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UCG-A Bible Insights Thursday, June 10 2021

I can resist everything but temptation (and chocolate)

If we are honest with ourselves we can usually see the consequences of our actions will result in a kickback that will hurt us. There might be some short-term pleasure, but it will be followed by long term pain and regret.

Maybe you have a problem with your temper, or you are battling alcoholism or trying to quit smoking. In John 8:32 we read Jesus' famous words, "And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." But how can the truth set us free from bad habits and addictions?

When we fall victim to sin we do so because we believe certain lies accompanying those sins. We need to recognize those lies and counter them with the truth. Let's look at two of the most common lies as examples of countering the lies of sin with the truth.

Lie 1: Sin Is Good For Me

William Backus and Marie Chapian in their book "Why Do I Do Want I Don't Want To Do?" write: “Sin results from the misbelief that something contrary to the Word of God is good for you...So you steal that record from the record department, you lie on your timesheet at work or cheat on your income tax because you believe 'it's good for me'... Jesus met every temptation by challenging its accompanying lie. He said in effect, 'That isn't true, Satan. The truth is, thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God.' We can take the first step toward defeating temptation by refusing to put ourselves into a place where we listen to Satan's lies" (p.29-31).

We need to call on God's help to see through the lie that wrong actions are good for us and become more convicted that only His way is right when we are sorely tempted.

Lie 2: I Can't Help Myself

This lie involves the belief that the temptation is too great to resist. It is often accompanied by another lie if you are battling an addictive behaviour– "Just one more time and then I'll repent good and proper."

The Apostle Paul writes the following in I Corinthians 10:13 assuring us of God’s help in our struggle: "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."

We need to truly believe God won't give us more than we can bear. The author confides at one point in his life, when battling an addiction, he was directed to a passage in a book by Alan Loy McGuiness entitled "The Friendship Factor," which detailed two examples from the world of sport that inspired him not to give up.

Babe Ruth is remembered for his 714 home runs. Very few recall he struck out 1,330 times, a record unapproached by any other player in the history of the game. When asked about it Babe Ruth shared his secret was to keep trying and not give up remarking: 'I just keep going up there and swinging at them.' (p.187).

The second example is one the author witnessed personally. His home state of Queensland entered the national cricket competition called the Sheffield Shield in 1926, but it took Queensland 69 long years to win its first Sheffield Shield in 1994/95. Since that first win Queensland has won many more times, because they refused to give up and kept striving to win.

The lesson the author took from this is that it can take just one good victory to completely transform any situation, once a person's confidence is recharged by a successful outcome.

To be set free from sin we need to find out what lies we are telling ourselves and counter those with the truth of God's word. The plain truth is that sin is not good for us and we can overcome sin through Jesus Christ who strengthens us.