Is our desire to be like Jesus? Why? Why not? It’s a question of what our inner person wants.
2 Ill-gotten treasures have no lasting value, but righteousness delivers from death.
Solomon put it another way in his Song of Songs:
2:7 Do not awaken love until it so desires. or “Don’t tempt temptation.” In other words, keep a safe distance between ourselves and the place where desire blossoms.
If driving by the donut shop calls to you (it does me), then take another route. It takes forethought, but it’s worth it. If ads on tv, phone, etc. cause you to think on tempting things, then go to the trouble to record the program so that you can fast-forward through it. If it’s an app, then pay the extra $$ to get it without ads. In the long run, you will be better off and glad you did.
Each temptation acts as an opportunity for us to show our LORD how much we love Him. Do we choose Him or the temptation? What is truly at the core of our heart? A desire to please ourselves or Him? HE was willing to take that chance of allowing us to choose. It’s the “made in His image” part of us. It’s also why He went to the trouble and pain to make it so He could live in us WHILE we are fighting the fight. What a GREAT GOD!!! Now, He prompts us, strengthens us, soothes us, and loves on us even when we fail–especially when we fail! That kind of love and relationship is what gives us the umph to get up and try again–and again until we master it.
Paul understood the process. Watch the progression:
9 I was once alive outside the framework of Torah. But when the commandment [thou shalt not covet] really encountered me [when I understood what it was], sin sprang to life [I coveted everything], 10 and I died. The commandment that was intended to bring me life was found to be bringing me death! 11 For sin, seizing the opportunity afforded by the commandment, deceived me; and through the commandment, sin killed me. Romans 7:9-11
13 No temptation has seized you beyond what people normally experience, and God can be trusted not to allow you to be tempted beyond what you can bear. On the contrary, along with the temptation he will also provide the way out, so that you will be able to endure. 1 Corinthians 10:13
24 What a miserable creature I am! Who will rescue me from this body bound for death? 25 Thanks be to God [, he will]! — through Yeshua the Messiah, our Lord! To sum up: with my mind, I am a slave of God’s Torah [Law]; but with my old nature, I am a slave of sin’s “Torah.” Romans 7:24-25 This was how we were before Christ entered our hearts.
But now, “NO CONDEMNATION for those who are in Christ Jesus”. Romans 8:1. We now have our minds set on what the Spirit desires (v5). We are pleasing to God because WE CHOSE CHRIST. From now on, it’s simply a matter of learning to be like Him as we walk in step with the Spirit (Gal. 5:25).
The next time that temptation knocks on our door, we know what to do: Turn to Christ and tell Him that we want to be like Him, therefore, we flee temptation, we resist the devil, we resolutely “set our face” to die to ourselves (just like He did when going to Jerusalem and Calvary), and PRAISE Him for His wonderful grace.
Praise changes what we think about,
which changes the way we feel.
Paul wrote Romans while in Corinth, a wicked, wicked city. Temptations abounded. In the midst of his letter, we find this nugget:
32 For God has bound everyone over to disobedience [allowed us to become enslaved] so that he may have mercy on them all [through salvation in Jesus Christ].
How does Paul respond to such a revelation? With PRAISE!
33 Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God! (Psalm 92:5)
How unsearchable his judgments,
and his paths beyond tracing out! (Job 11:7)
34 “Who has known the mind of the Lord?
Or who has been his counselor?” (Isaiah 40:13-14)
35 “Who has ever given to God,
that God should repay them?” (Job 35:7)
36 For from him and through him and for him are all things. (1 Cor. 8:6, Eph. 4:6, Col. 1:16, Heb. 1:2-3)
To him be the glory forever! Amen.
May we turn to Him in praise anytime we feel the tug to look away from Him and to things that tempt us. SING, PEOPLE, SING!
Through him then let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that acknowledge his name. Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God. Hebrews 13:15-16
Abba, thank You for giving me the privilege to lead in praise and worship. When I am engaged with You, I know I am right with You. Please help me to transition praise into every area of my life, especially the parts where I struggle. You are wonderful, LORD. I bless you and praise You. You are the KING of the universe and the LORD of my life. Amen.