Put Your Love to the Test
Learn to see temptation as an opportunity for growth
Wednesday, August 9, 2017
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1. What made you want to write a book on temptation?
The topic of temptation was coming up in conversations so much during one particular season in my church that I felt compelled to address it through a teaching series. Through it I discovered that people who were previously discouraged and defeated were becoming strengthened and encouraged. The difference was in the approach.
The old Puritan preacher John Owen captures this difference powerfully in the book Overcoming Sin and Temptation. "Temptation" he says, "is like a knife that may either cut the meat or the throat of a man; it may be his food or his poison, his exercise or his destruction." I think it's fairly obvious to us that temptation can be deadly. What is less apparent, however, is how it can become an opportunity for growth.
2. You wrote that temptation reveals our deepest loves. Unpack that a little.
Temptation shows what you're really committed to, what you really care about, and what has captured your deepest affections. In every moment of temptation, we must look within and ask, what is it that we love most? That will determine the choices we make.
In choosing to go to the cross for us and bear our sin, Jesus refused the temptation to put himself first, revealing what he truly loved: his Father's glory and our good. As we gaze upon his love, he changes us from the inside out, turning us into the kind of people who live out of brand new identities, not founded upon our own work but on God's love. The gospel of Jesus so transforms us that our disordered loves become reordered.
3. How can we be better prepared to face temptations when they come?
First of all, talk to God about what you already know is a temptation for you. Personally, I find such freedom in just being brutally honest about what is tempting me. God, I'm super jealous of that person, and I kind of want something bad to happen to him/her … Help me to see both him/her and myself in light of your grace. Liberating, isn't it?
Second, avoid situations that will be particularly tempting for you. If you find yourself in one of these, leave—don't add fuel to the fire. Third, invite others into your life and give them permission to help you in moments of weakness. Risk being transparent with others that you might receive their support. And most all, invite God himself into every moment, knowing that he is able to strengthen and sustain you through daily temptation.
The Truth About Lies
David C. Cook © 2015
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