Daily in the Word: a ministry of Lancaster Baptist Church
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Only be thou strong and very courageous, that thou mayest observe to do according to all the law, which Moses my servant commanded thee: turn not from it to the right hand or to the left, that thou mayest prosper whithersoever thou goest. This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.
Many people today treat the truth like a cafeteria buffet. They pick and choose the things that look appealing and that they think they will enjoy, and they leave the rest behind. That is not the way God's truth works. It is all part of a unified whole. It is all true, and it must all be taken as true. John Newton wrote, “The Word of God is not to be used as a lottery; nor is it designed to instruct us by shreds and scraps, which, detached from their proper places, have no determinate import; but it is to furnish us with just principles, right apprehensions to regulate our judgments and affections, and thereby to influence and direct our conduct.”
We are not equipped or qualified to evaluate which parts of the Bible we should believe and which we should discard. That puts us in a position that can only rightfully be held by God. Instead we are to take the whole of God's truth, read it, study it, memorize it, meditate on it, and follow what it says. Whether the truth is widely accepted or believed only by a few, it is still truth. And it is all truth. Paul was able to testify that his ministry was not based on picking and choosing, but believing it all. He said, “For I have not shunned to declare unto you all the counsel of God” (Acts 20:27).
All of God's Word is true, and it can and must be trusted and obeyed.
He that loveth his brother abideth in the light, and there is none occasion of stumbling in him. But he that hateth his brother is in darkness, and walketh in darkness, and knoweth not whither he goeth, because that darkness hath blinded his eyes.
1 John 2:10-11
Though their use dates back many centuries, the idea of using dogs as guides for blind people became much more common in the 1800s. The concept soon entered popular literature. In her lengthy poem Aurora Leigh, Elizabeth Barrett Browning wrote, “The blind man walks wherever the dog pulls.” And in Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol, part of his description of the awfulness of Ebenezer Scrooge includes these lines: “Even the blind men’s dogs appeared to know him; and when they saw him coming on, would tug their owners into doorways and up courts; and then would wag their tails as though they said, 'No eye at all is better than an evil eye, dark master!'”
The loss of sight is a huge limitation on life because many of the activities people take for granted can only be performed with some kind of assistance. But at least people who have lost their physical sight are aware of it. There is a kind of spiritual blindness that is just as debilitating and limiting as physical blindness, and yet often we are unaware of it. This blindness comes when we allow bitterness and hatred toward fellow believers to remain in our hearts . As long as there are people, there will be hurt feelings, disappointments, disillusionment, and strife. But we do not have to allow these to fester and grow into hatred.
Instead God commands us to take action to lovingly restore our relationships as a matter of priority. Jesus said, “Therefore if thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath ought against thee; Leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift” (Matthew 5:23-24).
We cannot walk in the light if we are walking in bitterness and hatred toward others.
And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life. For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.
When the Children of Israel griped and complained about the manna that God was miraculously providing them every day, God sent poisonous snakes into the camp. In desperation, the people came to Moses and confessed their sin. When Moses prayed, God gave him the solution. It was not what the people asked for, the removal of the snakes, but instead a cure. “And Moses made a serpent of brass, and put it upon a pole, and it came to pass, that if a serpent had bitten any man, when he beheld the serpent of brass, he lived” (Numbers 21:9).
As Jesus was talking to Nicodemus, He used this event to illustrate the means of salvation. As a Jewish religious leader, Nicodemus would have been well acquainted with the story. It is a powerful demonstration of God's grace because it shows that deliverance and salvation can only come from Him, and specifically from faith in Him. God did not instruct the people to follow a certain ritual or offer elaborate sacrifices for their healing. Instead they only had to look at the serpent on the pole and their lives would be spared.
We do not get saved because of anything that we do or don't do. We do not get saved because of our bloodlines and heritage, because we belong to a certain church, or because of where we live. We get saved because we look to Jesus in faith for the help that only He can provide. There is no human remedy for the poison of sin. We are utterly without hope unless we accept what Jesus provides.
