“Blessed is a man who perseveres under trial; for once he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him. Let no one say when he is tempted, ‘I am being tempted by God’; for God cannot be tempted by evil, and He Himself does not tempt anyone. But each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own lust. Then when lust has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and when sin is accomplished, it brings forth death. Do not be deceived, my beloved brethren. Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow. In the exercise of His will He brought us forth by the word of truth, so that we would be a kind of first fruits among His creatures.
“This you know, my beloved brethren. But everyone must be quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger; for the anger of man does not achieve the righteousness of God” ~ James
Today and tomorrow we will look at seven principles we can grasp hold of to help our endurance:
First is our love walk: love the Lord your God with all you are.
When we truly and deeply love the Lord, seeking Him first and foremost, we will stop when temptation comes, seek His heart, and walk away from what does not please Him or work His plan in us. My daughter came in with a cookie cake she made for her husband’s birthday. I said, “She is tempting us.” My missionary friend replied, “You are tempting yourself.” That struck me as odd until I reread our focal passage this morning and realized that is what this passage says. “Each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own lust.” STOPing to love God enough to let Him inspire our path protects us from giving self to one’s own lusts.
“For I know the thoughts and plans that I have for you, says the Lord, thoughts and plans for welfare and peace and not for evil, to give you hope in your final outcome. Then you will call upon Me, and you will come and pray to Me, and I will hear and heed you. Then you will seek Me, inquire for, and require Me as a vital necessity and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart. I will be found by you, says the Lord, and I will release you from captivity” ~ Jeremiah 29:11-14, AMP.
Second: recognize that evil is not God’s desire for us.
“…God cannot be tempted by evil, and He Himself does not tempt anyone….” And I would add “to evil” to end that thought, for every opportunity to turn to evil given us by the flesh, the world, and demons has God in opposition to them, reaching out to us opportunity to choose good. The choice is ours.
“The Lord your God will bring you into the land which your fathers possessed, and you shall possess it; and He will prosper you and multiply you more than your fathers. Moreover the Lord your God will circumcise your heart and the heart of your descendants, to love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, so that you may live. … this commandment which I command you today is not too difficult for you, nor is it out of reach. … the word is very near you, in your mouth and in your heart, that you may observe it. … See, I have set before you today life and prosperity, and death and adversity; in that I command you today to love the Lord your God, to walk in His ways and to keep His commandments and His statutes and His judgments, that you may live and multiply, and that the Lord your God may bless you in the land where you are entering to possess it. But if your heart turns away and you will not obey, but are drawn away and worship other gods and serve them, I declare to you today that you shall surely perish. I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that I have set before you life and death, the blessing and the curse. So choose life in order that you may live, you and your descendants, by loving the Lord your God, by obeying His voice, and by holding fast to Him; for this is your life and the length of your days, that you may live in the land which the Lord swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, to give them ~ Deuteronomy 30.
Third: good is God’s Ideal for us, not what we deem as good, but His evaluation scale.
Our thoughts are not His thoughts when we are walking in the flesh; our ways are not His ways without His Spirit leading us to His paths. Our missionary friend staying with us right now is an excellent example of someone who constantly seeks the Lord for every step of life and he will not move forward until he has assurance of God’s leading in the path ahead. I am constantly inspired by his seeking after God with the whole of his being. My own obedience and trust in God is inspired by his faith.
“…But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh. For the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another, so that you may not do the things that you please. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the Law…” ~ Galatians 5.
When we faithfully follow the lead of God’s Spirit, we will, in His power, keep the Law without being servant to it, instead, being surrendered to the God who keeps His own laws and empowers us to as well.
“Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death” ~ Romans 8.
Think on these things beloved and consider your ways before God. I will see you back here tomorrow with four through seven.