Jesus was telling His disciples about His temptation in the desert. The
tempter came to me and said,
DEVIL If you are the Son of God, tell these stones
to become bread.
JESUS It is written: “Man does not live on bread alone, but on
every word that comes from the mouth of God.”
MATTHEW Jesus, so you are teaching
us that although, food, hunger, and eating are good, the timing must be right.
We also may be tempted to satisfy a perfectly normal desire in a wrong way or at
the wrong time. If we indulge in sex before marriage or if we steal to get food,
we are trying to satisfy God-given desires in wrong ways. Remember, many of our
desires are normal and good, but God wants us to satisfy them in the right way
and at the right time. Jesus pointed out that the tempter said,
DEVIL If you are
the Son of God, throw yourself down.
MATTHEW Sometimes friends or associates
will present attractive and convincing reasons why we should try something we
know is wrong. They may even find Scripture verses that seem to support their
viewpoint. We need to study your teachings carefully, especially the broader
contexts of specific verses, so that we understand God’s principles for living
and what He wants for our life. Only if we really understand what the all of
your teachings say will we be able to recognize errors of interpretation when
people take individual statements out of context and twist them to say what they
want them to say.
JESUS You have heard that it was said, “Do not commit
adultery.” But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already
committed adultery with her in his heart.
MATTHEW So Jesus, you are saying that
the desire to have sex with someone other than your spouse is mental adultery
and thus sin. Jesus, you are emphasizing that if the act is wrong, then so is
the intention. We need to be faithful to our spouse with our body and are mind,
or we break the trust so vital to a strong marriage and between God and us.
Also, you are showing us that natural interest in the opposite sex or even
healthy sexual desire is not wrong, but the deliberate and repeated filling of
one’s mind with fantasies that would be evil if acted out is wrong.
Some think that if lustful thoughts are sin, why shouldn’t a person go ahead and
do the lustful actions too? Acting out sinful desires is harmful in several
ways: (1) it causes people to excuse sin rather than to stop sinning; (2) it
destroys marriages; (3) it is deliberate rebellion against God’s Word; (4) it
always hurts someone else in addition to the sinner. Sinful action is more
dangerous than sinful desire, and that is why desires should not be acted out.
Nevertheless, sinful desire is just as damaging to our quality of life. Left
unchecked, wrong desires will result in wrong actions and turn people away from
JESUS Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that
you have received it, and it will be yours.
PETER Our prayers are often
motivated by our own interests and desires. We like to hear that we can have
anything. But Jesus prayed with God’s interests in mind. When we pray or live,
we should want his will above ours and live our life based on that.
you say no to your human desires in order to obey your Father and glorify Him.
We are called to the same level of obedience. Whatever the Father asks of us, we
should do His will and bring glory to His name.
In our day-to-day experience it
is sometimes difficult to determine the source of our adversity. Adversity
related to our personal sin is usually easy to identify. Beyond that, though,
things begin to run together. We certainly do not want to rebuke the devil for
something God is behind. Neither do we want to just grin and bear it if there is
something we can do to put an end to our suffering. The Bible does not give us
three simple steps to aid us in determining the source of our adversity. This
used to really bother me. For a long time, when I faced adversity, I would pray
and pray for God to give me some indication as to why those kinds of prayers
rarely seemed to be answered. There was and is a much more important issue at
stake. Far more important than the source of adversity is the response to
adversity. Why? Because adversity, regardless of the source, is God’s most
effective tool for deepening your faith and commitment to Him. The areas in
which you are experiencing the most adversity are the areas in which God is at
work. When someone says, “God is not doing anything in my life,” My response is
always, “So, you don’t have any problems?” Why? Because the best way to identify
God’s involvement in your life is to consider your response to adversity,
regardless of the source. But your response to adversity determines whether or
not God is able to use it to accomplish His purpose…. As much as we all want
to know the answer to the why question, it is really not the most significant
question. The real question each of us needs to ask is, “How should I respond?”
To spend too much time trying to answer the why question is to run the risk of
missing what God wants to teach us. (From How to Handle Adversity by Charles
Stanley) Isolate a major problem you will fact today. Choose a Christian
response to it, check out your solution with a trusted friend, and put your idea
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