Salvation only comes by grace through faith in the finished work of Jesus Christ.
For Christ is not entered into the holy places made with hands, which are the figures of the true; but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us: Nor yet that he should offer himself often, as the high priest entereth into the holy place every year with blood of others; For then must he often have suffered since the foundation of the world: but now once in the end of the world hath he appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself.
After his conversion in a revival meeting at age twelve, Philip Bliss wanted to use his talents for God. For a time he worked as a music teacher, and began writing hymns during that time. A meeting with D. L. Moody inspired Bliss to become part of a full time revival ministry, and he spent the rest of his life leading singing at meetings around the country. Before his death in a train crash at just thirty-eight years of age, Bliss wrote these words:
Free from the law, O happy condition,
Jesus hath bled, and there is remission;
Cursed by the law and bruised by the fall,
Grace hath redeemed us once for all.
Once for all, O sinner, receive it,
Once for all, O friend, now believe it;
Cling to the cross, the burden will fall,
Christ hath redeemed us once for all.
The matter of our salvation is already settled, just as surely as if we were in Heaven now. No power can take us out of God's hand. The sacrifice of Jesus on the cross, unlike the yearly offering of the high priests in the Old Testament on the Day of Atonement, only needed to be made once. The power of the blood of Christ is so great that it only had to be offered once to save us forever. We must deal with sin in our lives on a daily basis as part of maintaining the right relationship with God, but our standing as part of His family can never be changed.
There is no reason for a Christian to live with doubt and uncertainty–the future is settled.
I write unto you, little children, because your sins are forgiven you for his name's sake.
1 John 2:12
Could there be a sweeter word than the word forgiven? That glorious word describes you and me if we have received the forgiveness Christ offers. The sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross made it possible for God to wipe the sins off of our account while still remaining righteous and holy. God could offer us forgiveness because Jesus paid the price for our sins on the cross and because once we trust Him as our Savior, He stands as our heavenly Advocate (1 John 2:1). Despite the pain and torment He was enduring, even on the cross, Jesus was thinking of us rather than Himself. “Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do. And they parted his raiment, and cast lots” (Luke 23:34). We are not forgiven by God because we deserve it. We are not forgiven because we earn it. We are forgiven because Jesus paid the price for our sins. No matter how long we may have been saved or how much we have done for God, we could never even begin to be worthy of forgiveness. It only comes to us through Christ—“for His name's sake.”
Having received that forgiveness, we are instructed to in turn to provide it to others. “And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you” (Ephesians 4:32). We do not have to think that people deserve forgiveness in order to offer it to them. We only have to look in the mirror and see how God treated us, and then treat others the same way. While a relationship cannot be fully restored without issues being addressed, forgiveness can be granted at any point—even without the other person's consent. We do not have to live with bitterness and grudges toward those who have done us wrong. We can give up our right to get even and let them off the hook. We can offer forgiveness in the same way in which we received it—freely and graciously.
The forgiveness we have received from God places upon us a responsibility to be forgiving to others.
And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure. For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me. And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
2 Corinthians 12:7-9
From what we read in the Bible of the life and ministry of Paul, we see a pattern of answered prayer. Paul asked God to do things to further the work of spreading the gospel, and God provided what was needed. Paul healed the sick, survived shipwreck and snake bites, and even raised the dead. Yet when it came to the most personal burden Paul carried, his request was denied. Paul seriously and intently prayed that his thorn in the flesh would be removed, and God refused. Rather than becoming bitter over God not doing what he wanted, Paul rejoiced, seeing that what God had in mind was better than what he had asked the Lord to do.
Many times when we are in difficulty, we pray with a solution in mind. We have figured out how we think things should work, and our prayers are closer to directions than petitions. None of us enjoy going through hardship, yet there are times when the very thing we are asking God to take out of our lives is something that He sent for our good and for His glory. Paul needed the thorn in flesh so that pride would not hinder his ability to serve God faithfully. The thorn was a gift, and its removal would have been a handicap to Paul. We need to be careful as we pray to remember that God knows more than we do, so that we are not inadvertently asking Him to do something that would harm us.
