Tag Archive: temptation

i know it’s early days, but already this is proving to be an exciting exercise for me and one of the benefits of working through the psalms is discovering ‘new’ ones… i am not saying someone has been sneaking into my bible and adding in new psalms when i haven’t been looking but often when we read the bible we stick to the passages we know well and like and avoid the harder ones or even the books with weird sounding names we have to use the index to find…

so with psalms it is often 23 or my favourite 34 or 121 and 139. it is great to go through one by one because i will get to those psalms in turn, but i will also discover some classic gems along the way…

and on to psalm 7:

this feels similar to the point i made about psalm 5 where David is saying things i’m not convinced his life can back up… certainly things i’d be a lot more nervous to utter… in verses 8-9 he says, ‘Let the LORD judge the peoples. Vindicate me, LORD, according to my righteousness, according to my integrity, O Most High. Bring to an end the violence of the wicked and make the righteous secure — You, the righteous God who probes minds and hearts.’

So David is asking God to judge him according to “my righteousness” and “my integrity” – again, this must have supposedly been written before the whole Bathsheba incident when David would not have been clamoring for those to be the measure points. I know, for my life, as much as i strive for personal righteousness and integrity, that i often fall short. i miss the mark and get it wrong a lot of the time which negates my righteousness. and i have really strong feelings on things like pirating movies/music and telling ‘little white lies’ but am not as strict when it comes to breaking the speed limit or some other things like that so personal hypocrisy in what i stand for and how i live it out often does surface which takes out my integrity from time to time.

so i am not convinced i would want to appeal to God to judge me on the basis of those two things. reminds me of the definitions of mercy and justice: justice is getting what we deserve and mercy is not getting what we deserve and i generally am super amped to lean towards mercy [especially when it comes to parking tickets and speeding fines if i deserve either of those]

i think the last phrase of that verse sums it up – ‘the righteous God who probes minds and hearts’ – God knows. And knowing that God knows [as David gets a lot more familiar with after the Bathsheba incident] i am a lot quicker to meet Him in a place more reliant on His righteousness and integrity than my own.

then the second thing that stood out for me was the language used towards the end which is just some great and explicit imagery that conveys well what he is speaking about – ‘Whoever is pregnant with evil conceives trouble and gives birth to disillusionment. Whoever digs a hole and scoops it out falls into the pit they have made. The trouble they cause recoils on them; their violence comes down on their own heads.’ [16-18]

Reminiscent once more of the depiction of sin in James 1 – ‘When tempted, no one should say, “God is tempting me.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; 14 but each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.’ [13-15]

And the message that is loud and clear is don’t give time to sin. The imagery of conception and birth refers to a pretty substantial time length – 9 months – and so the idea is that the person involved has entertained and nurtured temptation/sin until such time that it has become a destructive force. We need to kill sin at the root and deal with it as quickly as possible when it emerges or the effect it has on us will be devastating. Keep a short account with God – don’t go to sleep at nite with unconfessed sin lingering, because that way it is too easy for it to grow and give birth…

[To continue on to Psalm8, click here]

[To return to the start of this series on Psalms as well as some other Bible things, click here]

continuing my journey of reading through the psalms at a leisurely pace, making some observations as i go along, inviting you to jump in to the comments section with a verse or idea or question or wrestle that possibly jumped out at you as you were reading this particular psalm:

which is Psalm 4

vs 4 jumped out at me in this one: ‘in your anger, do not sin; when you are on your beds, search your hearts and be silent.’

this is a tricky one because generally we think of anger as the bad guy, but there are places in the bible where we see righteous anger in force [the story that comes to mind is Jesus clearing out the money lenders in the temple [Matthew 21.12] and as it explains here, don’t let anger drive you to sin… similar to temptation which is not sin, but unless we deal with it defiantly when it rears its ugly head, it quickly leads to sin, which James illustrates graphically:

‘When tempted, no one should say, “God is tempting me.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; but each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.’ [James 1.13-15]

in the same way anger can give birth to rage and violence and bitterness and resentment if it is allowed to conceive… we need to learn to respond well to things that make us angry.

and they should – rape, sexual abuse, racism, christians not living out Christ-following lives, unforgiveness – these things should all make us angry… but in our anger we must never sin – does the anger drive us to action, positive action and radical acts of justice, grace and mercy? it should when we invite the Holy Spirit to take control and direct us.

the image of the second part of the verse – ‘when you are on your beds, search your hearts and be silent’ – i like that because it gives me the idea of someone who is angry, but struggling to not sin as a result and so the advice is hey dude, go chill, take a time out, regroup, still your heart, create some silence and listen to the voice of God over the voice of how the world is screaming you should respond [revenge, mob justice, retaliation…] and then later, when that has been achieved go out and act wisely but still driven by the same passion that was driving your anger.

another danger can be when people add the word ‘righteous’ to plain sin-enducing anger to justify why their brand of un-love is acceptable and that might be another great opportunity for some lying on the bed and stilling of the heart…

there is a lot more in this psalm, but that’s one thort that inspires me and i’m very interested to hear what stood out to you?

also if you know of anyone else who might be interested in this walk through the psalms, please pass on the link – the more people jumping in and commenting and sharing their thoughts and observations the better, don’t just be a sponge, share with us what you got…

[To continue on to Psalm 5, click here]

[To return to the start of this series on Psalms or some other Bible things, click here]

and the series rages on, and my friends continue to write some incredible marriage-growing things and so i continue to post them… this post from someone who has been a dear friend of mine from long, long ago and is now happily married to one of my old youth okes who is not called PG any more cos he got all grown up… so let’s hear it from Bev Le Roux Brodrick:

Hi Brett

The marriage series is great. Thanks. Copied a few comments for Pete and I to keep on our minds. Simple things like saying thank you and living graciously and in consideration of those you live with. Such great tips.

