Tag Archives: New Year’s Resolutions

One Secret to Overcoming Temptation

I have a friend who has taken some weight off and as far as I can tell, kept it off. She attests that when she has been tempted on a diet, her answer has been to say to herself, “I will eat that again – I just won’t be eating it now.” Aha. That’s good. And I believe it is one of the great secrets to overcoming temptation.

People have been asking how to overcome temptation for thousands of years, and Jesus’ classic battle with Satan in the wilderness provides some clues as to the answer. We know, for instance, that we must use the Word of God. Jesus fought the enemy with this powerful weapon, and we should too.

But what else? Well, I think there are some interesting clues in this chapter, and we should be careful to take note. Here’s what I mean: to oversimplify it, Satan’s temptations to Jesus included eating bread, counting on angels to rescue him, and ruling the world (fame and fortune, so to speak). And I believe that after Jesus successfully resists the enemy, he is granted each of these as a gift from God, and in a brief period of time after the great battle.

There is no mention of bread, of course, but we know he ate that again. But what about the other two? Well, consider verse 11…

Then the devil left him, and behold, angels came and were ministering to him.

– Matthew 4:11 (ESV)

So He avoided the sin of testing God and he didn’t throw himself off the cliff to be rescued by angels ala Psalm 91. But, do you see that in the end, the angels did come to His rescue? They came and ministered to Him. I don’t think it’s a coincidence when Matthew brings up these angels at the end of the temptation.

And of course, as to ruling the world, well, we know that’s coming eventually, and it will come to Jesus without worshiping Satan. But at the end of the chapter, God the Father gives His Son a glimpse of the worship that will appropriately one day be His:

So his fame spread throughout all Syria, and they brought him all the sick, those afflicted with various diseases and pains, those oppressed by demons, epileptics, and paralytics, and he healed them. And great crowds followed him from Galilee and the Decapolis, and from Jerusalem and Judea, and from beyond the Jordan

– Matthew 4:24, 25 (ESV)

The application? Not everything you resist will be yours, of course, but many things we resist will in the end be granted to us, perhaps in a slightly different form but granted nonetheless, and done so…God’s way.  And God’s way is always far better than the way of the enemy.

Now, on with those New Year’s diet resolutions: “I’ll be eating that later.” Got to remember to tell myself that.

Tomorrow: January 7, Matthew 5


Posted by on January 6, 2015 in Uncategorized


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“Flabby Hearts and Love Handles”

I’m on it.  I had oatmeal for breakfast today and yesterday, and before that, I walked on the treadmill for 30 minutes.  The scale motivated me – scary – that’s the word.  If I had kept better records in the last 6 weeks, I might have been in contention for a world record in speed of gaining weight.  If that’s not in Guinness, it ought to be, so…as I said, I’m on it: I want to do the world record in the opposite direction.

Oh, Thanksgiving and Christmas were fine, just fine.  Turkey and gravy and mashed potatoes, then eggnog (not the low fat variety, mind you, after all, we only drink it once a year) and sugar cookies and Diane’s delicious fudge and more tasty meals.  Salt sugar fat.  There’s a book out by that title and it’s probably right up my alley.

A fast-increasing number on the scale – surely an important matter, but this morning I was reminded of an even greater concern.  I was reading Scotty Smith’s Everyday Prayers, and the prayer today was entitled, “A Prayer about Flabby Hearts and Love Handles,” motivated by a long wait at his gym in early January for his favorite elliptical machine:

“Once again, scores of us seem ready to leave the sugar/ butter/ carbohydrate binge of the past six weeks for the purge of exercise and sweat…Yet I’ve never been more aware that spiritual formation based on the “binge and purge” cycle simply doesn’t work. Our spiritual hearts need to be strengthened by the grace of the gospel daily, all year long. We cannot afford periods of ‘cruise control,’ when we leave the banquet of your love for a buffet of comfort foods, fast foods, and junk foods. Just like the physical hearts you’ve given us, our spiritual heart muscles will atrophy if we don’t take care of them…By the convicting work of your Holy Spirit, let us be far more concerned about flabby, graceless hearts than bigger love handles.”

Amen.  So, walking the treadmill is important, and pushing back from the table is crucial; but as the writer of Hebrews reminds us, “It is good for the heart to be strengthened by grace.” (Hebrews 13:9, ESV)  Therefore, in the New Year, may we be a people who daily dive into the Ocean of God’s Word not so we may say we read it, but because we want to meditate on His love.  And in the New Year, let’s be people who depend daily on Him through prayer, knowing that any other kind of life is a life foolishly dependent on self; and apart from Him, we can do nothing.  And finally, in the New Year, let’s commit to the blessing of corporate worship where we celebrate and meditate on the Cross with other pilgrims who are passing through this world.

These are the things that will lead us to joy and keep us truly alive in 2014.

Happy New Year, everyone.


Posted by on January 6, 2014 in Uncategorized


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