Every prayer must be offered in submission to the will of God and in recognition that He knows what is best.
The LORD is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and plenteous in mercy. He will not always chide: neither will he keep his anger for ever. He hath not dealt with us after our sins; nor rewarded us according to our iniquities. For as the heaven is high above the earth, so great is his mercy toward them that fear him. As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us.
Because we are human and our minds are limited, we cannot ever understand the fullness of the measure of the glory, majesty, love, and mercy of God. To help us grasp as much as we can, God inspired the writers of the Bible to use illustrations and metaphors that we can comprehend. David gave us some of the most beautiful word pictures ever written, including his wonderful depiction of the way God not only forgives our sins, but removes them. While there is a North Pole and a South Pole, limiting how far one can go in either of those directions, a journey east or west has no limit or boundary. It is a trip without end. So when God says that He removes our transgressions from us "as far as the east is from the west," that means they farther away from us than can be measured.
Of course David had personal experience with the way God deals with sin. Despite all that God had done for him and given him, David reached a point where he wanted what was not his to take. The resulting adultery and the murder David arranged to try to cover it up were the low point in the life of the great king of Israel. Yet despite the awfulness of what David had done, when he turned to God in genuine repentance and sorrow for his sin, he was forgiven.
Though there were consequences that followed David for the rest of his life, God never held that sin against David or refused restoration and fellowship with him. None of us deserve to be forgiven, yet in God's great mercy, when we confess our sin to Him, we find a full a free pardon through the blood of Jesus Christ.
We should not allow sins God has forgiven to hinder our relationship with Him—He will never bring them up again.
I write unto you, fathers, because ye have known him that is from the beginning. I write unto you, young men, because ye have overcome the wicked one. I write unto you, little children, because ye have known the Father. I have written unto you, fathers, because ye have known him that is from the beginning. I have written unto you, young men, because ye are strong, and the word of God abideth in you, and ye have overcome the wicked one.
1 John 2:13-14
The Bible often compares our spiritual growth from the time we are new believers until we mature with our physical growth. At each stage of our natural progression from infants to adults, we become capable of doing more and more things. We do not expect babies to be able to do what adults can do. Yet while young believers may not have fully developed their faith and skills for spiritual warfare, that does not have to mean that they will invariably be defeated.
At every stage of the Christian life, whether we are little children, young men, or aged fathers, we are meant to be overcoming and victorious. It is not our strength that wins the victory, but rather God's strength, and the faith and knowledge that are built upon His Word. When Satan came and tempted Jesus, each temptation was met with a verse of Scripture that countered it. Jesus could have simply banished Satan, but instead He provided us an example of how we can overcome the evil one.
The necessity of growth is laid upon us, for the battles become more intense and fierce along the way. But from beginning to end, all the way through the Christian life, we are meant to be victorious. Paul wrote, “Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us” (Romans 8:37). We do not triumph in our might, but in God's might. That power is available to us no matter how long we have been saved.
At every stage of the Christian life, God will give us the victory if we are relying on Him.
But when he saw the multitudes, he was moved with compassion on them, because they fainted, and were scattered abroad, as sheep having no shepherd. Then saith he unto his disciples, The harvest truly is plenteous, but the labourers are few; Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth labourers into his harvest.
The life and ministry of Jesus were characterized by compassion for others. When He looked at people, He saw beyond their outward circumstances to their real needs. He did not regard it as a burden to help them. In contrast, even those closest to Jesus often viewed people with needs as a problem—one they wanted to get rid of rather than deal with. Once when a great crowd of people had gathered to hear Jesus and the end of the day was approaching, they came to Him and said, “Send them away, that they may go into the country round about, and into the villages, and buy themselves bread: for they have nothing to eat” (Mark 6:36). Instead of sending the multitudes away, Jesus met their need, working a miracle to feed thousands of people because of His love and compassion for them.
