Friday, November 8, 2013

Unshakable

When I was studying music in middle school and high school I was taking private lessons where my teachers would have me do exercises that were not always fun and often difficult but they were intended to make me a better musician.  It worked because when it came time to audition, I got accepted into music school and was able to work toward my goal of becoming a music therapist.  Then once in music school I had to face my performance anxiety in order to continue on in my major.  Once again, it was unpleasant but it was worth reaching my goal.  That is kind of what this week felt like in my study because this week's focus has been on an unpleasant topic - temptation.  No one likes to talk about temptation and the dangers of caving in to temptation, but since the Bible gives us warnings about temptation and promises for help it is something we need to look at.  None of us are immune to temptation and I think we each have periods in life where the temptation pounds on us with great intensity.  Knowing the warnings and understanding the tools God has given us to walk away from temptation is important in keeping us on track in our walk with God.  I want to wrap up this week with one more reminder of why we don't want to cave to temptation and what God gives us to help us.  Please use the link and read Hebrews 12:25-29.

We are reminded in these verses that the reward is great when we stay the course - an unshakable kingdom.  Imagine a kingdom that cannot be shaken!  There is nothing on earth that cannot be destroyed, yet God has a kingdom that cannot even be shaken and He wants us to be a part of that.  We are told in these verses to listen to God, and to be thankful and worship Him.  There is nothing in these verses that tell us it will be easy; however, we are told that it is worth it.  Remember Hebrews 12:1 (NLT), "Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us."  Yesterday, we were reminded of Esau giving up his birthright for a meal and how that is what we are doing when we purposefully choose to walk back into sin.  We were reminded that what we are promised as God's children is so incredible and we do not want to give it up just to satisfy a human desire.  Paul wrote in Philippians 3:7 (NLT), "I once thought these things were valuable, but now I consider them worthless because of what Christ has done."  This what we looked at in Hebrews 12:2-3 and were reminded of how much Christ sacrificed for us.  That is far more valuable than giving up a sinful desire.

We also looked in James 1 where we were reminded that God doesn't tempt us; our temptations come from the desires in our heart.  Look at what Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 10:12-13 about temptation:  "So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall! No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; He will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, He will also provide a way out so that you can endure it."  What an amazing promise that God will provide a way out!  This happens when we keep our eyes on Jesus, the One who sacrificed so much for us.  Being a part of a body of believers is also the gift God has given us.

And one last reminder: the rewards are great when we resist temptation.  James 1:12 (NLT) 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."  So press on and pray for God to give you what you need in the midst of your temptation.  He has an unshakable kingdom waiting.  It is worth it!

This post is linked with Faith Filled Friday.

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