12 So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall! 13 No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.
Two things are certain. You will bear / endure trials and you will overcome them. Its easy for us to grasp the first part of that statement. We will endure trials, but fare to often we feel that we will never be overcomers. The key to becoming overcomers is to learn that overcoming temptation is all about positioning.
Martin Luther once said, ”Don’t sit near the fire if your head is made of butter.” The closer we get to the fire, the hotter the fire feels to us. Even though the fire remains at the same temperature, the heat affects us according to how close we are to it. The closer we are to the temptation, the more it influences us.
We must position ourselves to defend against the temptation and receive God’s blessings. Just like an offensive basketball player positions himself to defend against the opposing team waiting to receive the offensive rebound.
1. DEFEND – against temptation by positioning yourself in the grips of grace.
2. RECEIVE GOD’S BLESSING – by being dominated by God, having a heart that beats for him, truly believing that Christ is enough, and so many other things discussed in 1 Corinthians.
23 “I have the right to do anything,” you say—but not everything is beneficial. “I have the right to do anything”—but not everything is constructive. 24 No one should seek their own good, but the good of others.
We must overcome the tendency to focus on our rights and freedoms, and focus on helping others embrace their full potential in Christ Jesus. No matter how right we are or free we are to do and act a certain way, when we focus on our rights and freedoms we will eventually find ourselves in a miserable place.
From an unknown source comes an article titled, ”How To Be Miserable.” It says, ”Think about yourself. Talk about yourself. Use ”I” as often as possible. Mirror yourself continually in the opinion of others. Listen greedily to what people say about you. Expect to be appreciated. Be suspicious. Be jealous and envious. Be sensitive to slights. Never forgive a criticism. Trust nobody but yourself. Insist on consideration and respect. Demand agreement with your own views on everything. Sulk if people are not grateful to you for favors shown them. Never forget a service you have rendered. Shirk your duties if you can. Do as little as possible for others.”
(Daily Walk, June 29, 1993.)
We may never get this bad but we are only a few selfish acts away from this type of ugliness. We must look to serve the interests of others and receive our reward from God. Just like an offensive basketball player would look to through the ball to a teammate that is positioned to score without expecting anything in return. The coach (God) will reward us.
1. SERVE THE INTERESTS OF OTHERS – it will position you to receive from God.
2. BE REWARDED BY GOD ALONE – God takes care of those that take care of others. Serve with no expectation of affirmation. God will affirm, encourage, equip, and bless you as he sees fit.
31 So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God. 32 Do not cause anyone to stumble, whether Jews, Greeks or the church of God— 33 even as I try to please everyone in every way. For I am not seeking my own good but the good of many, so that they may be saved.
Being sensitive to people’s cultural, traditional, and theological beliefs develops a trusting relationship that gives us the freedom to share the gospel.
It is easy to determine when something is aflame. It ignites other material. Any fire that does not spread will eventually go out. A church without evangelism is a contradiction in terms, just as a fire that does not burn is a contradiction. (Christian Theology in Plain Language, p. 162.)
We must overlook other people’s hangups and build a relationship with them based on where they are coming from rather than where we are coming from. Just like basketball players come together to form a team that plays, lives, and grows together.
1. OVERLOOK OTHER PEOPLES’ HANGUPS – it will position you share God’s truth.
When temptation sets in, what causes you to loose sight of your position in Christ?
What can you do to hold on to Gods blessings through trials?
How does serving others help you deal with temptation?
Can you serve others without expecting anything in return? Why or Why not?
What would it take for you to overlook others’ hangups?