If we are going to truthfully say that we are living like Jesus, our lives must be characterized by the same kind of compassion for others that He had. The missionary David Brainerd wrote, “I care not where I go, or how I live, or what I endure so that I may save souls. When I sleep I dream of them; when I awake they are first in my thoughts…no amount of scholastic attainment, of able and profound exposition of brilliant and stirring eloquence can atone for the absence of a deep impassioned sympathetic love for human souls.” All around us there are people for whom Jesus died who have no concept of the eternity that awaits them. That fact should fill our hearts with compassion and move us to action to help them before it is too late.
Compassion for those in need characterized the life of Christ, and it should characterize our lives as well.
For we commend not ourselves again unto you, but give you occasion to glory on our behalf, that ye may have somewhat to answer them which glory in appearance, and not in heart. For whether we be beside ourselves, it is to God: or whether we be sober, it is for your cause. For the love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead: And that he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again.
2 Corinthians 5:12-15
Paul's first letter to the church at Corinth was a blistering rebuke of the ungodly behavior and attitudes that were being tolerated and even celebrated within the church. While some people repented and began living right, others instead attacked Paul. Some even said that he had gone crazy. Things are a lot like that in our day. Many times simply pointing out the truth is considered to be an attack that could only come from someone who was “beside himself” as they said of Paul.
It would have been a lot easier for Paul to just let things slide and not point out what was wrong. At least that approach would not have sparked the opposition and slander that he received. If he had not called sin by its rightful name, no one would have thought that he was judgmental and too harsh, even to the point of being mentally unbalanced. So why did Paul insist on making clear the difference between right and wrong?
He said it was the love of Christ that constrained him. If we love Jesus as we should, no criticism or opposition will be able to stop us from standing up for the truth. Jesus laid down His life for us even as He was being mocked and derided by the crowd at the cross. If He was willing to give so much for us, how can we not be willing to give up everything for Him?
The love of Jesus for us and our love for Him compels us to stand for His truth no matter the consequences.
Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.
1 John 2:15
The final letter that the Holy Spirit inspired Paul to write was addressed to his protégé Timothy. From a Roman prison, realizing that the time of execution was approaching, Paul asked Timothy to do everything possible to come and see him as soon as he could. The aged apostle was alone. Some of his companions had been sent on other assignments, but there was one loss that was especially painful to Paul. “For Demas hath forsaken me, having loved this present world, and is departed unto Thessalonica; Crescens to Galatia, Titus unto Dalmatia” (2 Timothy 4:10).
All of us have known people who, like Demas, have become enamored with the things of the world. Over time, that love has drawn them away from the things of God. And we have seen the devastating impact that has on their lives, and often on their families and churches as well. The world is alluring. The temptations of Satan are designed to appeal to us in a powerful way. Just as Eve was enticed by the appearance of the forbidden fruit, we are drawn away from our love for God by the appeal of the world.
Yet if we love God as we should—above all else—we will not find the things of the world overwhelmingly attractive to us. This is the most important of all the commands God has given to us. Moses instructed, “And now, Israel, what doth the LORD thy God require of thee, but to fear the LORD thy God, to walk in all his ways, and to love him, and to serve the LORD thy God with all thy heart and with all thy soul” (Deuteronomy 10:12). There is no room for us to love the world and the things in it in a damaging way if our whole heart is filled with love for God.
Every Christian who walks away from the things of God has fallen out of love with Him.
And all the children of Israel murmured against Moses and against Aaron: and the whole congregation said unto them, Would God that we had died in the land of Egypt! or would God we had died in this wilderness! And wherefore hath the LORD brought us unto this land, to fall by the sword, that our wives and our children should be a prey? were it not better for us to return into Egypt?
When the Children of Israel were in bondage in Egypt, they cried out to God for deliverance. They hated being forced to labor for others, without the freedom to live as they pleased. The conditions of their slavery were harsh, and they got increasingly worse over time. Then God answered those desperate prayers and sent Moses to lead them out. Yet despite their answered prayers and their deliverance, the Israelites did not respond with gratitude. Instead they complained again and again. They did not have enough food, and then when manna fell from Heaven, they grew tired of it. Their complaining became so bitter that they even began longing to be back in slavery again. At one point, they began looking for a leader who would take them back to their former bondage.
