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Saturday, September 19, 2015

Saturday Sermonette - The Purpose of Evil

No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it. 1 Corinthians 10:13 NKJV

One of the daily readings I do is from Oswald Chambers' My Utmost for His Highest. I don't always find myself in accord with what he writes, but this particular sentence caught my attention (it's not an exact quote, but the gist of what drew me): Satan doesn't temp us in order to make us do wrong; he temps with the desire to make us lose that close contact with God. That's what happened to me.

Let me first say that temptation is NOT sin. Falling into the temptation (carrying out that particular desire) is sin.

I had a strong relationship with God, full of love and forgiveness and conversations. Then a guy gave me "that look," and it excited me. I wanted more, so I began dressing, talking, and acting in ways that attracted "that look." And more. I fell into the temptation--and it pulled me away from that close communion I had with the Lord.

How could I have done that? I fought to justify what I was doing, and the harder I fought to self-justify, the further away from God I fled. I insisted I was forgiven, and that was right--He forgave me a million times at least! But it became more important to impress guys than to impress God. Satan had succeeded, at least for a time.

God is so faithful, even when I was not. I invite you to read the first two chapters of book of Hosea in the Old Testament. It's not that long. God tells Hosea to marry a prostitute, Gomer, and she's faithful for a while, but then she goes back to her her whoring ways. Hosea is devastated, but he goes back after her. He doesn't give up, and eventually she comes back because she realizes what she had with Hosea is better than what she has in the world.

The book is written principally about the relationship between God and Israel, but it really applies so much to us individually--or at least it did to me.

Temptation is not always about sex. There are other things that draw us away from that close relationship with God--money, a lavish lifestyle, power, alcohol, drugs, to name just a few. A person cannot serve two masters. One of them will win, the other lose.

Lord, forgive me for behaving like Gomer and chasing after things that pull me away from You. Thank You for believing in me when there was no evidence that You should. I want to keep that communion with You. Don't let sin keep me in its grasp, I pray. In Jesus's Name, now and forever, Amen.