Someone once said, "I can resist everything in the world except temptation."

Why do we give in to temptations when we know it is a mistake? The reason temptations are so difficult to resist is that they are part of our nature and they come from inside us. James writes, "Everyone is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desires." Giving in to temptation leads to sin, and the final result is death. No wonder that, in the Lord's prayer, Jesus taught us to ask God not to lead us into temptation!

People have always found ways to be tempted to do wrong, but nowadays there are temptations everywhere around us. Our world is full of media that cater to the carnal mind because people like it. It becomes increasingly more difficult to resist evil when it is commonly accepted as normal in our society. We can feel overwhelmed by the troubles of daily living, dealing with frail, mortal bodies, and living in such a corrupt world that constantly tries to entice us to do evil.

We know that Jesus was tempted in every way as we are, and that he had to deal with the same mortal weaknesses we feel. Looking at how he resisted temptation can help us to do so also. When Jesus faced his greatest temptation, he took his disciples off to a quiet place to pray and told them, "Pray that you do not enter into temptation." Then he prayed earnestly, turning to God in prayer for help because he felt such an overwhelming desire to escape the coming trial.

Sadly, Christ's disciples fell asleep when he most needed them. Later they forsook him and fled. He would endure the trials, scourging, and crucifixion, his time of greatest need, without his closest friends. Because of his fervent prayers in Gethsemane, he was strengthened by God and accomplished his mission. At times we may feel abandoned by those we rely on for support, but we need to continue to trust in God. God will never leave us or forsake us. When we feel overwhelmed, we need to recall that Paul tells us there is no temptation that has taken hold of us except such as is common to men. But God is faithful, who will not allow us to be tempted beyond that which we are able to bear, but will with the temptation also make a way of escape so that we may be able to bear it.

When we are being tempted, it is wonderful to be able to turn to others who can encourage us, pray with us, and help us resist the temptation. We need to make sure never to leave someone in need, as the disciples left Christ. When Paul was really discouraged, God comforted him - not with a miracle - but with a fellow worker. Paul explains, "For when we came into Macedonia, this body of ours had no rest, but we were harassed at every turn - conflicts on the outside, fears within. But God, who comforts the downcast, comforted us by the coming of Titus."

Just as Paul was comforted by the support of Titus, we should turn to our trusted brothers and sisters to help us when we are cast down and discouraged. We need to be conscious of the needs of others, and to encourage them in their time of need. Sometimes just being there is helpful; it is not always necessary to have something to say. Quietly listening to problems, and supplying a comforting touch or thoughtful support by helping with daily tasks, or simply being a companion during a difficult time - these are all ways to help.

How blessed we are to have a worldwide family of believers who care for each other. Paul describes how warmly his brothers and sisters in Galatia received him. "And my temptation which was in my flesh ye despised not, nor rejected; but received me as an angel of God, even as Christ Jesus" They did everything they could for Paul when he needed them , and we need to follow their example.

Never give up or give in to temptation. Pray to God for the strength to resist, and He will help us. May the blessing James describes be ours: "Blessed is the man that endures temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord has promised to them that love him."

Robert J Lloyd



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