We look at that story and find it hard to believe that people could long to be in bondage again after having been freed. Yet we see the same thing in the Christian life in all too many cases. People who have been released from the slavery of sin and should be rejoicing in freedom in Christ instead spend their time looking backward and missing the very thing from which they were delivered. Paul warned about the importance of guarding our liberty, writing to the Galatians, “Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage” (Galatians 5:1). The shackles of sin cannot stand against the power of the gospel. We only come back into bondage when we ourselves choose to yield to sin rather than yielding to God.
The deliverance God has given us is precious, and we should not let any sin bring us back into captivity.
That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world. He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not. He came unto his own, and his own received him not. But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:
Jesus came into the world to offer salvation to all who would receive it. Yet in His day, as well as in ours, there are many who reject the message. Jesus wept over the city of Jerusalem because so many there refused to accept Him as the Messiah. “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not!” (Matthew 23:37).
The natural world accepted the Lord without question. When He spoke to storms, or illness, or food, all did as He commanded. Even the demons were forced to acknowledge His power over them. Yet it was the height of God's creation, the people He had made in His image, who rejected Him. There is no greater tragedy than someone refusing the message of God. It is not in our power to force others to be saved, but we can have the same heart of compassion that Jesus did. “And of some have compassion, making a difference:” (Jude 1:22).
The responsibility that falls on us is not to produce the results, for that is something that only God can do. Our task is to make sure that others know about their need for salvation and the offer of salvation found in Jesus Christ alone. Some will refuse to hear or accept that message, and that is heartbreaking. But others will respond, and that is our joy. All those who are willing to receive Him become children of God.
It is a tragedy when people reject Jesus, but it is an even greater tragedy when they never hear about Him.
For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.
1 John 2:16-17
In 2019, a massive sandcastle was built in the German town of Binz on the Baltic Sea where each year a contest is held for builders who work with sand. Complete with turrets, windows, arches, and walkways, the highly detailed castle was a sight to behold. Measuring nearly sixty feet tall, it was certified as a Guinness World Record holder as the largest sandcastle ever built. However, if you want to see it in person, you are too late. After a few months it was gone. Though it was impressive, it was not built to last.
The world around us is filled with things that may look impressive, but upon examination are revealed to be only temporary at best. Everywhere we look, we see people frantically trying to build the largest sandcastles without any thought of what will happen next. The things of this world are going to pass away. Each of us who are Christians will stand before God and give an account to Him of how we used the time and abilities He has entrusted to us.
There will be no deception in that day. Everything will be revealed for what it really is. “Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble; Every man's work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man's work of what sort it is” (1 Corinthians 3:12-13). It is our responsibility to focus our lives and our efforts on things that matter and things that will last. Only then will our lives not have been lived in vain.
The world tempts us to waste our lives on fleeting things, but God calls us to live for the eternal.
Ye lust, and have not: ye kill, and desire to have, and cannot obtain: ye fight and war, yet ye have not, because ye ask not. Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts. Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.
There is an old story about a man who couldn't decide which side to fight for in the Civil War. So he put on a blue Union army jacket and gray Confederate army pants. He thought that by doing so he would be accepted by both sides, but instead he found that both sides were shooting at him. Absurd as that story is, it illustrates an important spiritual truth: we can't be on both sides of the spiritual battle. If we want to cling to the things of the world, that places us at enmity with God. He deserves our complete allegiance. If we give Him anything less, we are essentially siding with the world.
The desire to be accepted by the world and receive the praise of men has led many people to lower their commitment to God and the truth, and begin accepting things they should always resist. There is no stopping place once a person starts down that path. There will always be one more thing to give up in order to continue to be considered acceptable. Jesus warned of this danger when He said, “Woe unto you, when all men shall speak well of you! for so did their fathers to the false prophets” (Luke 6:26).
