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Temptations (16 of 38)
The book of James was a letter written 19 ½ centuries ago. It was from the heart of a pastor who knew his flock well. Pastor James knew the weaknesses we all face and explained how to turn them into opportunities for faithfulness. With the breath of God breathing through him, he was supernaturally inspired to explain God's plan:
God wants us to endure trials leading to triumphs -
Satan wants them to be temptations leading to sin.
Throughout the history of the church much has been written and spoken about overcoming temptation. A fifth-century Christian wrote,
Fly from all occasions of temptation, and if still tempted, fly further still. If there is no escape possible, then have done with running away and show a bold face and take the two-edged sword of the Spirit. Some temptations must be taken by the throat as David killed the lion; others must be stifled as David hugged the bear to death. Some you had better keep to yourselves and not give air. Shut them up as a scorpion in a bottle. Scorpions in such confinement die soon, but if allowed out for a crawl and then put back into the bottle and corked down, they will live a long while and give you trouble. Keep the cork on your temptations, and they will die of themselves.
Others have tried to overcome temptation by, in effect, denying it. Jovinian, a heretical fifth-century monk, taught that after a person was baptized he was forever free of the devil's power and from temptation. Jerome, his most outstanding opponent, wisely commented that baptism does not drown the devil.
A German pastor who was hung for his faith in Christ in 1945 wrote these words in a sermon on temptation: "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 once a secret, smoldering fire is kindled. The flesh burns and is in flames. It makes no difference whether it is se ...
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