I know some of you have seen this video. I showed it in church years ago. But I always get a kick out of watching it. It’s called The Marshmallow Test. And if you’ve never seen it, take 3:27 and watch it now.
What tempts you? I’m sure most of you have made it out of the marshmallow phase. But no one has made it past the temptation phase. That’s just part of being human
John Owen was one of the greatest theologians of all time. In 1658, he wrote a treatise on the subject of temptation. There are five principles that come from what he wrote:
There is a difference between being tempted and entering into temptation. It is not a sin to be tempted, but it is a sin to enter into temptation. When temptation is knocking at our door, we are still at liberty. But when any temptation enters in and begins to parley with the heart, or reason with the mind, or entice and allure our affections, whether it is for a short time or a long time, or whether we are aware of it or not, we have entered into temptation. Whether a temptation comes from the world, the flesh or directly from the devil, the enticement to sin, has as its goal, the dishonor of God and the destruction of our souls. Most of us ignore temptation until it is upon us. Once we realize we’re facing a temptation, that’s when most of us scramble to do spiritual battle. Instead, Owen says, before temptation comes along, we should be doing what Jesus tells us to do. We should be watching and praying that we would enter not into temptation (Mark 14:38). Owen says “It is our great duty and concernment to use all diligence, watchfulness, and care, that we enter not into temptation.” How diligently do we take watch over our souls and prepare ourselves for the temptations we will face each day? There are special seasons in which we are more susceptible to temptation than at other times. Some of you are familiar with the acronym H.A.L.T. We are often more prone to temptation and sin when we are hungry, angry, lonely or tired. Owen suggests four other times when our souls may be subtly predisposed to temptation:
- In seasons of unusual prosperity
- In a season that he calls “a slumber of grace” – a season when we are neglecting spiritual disciplines and communion with God
- In a season of great spiritual enjoyment
- In a season of self-confidence
We would be wise to be alert to the seasons in our own lives when we have been prone to wander or prone to stumble, and to learn to be extra careful in those seasons. Finally, Owen addresses how we ought to respond when we find ourselves having entered into a temptation: Cry out to God for help Draw near to Christ Call to mind all the promises of assistance or deliverance in scripture Review what happened and take action to keep it from happening again.
What was the last significant temptation you faced? A temptation to be proud? To become angry? To gossip? To ignore God’s word? To take the Lord’s name in vain? To follow an appetite or a desire instead of following God’s word?
We need to take temptation seriously. We need to have a wartime footing when it comes to doing spiritual battle against the sins that so easily entangle us (Hebrews 12:1). What God said to Cain in Genesis 4 applies to every one of us today. “Sin is crouching at the door. Its desire is contrary to you, but you must rule over it” (Genesis 4:7).
At the same time, we need to remember that when we stumble, when we fall, there is grace. As we’ll see this week when we look again at John 13, our feet will get dirty in this life. Jesus is there for us, and He graciously washes us again. When we confess our sin, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sin and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness (John 1:9).
That’s good news.
Because some of you have asked, here’s the list I shared on Sunday about how we can cultivate a heart of humility. The list comes from the Billy Graham’s website. You’ll find the full version here.
|Routinely confess your sin to God|
|Acknowledge your sin to others|
|Take being wronged patiently|
|Actively submit to those in authority, even when you disagree (Disclaim – not if you are being told to sin, and not if someone is abusing or harming you. Receive correction and feedback from others graciously|
|Routinely confess your sin to God|
|Purposely associate with people of lower state than you|
|Look for opportunities to actively serve others|
|Be quick to forgive|
|Cultivate a grateful heart|
|Purpose to speak well of others|
|Treat pride as a condition that always necessitates embracing the cross|
A good list to review regularly and to think about what you might need to focus on right now.
Brave By Faith | MEN’S STUDY
- Men’s Morning Study | 1st and 3rd Friday
|I think most of you know that we’ve had a group of guys meeting this summer going through Robert Wolgemuth’s book Gun Lap and talking about how we make the most of this season of our lives – the gun lap years.|
This fall, the Friday morning meetings will continue for all men who are interested. The meetings will happen on the first and third Fridays of each month, starting next week on October 1.
If you weren’t part of the Gun Lap study, but you’re free on Friday mornings and you’d like to jump into the group, now is the perfect time! The guys will be going through Alistair Begg’s new book Brave By Faith, talking about what we can learn from the first seven chapters of Daniel about how to live out our faith in a post-Christian culture.
If you have any questions about the Friday morning group, contact Jim McMurry at firstname.lastname@example.org.
GRANDPARENTING SUMMIT | Oct 21 & 22
Grandparents – are you signed up yet for the Grandparenting Summit on October 21 and 22? Have you invited anyone to come with you?
Non-grandparents – have you forwarded information about the Grandparenting Summit to any grandparents you know?
Here’s the link to the Summit. If you haven’t already, log on and sign up now.
|What exactly was Jesus modeling and communicating to His disciples when he bent down and washed their feet at the Last Supper? Tim Keller says that Jesus’ message was this: “The way up is down. The way to power is to serve. The way to get happiness is not to seek your own happiness but the happiness of somebody else.” He calls it “an inside-out understanding of greatness.”|
We’ll return to John 13 and continue looking at headlines from the Last Supper on Sunday.
See you in church.
Soli Deo Gloria!