Rather than seeking the approval of the world, we should make our allegiance to God firm and unyielding, no matter what happens. John Wesley wrote, “Give me one hundred men who fear nothing but sin and desire nothing but God, and I care not whether they be clergyman or laymen, they alone will shake the gates of Hell and set up the kingdom of Heaven upon the earth.”
A person trying to fit in with both God in the world will end up pleasing neither.
And it came to pass, as they journeyed from the east, that they found a plain in the land of Shinar; and they dwelt there. And they said one to another, Go to, let us make brick, and burn them throughly. And they had brick for stone, and slime had they for morter. And they said, Go to, let us build us a city and a tower, whose top may reach unto heaven; and let us make us a name, lest we be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth.
The desire of people to be famous and looked up to by others has been with us since the fall of man. Satan's rebellion against God was centered in the sin of pride, and that passed on to all of humanity. In the period after the Flood, the people assembled at what later became Babylon and began building a tower by which they intended to reach up to Heaven itself. At the heart of their purpose was the desire, not to glorify God and lift up His name, but to make a name for themselves so that they would be honored and remembered.
There is no place for pride in the Christian life. We are not here to make sure people know about us and lift up our names in praise, but rather to live in such a way that God is glorified. “Not unto us, O LORD, not unto us, but unto thy name give glory, for thy mercy, and for thy truth's sake” (Psalm 115:1). The efforts that we make to build up ourselves in the eyes of others are doomed to failure because doing so places us in opposition to God's purpose for our lives. Any praise and any credit that we receive for what we have done rightfully belongs to God. He gifted us with talents and abilities, and the Holy Spirit gives us power to accomplish the tasks which are set before us.
The purpose of life is not to make a name for ourselves, but to bring honor and glory to God's name.
Little children, it is the last time: and as ye have heard that antichrist shall come, even now are there many antichrists; whereby we know that it is the last time.
1 John 2:18
When most of us hear the word antichrist, we think of the false Messiah who is described in the book of Revelation. But while that antichrist will be a real person who will appear on the world stage at some point in the future, the spirit of evil that will animate and motivate and empower him is already at work in the world. This is not something that just happened. Even before the final book of the New Testament was written, John was already describing “many antichrists” as he instructed believers then how to live in the “last time.”
There is a real devil, and he is alive and active in the world today. He is not a cartoon character with a forked tail and pitchfork. He is clever and crafty, using every tool at his disposal to deceive the lost world and keep them in darkness, and defeat the saved and keep them from working in God's power. Paul warned the church at Corinth, “And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works” (2 Corinthians 11:14-15).
Satan stands in total opposition to everything that Christ stands for. He is actively opposing God's plan for the world, and though we know he will ultimately be completely defeated once and for all, that day has not yet come. We need to be on guard every day so that we will not be deceived by his lies or fall into the snares that he sets before our feet. This is not a threat for the far off future, but one that we face right now. There is a spiritual war taking place, and we must be prepared to fight.
A Christian who is not on guard against the attacks of Satan is a Christian who will soon be defeated.
Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him. Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man: But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.
It is so easy and comforting for us to blame outside forces when we sin. We try so hard to make sure we are not held at fault. Eve blamed the serpent for her choice to eat the forbidden fruit, and Adam blamed Eve for giving it to him. Then Adam blamed God for making Eve in the first place. Such deflection, however, misses the point. When we sin, the origin of sin is not some outward temptation that is so overwhelming that we had no choice but to go along with it. Rather the origin of sin begins with the desires of our own hearts. Those desires are what draw us away from God and take us down the path of sin.
The key to avoiding sin is not to somehow isolate ourselves from any temptation. No matter where we go or what we do, it is our “own lust” that entices us. The devil is skilled at finding specific temptations that are attractive to us. He does not tempt us with things that do not appeal, but with things that are very enticing. When Jesus had been fasting, Satan's first temptation was to acquire food through a misuse of His power. It is not hard to see why bread would be attractive to someone who hadn't eaten for days. Victory over temptation only comes from within—from yielding to the Holy Spirit. Paul wrote, “For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live” (Romans 8:13).
Rather than blaming others for temptation, turn to God's Word for help to overcome it.