter dear to our hearts.)

We must deal with our sins and temptations in the same manner. We must pray for forgiveness and grace to resist temptation. Strength to resist is given by God through the avenue of prayer. Contemplate on things spiritual while you go about your daily duties. Your outlook on the temptations of this life will change. Change from willingly seeking sin to seeking to please God. Will to do good; pray for strength to resist the temptations that particularly affect you. I Peter 3:12a “For the eyes of the Lord are over the righteous, and His ears are open unto their prayers.”

The child of God is active in his faith, uplifted and made strong by God’s mercy. We are comforted, we do experience peace because we are the apple of God’s eye. Believe it!

Will we be free from sin and walk perfectly? No, because our old sinful nature is with us. Will the elect sinner use this to try to excuse himself? No! He doesn’t even want to try to excuse himself. He knows Christ and only Christ can merit that forgiveness, our awful debt. Paul tells us in Galatians that we are made free from the bondage of sin and are no longer slaves to sin. We are given liberty to serve God through Christ.

We will halt and stumble into sin, but we will not find joy walking and reveling in sin. The thoughts of sin will plague us and temptations will be a difficult struggle in our lives. We will battle a constant war with our flesh and Satan. Our comfort lies in the forgiveness of sin and knowing God cares for His sheep. I Corinthians 10:13 “There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will  not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape that ye may be able to bear it.”