The Tumble and Treatment of Temptation

“Temptations to sin are sure to come, but woe to the one through whom they come!  It would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck and he were cast into the sea than that he should cause one of these little ones to sin. Pay attention to yourselves! If your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him,  and if he sins against you seven times in the day, and turns to you seven times, saying, ‘I repent,’ you must forgive him.” Luke 17:1-5

“You shall not hate your brother in your heart, but you shall reason frankly with your neighbor, lest you incur sin because of him.  You shall not take vengeance or bear a grudge against the sons of your own people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am the Lord.” Leviticus 19:17-18

“’If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother.16 But if he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, that every charge may be established by the evidence of two or three witnesses’… ‘Should not you have had mercy on your fellow servant, as I had mercy on you?’” Matthew 18:15-16,33

“Let no one say when he is tempted, ‘I am being tempted by God,’ for God cannot be tempted with evil, and he himself tempts no one.  But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire.  Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death… Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him.” James 1:13-15,12

Temptation is a nasty pest, one whose tangle and tumble we will not escape in this life. The Lord our High Priest has given numerous warnings with attending helps to handle and escape the sinister suck of sin and its stain on the church. He calls us to honest humility, personal vigilance, compassionate confrontation, and grace-filled redemption. (Hebrews 4:14-16; James 4:6-8; 2 Corinthians 5:17)

Since habitual personal sin desensitizes us to temptation’s deceitful allure (and exacerbates our sensitivity to others’ failings), it is vital we deal with it ruthlessly. Genuine repentance that submits to Christ’s mercy and love frees us to combat the enemy’s wiles and to come alongside others in the battle with His love. Our goal should always be to exalt God and His grace in personal and corporate holiness, borne of the gospel’s application to every ugly part. (Matthew 7:5)

In what situations are we most tempted, and what will we do to avoid them? How can we practically help a weak brother or sister not to fall, as well as those who have fallen by extending gospel forgiveness and a way forward? Where and with whom will we apply grace this day, in word and deed, to reinforce, redeem, restore, and reconcile? (Romans 15:1-2; Ephesians 4:32; 1 Thessalonians 5:14)

Omniscient, merciful Lord, give me a keen spirit to recognize and the courage to renounce every temptation. Make me an agent of repentance and restoration for the good of Your people and magnification of Your grace.

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