ANASAYFA Forum TURKISH CHRISTIAN FORUM (in English) Miscellaneaus Temptations? Can I avoid them?

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    Can I avoid temptations?

    There is a temptation that is common to just about everyone I know. After all, it’s something that is incredibly common, easy to find, and sits there luring us in with its dark mystique and sweet promises. Yes, that’s right; it’s extremely difficult to find someone that is not tempted by luscious chocolate desserts on the menu. In fact, this is such common knowledge that chocolate desserts are often described as either “sinful” or “deadly” after being called a temptation. If you don’t believe me, look at the menu the next time you go out to eat. Somewhere there will be a dessert called “death by chocolate” or “sinfully sweet” or something to that effect.

    What does all of this show? Apparently there is a common understanding in our culture that there is a relationship between temptation, sin, and death. While using these terms to refer to chocolate is both humorous and meaningless for the most part because chocolate is not an actual sin (you can let out that breath you’ve been holding, and break another piece off the candy bar while you keep reading). The common nature of these terms does show that somewhere at some point we had a common understanding of temptation, sin, and death; but what is the actual relationship between these three things?

    Let’s look at what James has to say about it. James reminds us that temptation to do wrong is never from God (James 1:12-15). Enduring by resisting temptation leads to God’s blessings on our lives, but God does not actually lead someone into temptation.

    If temptation is not from God then, does being tempted mean that you are in sin? Many people think that if they are tempted, then they have sinned; but there is a big difference. If sin at its most basic level is an unwillingness to trust God, then by sinning we are choosing something other then God’s plan for our lives because we don’t trust that the way that he’s planned things is actually the best thing for us. Temptation, then, cannot be sin, because it is not something we have actively done that demonstrates an unwillingness to trust God. Temptation is the flitting thought that passes through our minds that tempts us to try something contrary to what God would have. However, at that moment, we haven’t stepped out of God’s plan—only the suggestion is there. In order for it to be sin, we have to act on the temptation.

    As my youth pastor used to say when I was in high school, you can’t stop a bird from flying over your head, but you do have something to say about them building a nest in your hair. “Temptation,” according to James, “comes from our own desires, which entice us and drag us away” (James 1:14). Note the language here: “drag us away.” Have you ever been dragged somewhere without realizing it? I didn’t think so. There is volition involved here. Moving from temptation to sin takes one of two forms: One, we choose to give into our sinful desires; or two, we don’t prevent ourselves from getting dragged away by our sinful desires. Both take volition and continual effort.

    Avoiding moving from temptation to sin is a constant thing. The first bird may go away, but there will always be more. Dwelling on those thoughts and acting on them “give birth to sinful actions. And when sin is allowed to grow, it gives birth to death” (James 1:15). Death, huh? Yes, death. Death is not a fun result, especially considering the alternative. If we persevere in resisting temptations, the hard work pays off because it keeps us in a place where God can bless our life. Or as James says, “God blesses those who patiently endure testing and temptation. Afterward they will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him” (James 1:12).

    So the next time you’re enjoying a sinfully sweet or tempting dessert on the menu, let it be a reminder that giving into temptation feeds sin, and when sin is allowed to grow, it leads to death. But by all means, enjoy your dessert.

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