Monday, January 2, 2012

Going Deeper - week of January 1

In Genesis 4, the LORD says to Cain, "... sin is crouching at your door, it desires to have you but you must master it."  The question that comes to my mind here is has anything changed?  Is sin still crouching at the door of believers in Jesus?  The answer is "yes", and we too must master it, but how?  Read through James 1:1-27.  In this chapter James highlights the cause of temptation, and the way to master it.  So where does temptation come from?  Let's read what James says, 13 When tempted, no one should say, “God is tempting me.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; 14 but each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed. 15 Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.  Temptation does not come from God.  Temptation comes from within each of us.  We are tempted by our own evil desire, which drags us away and entices us to sin.  So sin "crouches" at our doors in the form of temptation.  Temptation is not sin, but it is the first step toward sin.  So temptation is what we must seek to master, but how?  The answer is found in the second part of the same chapter.  "Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. 23 Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror 24 and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. 25 But the man who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard, but doing it—he will be blessed in what he does."  The key to mastering temptation and sin is found in "doing" what God's word says.  This is easier said than done.  But one thing God's word tells us to do is "look intently into the perfect law that gives freedom."  What is "the perfect law that gives freedom?"  The perfect law is God's word, and it comes from God Himself.  Earlier James had said, "If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him."  So the key is not to do this on our own, but to "ask God".  We must ask God to help us "do" what His word says so that we can learn to master temptation and even sin in His power and His strength.  If you have thoughts on this, please feel free to share them, and may our LORD give you His blessing and His peace in this new year! 

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