What makes a strong marriage…

I really think that is more a question for those who have endured so much more than us. Those who have been married for 30-40 years. So, I do not feel ‘qualified’ in any way to give advice. I think we are still in the easy stage…

I do believe that all good things are found in the shelter of the most high God. I do believe that when we are submitted to our Heavenly Father that he brings unity, that he shepherds us to streams of living water, to a place much more beautiful that what we can imagine or what the media portrays.

I believe that as I trust in God and change my life in obedience to Him that He pulls the pieces together.

I think that the world has created expectations in us that need to be smashed. Where do our expectations come from? and why are we imposing them on our spouse? As we meditate on the Word of God that brings life – He breathes life into all that we are and brings a pleasure and contentment into our lives and marriage like nothing else can.

In my short marriage of about 6 yrs now and with my ever growing relationship with God I feel the Lord has been pressing me to love even when it doesn’t suit me. To love even when it is inconvenient. To love over and above my natural ability – through the power of the Holy Spirit. To love, without condition. It is easy to love when it is comfortable and when things are in the ‘right’ place. Not so easy when you feel betrayed or hurt. It is great to want to love others in community and our brothers and sisters in Christ, but if it doesn’t start at home it is unlikely going to happen anywhere else. A life that is totally poured out to God, to your spouse, your family, your community, not wanting in return, but individuals who are content to live a life of giving.

I believe that as we grow in the Lord as individuals and as we deepen our relationship with Him and really start to rely on Him for all our needs we release our spouse from having to fulfil that impossible task. He/she is not there to make us feel secure, he/she is not there to give us value, or to fulfill the deepest longings in our lives. That is God’s role. Don’t expect your husband or wife to fulfill you. He/she is a gift from God to journey along side you, in partnership for His Glory! Even nights when I go so sleep alone and Pete is working… it is God who wraps his arms around me. It is God who pulls my soul towards heaven and I rest in the ultimate lover of my soul – under His wing.

When the circumstances of life hit we often blame those closest to us. Sometimes a root of bitterness takes shape in our heart, as we find out that life is hard. Life is hard work. Life is maybe not quite what we thought it would be. When kids come it sinks into a whole new reality… not only is it hard work, you are now sleep deprived on top of it, and have children dependant on you 24/7, draining your energy, draining your life and impacting your marriage. You sorta start to switch into a role of ‘survival’. You start to play tag and spend less time with each other and bad habits kick in. You start to treat your loved one less special than a friend. Sad but true.

We can do NOTHING in our own strength. We have NOTHING to give. We ARE nothing. God sustains me. He brought me and Pete together and He has sustained us through our trials and temptations. If I had to single out one practical thing that has helped me so far, it would have to be prayer. Prayer in deepening my own relationship with God. Prayer for my husband, prayer for our relationship, prayer for our intimacy, prayer for our greater purpose together, prayer for things yet to come… prayer for unity, prayer for truth to be revealed. Prayer for the courage to change. Prayer to make me less selfish and prayer to grow me on to spiritual maturity. Prayer to change ME. Prayer against all evil, the power of darkness that seeks to destroy. I love nothing more than praying with my husband. God and Pete. My two BESTS!

Sending much love to you and your beautiful Val. I enjoy seeing where God has lead you and what you are involved in and totally LOVE having brothers and sisters in Christ, all over the world.

[married for 6 years]

to be directed to the beginning of this marriage-enhancing series click here…

…and the discussion continues seeking out a Christ-following version of dating and relationships that is more effective than the model we have simply been borrowing from the world – beginning with a renewing of your mind and refusing to conform any longer to the pattern of this world.

it has been incredible seeing the dialogue happening on the “Stand Up!” notes the last day so please keep it up – i suspect this one will bring a lot of comment as well and it is most welcome.

Somebody asked the question – what if we have already crossed the line physically with someone or some ones?

There are two very important points to hear on this one:

[1] God is full of grace and love and that is freely available when we take responsibility for our past and when we confess our sins and invite Him to bring freedom, restore purity and grant forgiveness. “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death.” [Romans 8.1] So if you are living with condemnation and guilt, then something is definitely wrong. Go to God. Deal with it with Him, and move on.

[2] Having said that, the church often gets it wrong in terms of our definition and understanding of God’s grace and Love because at no time does it cancel out His justice. Love and justice always work together along side each other. But in the name of niceness (rather than Truth) the church has created this concept of “Second Virginity” which is the idea that when you confess your sins you can become a virgin again. It is a nice concept, but it is just not true. Once you have had sex with someone, your virginity is gone and that is a consequence you need to live with. God forgives and restores and will deal with all condemnation and guilt, but you cannot be made a virgin again.

There is a big difference between sin and consequences. I am reminded of one of my friends who slept with her boyfriend and got pregnant. Does God forgive her sin if she asks Him to? Absolutely. Did God remove the consequences? Not at all. She has a son – who is an amazing kid, we’re not disputing that [Romans 8.31 reminds us that God can bring good out of all situations] – but at that moment all her dreams and ideas for her life and situation changed completely. She can be forgiven the sin, but some of the consequences stick around.

So if you have crossed the line physically and messed up there is hope for you in terms of forgiveness and grace and being able to let go of condemnation and guilt. If it is your current dating person then it is important that you speak about it directly and put things in place that will protect you from the temptation to mess up there again. Having accountability with an outside Jesus-following person who is of the same gender as you is a highly recommendable thing.

And i have to say it again but this topic of dating better requires an absolute renewing of our minds. We need to think differently. We need to enter into dating relationships with an awareness of the dangers of sexual attraction/temptation and have some principles in place to protect us from going there.

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