Temptations can ensnare you or paralyze you. Capitulating to temptation impacts your life and the life of your coworkers, family and friends. Consistently succumbing to a particular temptation can over time ruin your career or life. You can think that you can outsmart temptations, and then suddenly and, embarrassingly you find yourself fallen flat on your face in sin. When temptations trip you up, remember that God is a God of forgiveness, a God of grace, and that the blood of Christ cleanses you from all unrighteousness.
Don’t let anyone under pressure to give in to evil say, “God is trying to trip me up.” God is impervious to evil, and puts evil in no one’s way. The temptation to give in to evil comes from us and only us. We have no one to blame but the leering, seducing flare-up of our own lust. Lust gets pregnant, and has a baby: sin! Sin grows up to adulthood, and becomes a real killer (James 1:13-15 MSG).
Satan has a myriad of seductive ways to tempt you. Sometimes these temptations are blatant, and other times they are very subtle. The apostle Paul admitted that he struggled with temptation stating that “I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do – this I keep on doing” (Rom 7:19).
After watching with glee when you succumb to temptation, Satan throws discouragement in you face, bringing tears to your eyes and stopping you dead in your tracks. Discouraging words like “you aren’t good enough”, “you screwed up again”, “you can’t do it”, “nobody loves you” are lies from the pit of hell. The moment you hear these lies, run to your loving Heavenly Father and ask him to have the Holy Spirit remind you of who you are in Christ. You are God’s child! You are loved! You are precious! You are forgiven! You have been washed clean by the blood of Christ!
Temptation presents itself to you as a choice. The choice is not between the temptation and doing nothing. The choice is between the temptation and a different thought or activity which helps you seek God’s Kingdom and hunger and thirst for God’s righteousness. Satan does a marvelous job of making temptation appear very attractive. However the Holy Spirit offers you a better choice – the fruit of the Spirt – love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. If you don’t choose an alternative to the temptation Satan presents to your mind, you leave your mind open for Satan to present new temptations.
You are not alone in your temptations! Jesus has been tempted in every way as you have been or will be. Yet Jesus was without sin. God, and God alone can keep your heart pure and your hands clean at work. Jesus understands your temptations and through the wisdom of the Holy Spirit will show you an alternative to the temptations you will face today at work.
I know, my God, that you test the heart and are pleased with integrity … Lord … keep [my] heart loyal to you. Give [me] wholehearted devotion to keep your commands, statues and decrees (1 Chr 29:17 – 19).