Friday, March 09, 2012

Temptation Makes Sin Manifest

I’m not perfect, you know.  But my YHWH is merciful.  One of the ways that He demonstrates His mercy is by revealing my sin to me.  He treats me like He did David.  Sin is seeded in my heart when I don’t trust God, when my delight is in something besides Him.  And I don’t notice.  (When I’m slipping down the sin track, I don’t often take time for self-evaluation.)  So God allows me to be tempted.  There’s the way of escape, of course.  I have access the whole time to the power to resist the temptation.  But I don’t.  I give in.  I speak an unkind, impatient word.  I spend recklessly.  I think lustfully.  Thus God shows me myself.  Repentance isn’t real when it holds back.  When my sin causes me to sorrow, God invites me to kneel before Him and be cleansed.  The cleansing often goes much deeper.  Making-up is precious because it heals up the breach that had been between us before I acted on it. 

The sermon I heard this last Sunday pointed out that in Psalm 51, David acknowledges the hidden sin of his heart which led to his ghastly outward trespass of adultery and murder.  The story in 2 Samuel 24 and 1 Chronicles 21 about David taking a census of the fighting men in Israel suggests a similar thing, that there was sin in Israel that made God angry, but it was not obvious sin.  He wanted to bring it out, so He could deal with it.  So God allowed Satan to provoke David to do this thing that offended YHWH. 

I believe that God has the power to prevent us from being tempted.  This is what Jesus taught His disciples to pray for.  However, I think that prayer is not sincerely being prayed or desired when I am keeping doubt and distance in my heart toward God.  I am not trusting Him for my daily bread; if I think of mentioning it to Him, it is a demand.  I am not begging Him for His will to be done on earth; I think my will is better.  And I am not zealous for His glory, His kingdom, and His power.  These things go together with being preserved against temptation and evil. 

Pleasing God is much more than outward things.  It is the direction of my spirit.  When I “walk in the Spirit” and “abide in Christ” and “delight myself in YHWH,” then I will successfully serve God and bear fruit.  These will be to His credit, and that will bring me joy. 

To God be all glory.

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