Escaping Temptation: Conclusion
This article appeared in the July 30 edition of the Cottonwood Chronicle
© 07.28.09 By D. Eric Williams
Now that you know how to cultivate a desire for God's ways and have insight concerning your relationship with the Holy Spirit you can expect to experience unbroken success in your effort to escape temptation, right? Well, not exactly. There remains a dose of reality - along with a final component in the escaping temptation tool box - that I need to give you.
As we grow stronger in Christ, it seems God increases the level of difficulty we encounter in temptation. This is not unlike the situation an athlete endures while training. Initially he lifts 200 pounds with difficulty. However, in time he finds the 200 pound barbell is no longer a hardship and so he adds additional weight. This process will continue throughout the training of the athlete. So it is in our walk with Jesus Christ.
The more we mature in the Lord the more difficult life may become. That is not to say we will have increasing difficulty escaping temptation; my meaning is the temptation and tribulation we face will be of a more intense variety. At the same time, greater maturity brings greater righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit (Romans 14:17). Thus, we will continue to overcome but the spiritual muscle required to do so increases as time goes by.
Now, there is something else God has given us to help escape temptation; our Father intends we fellowship with other Believers. Hence, let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the day approaching (Hebrews 10:24-25).
According to this text we are to perceive and understand one another and fix our minds on one another. In reality this is simply another way of saying we should esteem the other person more highly than ourselves. This is the mind of Christ we are supposed to imitate (Philippians 2:2-5). As we do this we will strengthen each other in the battle against temptation, holding one another accountable and restoring the one who has fallen into temptation (Galatians 6:1).
Moreover, fellowship with other believers is designed to stir up our love for the brethren and for God. Fellowship is also designed to fortify us in the performance of good works. This of course is the opposite of succumbing to temptation.
Thus, we see there is such a thing as godly peer pressure. Clearly, we should not do what is right merely because our fellow believers expect it of us. Nevertheless, the Bible tells us to choose our friends wisely because we become like those we are around (Proverbs 12:26, 13:20, 1 Corinthians 15:33). Therefore if we spend time with the ungodly we will find it becomes increasingly difficult to desire the things of God and to walk with the Holy Spirit. On the other hand, when we spend time with Believers - brothers and sisters who endeavor to walk as Jesus walked - we are built up, comforted and edified in Christlikeness (1 Thessalonians 5:11).
This brings us back to the beginning. Remember? The springboard for this series about escaping temptation was a reference to the Fireproof curriculum utilized Wednesday evenings at Cottonwood Community Church.
The most important fellowship a married Christian can have is with their spouse. It is your partner in the covenant relationship of marriage you should turn to first to be built up, comforted and edified in Christlikeness. If you find you do not have that kind of relationship with your mate, I invite you to contact our Church office about the next Fireproof session.