The Bible is full of tales of men and women who sinned and fell short of the glory of God in moments of weakness. These are true stories about real people living in our real world. As far back as Adam and Eve these people are written about to reveal their weaknesses and sinfulness to us. They are meant to be an encouragement, an example, and a warning for us to learn from. (1Cor 10:11). But I think mostly they are told to show us that God can take even the sinner and use him for His good pleasure.
These stories are an encouragement in the sense that they are shown as normal people with normal weaknesses and yet God used many of them in mighty ways. We are to understand that out of the worst God can create the best. Our heavenly Father desires that we learn from the mistakes of others. To learn not to be like them in their failures and to realize that a repentant heart is never turned away.
King David had so much time on his hands that he found himself lusting after Bathsheba and plotting the death of her husband so that he could take her as his wife and cover his adultery with her. Elijah became so tired and weary that he hoped to die, seeing death as more preferable than his exhausted life (1Kings 19:4). Vanity and pride may have caused Eve to listen to the serpent (Gen 3:6). And lust drove Solomon to have many wives and concubines, even unbelieving ones (1Kings 11:1-3). To these add in a sense of spiritual or emotional neediness and emptiness and we have six situations that are fertile grounds for temptation. In some biblical examples the enticement to sin was abated and resisted; in others, the characters gave in to sin. We can all identify with both examples here.
While there are many kinds of temptation the progression into sin usually follows a particular pattern. First, we look. Our eyes are cast on something they shouldn't be on and desire begins to grow. It begins innocently enough: Oh I know adultery is sin but I'm not committing adultery, I'm just looking at Bathsheba. She's so beautiful, you know." But then the mind takes over and desire ... lust ... begins to grow in our hearts. We are looking longingly on something to the point that we just have to have it, no longer is mere desiring enough. Our will kicks in and we, like David and Solomon, let the will have its way. That is the progression of sin: the eyes see, the mind wants, the will achieves. David looked on Uriah's wife and then he asked about her and then he took her, scheming to have Uriah killed to get him out of the way.
Achan, another Israelite who contributed to the conquest at Jericho, looked on all that material wealth (his eyes saw), and he coveted all that he saw (his mind desired), and he took what he wanted (his will acted) (Joshua 7:20-21).
No matter what it is that is creating our vulnerability, we are each responsible for our own actions. David was responsible for adultery with Bathsheba. Elijah was responsible for letting himself get too tired. Eve was responsible for acknowledging the serpent. And Achan was responsible for his thefts from God. In situations like these, where we have not yet sinned but are on the road heading that way, remember what Charles F. Stanley says: "Remember the word H.A.L.T. Don't let yourself become too Hungry, Angry, Lonely, or Tired. Most importantly, fix your attention on the Lord, draw strength from Him, and experience victory over temptations." People don't just suddenly fall into sin. They work their way through each step of the progression. But we can be aware of how easily temptation progresses and stop ourselves before we carry out the sin we are thinking about. But I think more than anything else God wants us to know that He forgives a repentant heart. We are sinners by nature and because of that we will fall victim to sin. But we have been born again with new natures and the Holy Spirit lives within us (2Cor 5:17; Gal 2:20). This empowers us to resist temptation and lead a life pleasing to the Lord. He has not left us alone to drift into sin but has promised to be our strength during harrowing and difficult times.
Another beautiful Fall day here. I got all the leaves raked up again yesterday afternoon and got them carried out to the burn pile in the vacant lot. We'll probably have one, maybe two more rakings and then be set for the year. I love having the shade from that big tree in the summertime but it is a task-maker in the Fall.
We had my granddaughter's 19th birthday party yesterday and it was very pleasant. There weren't a lot of people there, just parents and grandparents so it wasn't too awfully loud, just the normal noise of a pizza parlor. Had a couple young teens (girls) come over and beg a piece of pizza. We had had all we wanted by that time so we were glad to give them a piece. But it was a first for me, having them beg. They did it in a very cute way. Just the looks on their faces.
Skatemama has lots of new stuff on her blogsite if you want to go over and check it out at: http://skatemama.blogspot.com and enjoy the memories and photos of their vacation. She has such an interesting and fun blog, totally unline mine.
I have PraiseMoves again tonight at 6:00. It'll be dark by then. (Whine, whine!) I don't like it getting dark so early. I like those long, lazy evenings of summer. I got one of my scarves finished up last night. Now I have to either finish up the other scarf I've got started or make my other slipper. I was really disappointed at how hard the slipper was to make. I had planned on making everyone a pair of slippers for Christmas but I don't know if I'm up to that. They aren't difficult to make stitch-wise, but it's just hard to work with the yarn. It has no give to it at all and I'm used to the yarn for the scarves which has lots of play. So I may end up taking all that yarn back but then I don't know what else to knit. I can't just knit scarves. I mean, I have scarves coming out my ears. And I gave my granddaughter 7 of them and I still have an entire dresser drawer full of scarves. Every color imaginable! But they are fun and easy to make. I didn't even think but I could have given my other granddaughter some of these scarves for her birthday. I'll give her a bunch if she wants them next time I see her which will probably be next Sunday for church. I'm going to talk to her about baptism Sunday too if I don't forget. I noticed she took communion last Sunday so she needs to take the next step and get baptized if she feels she's ready for that. In the New Testament, people believed and were then baptized immediately. That's the first thing they did! For some unknown reason, today we seem to take things a bit slower as if there's no rush. And I guess there really isn't any but I just feel we should be following the examples left in the New Testament. I think we should get baptized right away just like they did.
Well, I've still got my chores to do. I slept in (until 9:00) this morning and got up before Michael and then I didn't get the bed made because I was busy doing other things. Then I typed my blog and now I need to get those things done. I need to vacuum again today. It seems like I have to do that about every other day. If I don't it really starts looking bad. Anyway, this is going to be it for today so until tomorrow when we'll look a little more into temptation ...