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Telling the Truth about Temptation (2 of 14)
Introduction: What are the greatest temptations that believers have the greatest struggle with today? A survey of Discipleship Journal readers ranked materialism as the number one temptation for most Christians. That was followed by pride, self-centeredness, and laziness. Anger/bitterness tied for fifth place with sexual lust. Envy, gluttony, and lying rounded out the list.
In our members there is a slumbering inclination towards desire which is both sudden and fierce. With irresistible power desire seizes mastery over the flesh. All at one a secret, smoldering fire is kindled. The flesh burns and is in flames. It makes no difference whether it is sexual desire or ambition or vanity or desire for revenge or love of fame and power or greed for money... Joy in God is in course of being extinguished in us and we seek all our joy in the creature. At this moment God is quite unreal to us, he loses all reality, and only desire for the creature is real; the only reality is the devil. Satan does not here fill us with hatred of God, but with forgetfulness of God. The lust thus aroused envelops the mind and will of man in deepest darkness. The powers of clear discrimination and of decision are taken from us. (Bonhoeffer, Creation & Fall & Temptation, pp. 116-117)
In our study today we will begin to face the problem that Bonhoeffer describes, looking for workable solutions that will enable us to walk in victory in spite of the enticements to yield.
• Temptation is a distinct reality. According to vs. 13 temptation is always present in life. It does not matter who we are and what we do temptation is a part of living in a fallen world. It applies to the pastor in the pulpit and the layman in the pew. No one is exempt from the problems and pressures that temptations present. We are all responsible for the way we respond to temptations.
• Temp ...
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