Friday, January 21, 2011

Temptation: Tragedy or Triumph--Which Will It Be?

The word temptation is usually understood as something so powerfully attractive that it forces a person to do something that isn't good either for him/her or others. Years ago, however, the word temptation had two meanings: it was understood as we understand it today, a luring into some kind of destructive behavior, but it was also used to refer to a test, something which if passed, could be very beneficial to a person.

We live in a society that doesn't much believe in willpower. Americans like to indulge. In fact, we like to indulge so much that when we're told we've got to stop what we're doing we say, "I just can't. It's too much of a temptation." And that's how we've come to see temptation as so overwhelming that a person cannot be expected not to do what he/she wants to do.

The truth of the matter is, however, nobody forces us to give in to temptation, we choose to. And the temptations we experience are no more powerful than those experienced by people in the past. What has changed is our attitude towards destructive behavior. Instead of having a healthy fear of disobeying God, we rationalize our weaknesses by saying things like, "But God doesn't want me to be unhappy and so I do these things I know are wrong because they make me happy." That kind of reasoning may make a person happy for the moment, but it certainly doesn't make sense to a Christian.

We live in a world of spiritual warfare. There is a very real devil who is using his very considerable abilities to lead people away from Jesus Christ. Satan's attacks come daily and in many different ways, but they all have one objective--to lead people to hell.

Did Jesus believe there was a devil? If you join us this Sunday at 10:00 am you'll see he not only knew Satan exists, but was tempted by him, just the way you and I are tempted. But rather than seeing those temptations as overwhelming, he resisted them. It was to defeat Satan and take away his power over us that Jesus Christ came to this earth. His battle with the devil in the wilderness at the beginning of his ministry was one of many he would fight with the evil one until the Lord dealt the death blow to Satan on Good Friday.

By trusting in Christ as your Savior from sin, you have the conditions to turn temptation into triumph. You have the motivation to say "no" but most of all you have the power of Christ living in you, enabling you to overcome, day by day, as he molds you into the person he intends you to be.

Hawaii Lutheran Church (WELS)

My photo
Honolulu, HI
Community Lutheran Church holds protestant chapel services in Honolulu, Hawaii near Pearl Harbor, HI. We are next to the USS Arizona Memorial, Pearl Harbor Naval Base, Hickam Air Force Base, and Fort Shafter Hawaii. Look for us directly behind the Salt Lake, Hawaii, Target.