Posted by jerrywhite on Nov 4, 2012
Never underestimate the weakness of your flesh.
Jesus said to His disciples, “My soul is very sorrowful, even to death; remain here, and watch with me” (Matthew 26:38). He shared His burden of soul with them and simply asked them to watch with Him in prayer—but they slept. Finding them asleep when He returned He asked Peter, “So, could you not watch with me one hour? Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” But they went back to sleep and ignored their Master’s request. Weak flesh!
David, a man after God’s heart, committed adultery with Bathsheba and then arranged for the murder of her husband. Samson fell because of a woman. Solomon, the wisest man, fell away from the Lord because of women. Simon Peter denied and even swore with an oath that he did not know Jesus. Demas left Paul because he loved this present world (2 Timothy 4:10).
Pastor after pastor in this generation has fallen because of immoral relationships. Christian marriages by the hundreds have failed because of disobedience to the Word of God and because of being controlled by self-centered flesh by one or both partners. Churches have become divided because of fleshly divisions. Men in ministry have become addicted to pornography, as have many other men in churches, even men who thought this would never happen to them. Professing Christian women have become attracted to other men because of unfulfilling marriages or because of secret fantasies. Internet connections have led to illicit relationships and this has led to ignoring or rejecting the claims of Christ because of emotional or physical fleshly desires that have taken over. The Lord plainly tells us, “For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do” (Galatians 5:17, ESV). The only answer (antidote) to the flesh ruling and ruining our lives according to God’s Word is, “Walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh” (Galatians 5:16, ESV). It is said in another way in Romans 13:14, “But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires.” We either live in the Spirit’s fullness or our flesh takes over. Never underestimate the weakness of your flesh.
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Posted by jerrywhite on Aug 23, 2012
“In biblical teaching temptation is not sin. That is a principle of enormous practical importance. Many sincere Christians have been paralysed [sic] by Satan precisely here, and made to feel that simply because they have been tempted to a particular sin they have already sinned and come under the displeasure of God. It is vital therefore to see the distinction between temptation and sin. It may help us if we remind ourselves that Jesus was tempted (Heb. 4:15). Yet he was without sin and therefore to suggest that temptation is a sin is to come close to blasphemy — and there are occasions when a strong reminder like that will clarify the minds which Satan has confused.
How then can we distinguish temptation from sin when both seem to cling closely to us? By asking ourselves whether we want the temptation which is set before us. If our hearts are set against it, then we may be sure that we are not yet engaged in sin but are being subjected to temptation.
In fact the Bible has two different sets of words for temptation in the Hebrew of the Old Testament and the Greek of the New Testament. One conveys the idea of testing in order to prove validity. In the word-picture of Scripture, the believer is tested for genuineness just as metal is tested for its genuineness. The other word normally has a less positive content, and conveys more the idea of testing through temptation, through the experience of the opportunity to sin. The first expression is never used of Satan, the second is infrequently used of God. But when God does test, it is in order to know what is in the hearts of men and women. He applies pressure on their lives to see what will emerge. This is a regular theme in the Old Testament (Deut. 8:2; Judges 2:22; 3:1-4; 2 Chronicles. 32:31).”
Sinclair B. Ferguson
Taking the Christian Life Seriously, 87 (1980)
For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin.
Hebrews 4:15 (ESV)
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Posted by jerrywhite on Sep 22, 2011
“As we walk by the Spirit, following His promptings, the voice of fleshly desire will lose its power to allure. In his book White Fang, Jack London told of an animal of that name who was half-wolf, half- dog. One day White Fang strayed into a hen-run and killed several hens. The owner was naturally very angry. White Fang’s trainer said to him, ‘I will guarantee that he will remain a whole afternoon in the hen-run and not kill a single chicken.’
The test began. Whenever the old lust to kill asserted itself, his master’s voice recalled White Fang again and again, until at last the force of the impulse had spent itself as he listened to that quietly restraining voice. He finally fell asleep in the midst of the hens. When he woke up, he yawned and jumped out of the hen-run. The temptation had no more power to allure. White Fang’s victory over his wolf-nature sprang from the restraining power of his loved master’s voice. So with us. Sensitive obedience to the restraining and empowering voice of the Spirit brings victory.”
J. Oswald Sanders
Enjoying Intimacy with God, 83
My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.
Hearing the Master’s voice requires stillness of soul and staying attuned to Him. Constant bombardment by the world’s noise can drown out the Spirit’s gentle whispers within. “What should I do?” you may ask. “I must live in this noisy world with my demanding schedule.” How would Jesus approach it? He would do exactly what He did when He walked those dusty roads of Galilee. He often went aside to be alone with His Father in order to share His heart and listen to His Father’s heart. This prepared Him to walk through His demanding days and noisy crowds while listening to His Father in the quiet sanctuary of His soul. He lived like we must live so we can live like He did. It is possible to learn how to listen to Him in the quietness of your soul while living in the clamor of the world around you. Your inner life can rule your outer life.
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Posted by jerrywhite on Sep 8, 2011
You have set our iniquities before you, our secret sins in the light of your presence.
Psalm 90:8 (ESV)
“We need to remember that, like many sins, David’s were carried out secretly—at least for a while. One of the things that accompanies the promotion of individuals to higher positions of authority is an increase in privacy. This closed-door policy maintained by those in high office brings great temptation for things to be done in secret. Unaccountability is common among those in command. So it was with David. Unable to handle the privacy of the office over the long haul, David finally fell and rapidly went about covering his tragic tracks. It was done secretly.”
And no creature is hidden from his sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give account.
Hebrews 4:13 (ESV)
O SPIRIT OF GOD,
If You see in me
Any wrong thing encouraged,
Any evil desire cherished,
Any delight that is not Your delight,
Any habit that grieves You,
Any nest of sin in my heart,
Then grant me the kiss of Your forgiveness,
and teach my feet to walk the way of Your commandments.
Adapted from The Valley Of Vision, 188
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Posted by jerrywhite on May 30, 2011
“As a seminary professor, I am tempted to believe that I have (or should have) risen above the common temptations that others face. This makes the appearance of sin in my life all the more disappointing and difficult to confess. I was made more ready to deal with my weaknesses, however, through the observations of another seminary professor:
‘I write these words at the age of fifty-five. During the past ten or twelve years, I have often—and with greater seriousness than ever before—reflected upon the course of my life. Certain patterns of thought and attitude and conduct have come to light, some of them quite disturbing. I look back upon repeated failures in my efforts to subdue inner thoughts, conflicts and fears, to combat immaturity and self-centeredness, to build genuine and enriching relationships with other people, to conquer besetting sins, and to grow in holiness and communion with God. I now see that every period of my life has been marked by …struggle. But the persistence of the failures, together with a growing understanding of the past, has made the struggles of recent years exceptionally intense and painful.’ [As quoted by Jerry Bridges in The Discipline of Grace, 41]
The man who wrote these words is widely respected for his godliness, yet he dares to speak with extraordinary humility and candor for the benefit of others. His words help rescue me from the despair of thinking that I am extraordinarily strange because, despite my position and background, I am still tempted even by what I find detestable. In knowing that I am not alone, I find that I can be more honest about what is in my heart and more willing to identify the wrong of which I must repent. Paul intends for these freeing dynamics to work in all our hearts when he tells us that what tempts us is common in humanity and is, in fact, part of being human.”
Holiness By Grace, 94-95
A testing time or a temptation has not laid hold of you with the result that these have you in their grip, except those to which mankind is continually subject.
1 Corinthians 10:13 (Wuest Translation)
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