Pleasure without conscience
Knowledge without character
Science without humanity
Commerce without morality
Worship without sacrifice
Politics without principle
Hey. They were only 28 words. Why not read them again?
Addiction isn’t limited to substance abusers. The mark of an addict is when a want becomes a need – at least in his mind. This is easy to see when one struggles with substance abuse. In those cases our very body responds as if the thing we desired is an actual need. We call that process withdrawal. While it is painful to experience for the abuser, it is equally painful to watch when you love the person who is fighting for his life.
Pursuing wants as needs is not limited to what excites the physical body. It affects our thoughts, our emotions, and eventually our will. When the desire for what we want becomes too great, we find we have no resolve to stand against it.
Eve reveals this truth, when she saw that the fruit was good for food (a need), and desired to make one wise (a want). The very thought of the fruit ignited within in her a desire. She wanted it. She hungered for it. She took it.
Think about this, she had every food imaginable in the Garden of Eden to meet her needs, but she couldn’t keep her eyes off the tree that was forbidden. She believed she would lose something of herself if she couldn’t at least try it. It felt like a need, but it was only a want. She was deceived.
Adam followed suit. Not because he wanted something that he didn’t have, but because he feared losing something that he did. Adam undoubtedly remembered his earlier loneliness. After all, even God acknowledged it was not good for man to be alone (Gen. 2:18). Adam needed God. But he wanted Eve. He would rather die with her than live without her. So, knowing what he was doing, he took the fruit from Eve’s hand (1 Tim. 2:14).
In both cases, they had wants that they perceived as needs.
What do you desire so strongly that it feels like a need? Do you believe you’d be less of a person if you had to deny yourself that pleasure?
Satan is strategic in stirring this desire within you. God defined love as giving up what you want for a brother’s need. That’s exactly what Jesus did for us (1 John 3:16-17).
So be careful. If you get your wants and needs confused, you may discover that you can love no one but yourself.
27 You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ 28 But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart. 29 If your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body be thrown into hell. 30 And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body go into hell (Matthew 5:27-30).
We are in the greatest danger of all when we think we are safe. When a guy begins to think that this could never happen to him, then he needs to think again. I once heard Joe Aldrich, president of Multonomah School of the Bible, make a statement that sent a literal chill down my spine. Aldrich said, “Have you ever noticed how many men in the Bible failed in the second half of life? Our enemy is so cunning that he will wait forty or even fifty years to set a trap.” That’s precisely what happened to King David.That’s why we can never deceive ourselves into thinking we are somehow “above” sexual sin. The moment you begin to view yourself in that light, you can be sure that your carcass will one day be hanging in cold storage (Steve Farrar, Point Man, p. 66)
So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate…(Gen. 3:6)
Eve desired what was forbidden. God has placed certain areas off-limits in our lives too. This principle alone may awaken our desires. For its often when we’re told we can’t do something, that we discover a growing desire to do that very thing (Rom. 7:8).
Whenever I have asked an audience the question, “Have any of you ever touched the painted surface when the sign read, “Do not Touch! Wet Paint!” I’m amazed at the numbers of hands that go up. The follow-up question, “Why didn’t you obey the sign?” always brings the same sheepish response, “I just wanted to see for myself.”
Just like Eve, we prefer personal experience over a command. If the command was given, we reason, someone, somewhere is keeping something from us that we deserve.
Our minds reeling under this intoxication, our desires are quick to redefine right from wrong and justify our actions. So our desires promise the fulfilment of a feeling. Never mind that it’s short-lived a best. That’s why it’s always better to trust God’s Word than your feelings…
I struggle with anger. Perhaps you do too. When I succumb to my anger it feels like I don’t have control over my emotions, thoughts, and choices. It seems like decisions are being made for me. It feels like I’m in a box. But is that reality? The following video illustration helps to clarify. If you are receiving this via email or Facebook you may need to go to the home page www.philmoser.com to view it. Special thanks to Pastor Jack and his family for participating. Running time about seven minutes.
The angry man believes certain things about his emotions, thoughts and choices. He believes them so strongly, because he feels them so deeply. But God’s word offers rock-solid truth, and that unchanging truth brings hope. The best way to correct the faulty belief system of the angry man (and hence gain victory over our angry responses) is to put it up against God’s Word. The following slide shows us how…
Consider this one, “Whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked” (1 John 2:6).
The Bible teaches that Jesus was fully God. But if your portrait of Jesus is void of his humanity, his teaching and example will seem to be beyond your reach. Living just like Jesus will seem unreasonable. You might even wonder if it’s possible.
But here is a significant truth behind the incarnation of Christ: Jesus walked where you walk so that you might learn to walk like he walked.
If Jesus was fully human, as the Bible declares, then he lived out his entire earthly life under the intrinsic limitations of humanity.1 His victory over temptation was possible through his reliance upon the resources that are available to you and me today. Let that thought settle in. Jesus did not reach outside of his human limitations when being tempted to sin. He operated within the confines of his humanity when he battled temptation. That’s what it means to be tempted like we are yet without sin (Heb. 4:15).
To embrace Jesus’ full humanity is one of the most significant “how” factors for living the Christian life. Practically speaking, once you are in Christ, victory over the temptations with which you struggle, will not come from the latest trend, program, or motivational speaker – these will only bring temporary change. Your growth and change will take place only as you learn to avail yourself of the same resources that Jesus, being fully man, depended upon.
1 I am indebted to Dr. Doug Bookman presently with the Shepherd’s Seminary for the phrase, “the intrinsic limitations of humanity.” Several years ago I was preparing to teach the Life of Christ at the church where I pastor and a friend directed me to Doug Bookman’s teaching. He has great insights on both the deity and humanity of Christ. http://bookmanministries.com
To know your opponent’s modus operandi is essential in any field, but particularly for an NFL quarterback. Sportswriter Pete Prisco explains it best,
“Watching film, or tape to be precise, is key to the success of any quarterback no matter the level of play. But in the NFL, it’s even more so with all the complicated defenses and looks now thrown at quarterbacks, who must decipher it all in split-second decisions or risk throwing an interception that will show up on all the highlight shows.
They’d better know their stuff, and know it well.
Colts quarterback Peyton Manning is legendary in his film study. He has a film room in his basement. Manning loves studying tape, almost needs it like a drug. Others don’t put in the time and end up in quarterback bust-land.” 1
When you read Jesus’ temptation account (Matt. 4. Luke 4) it’s easy to see that Jesus understood his opponent. As Satan tempts through deception, Jesus answers with God’s Word of truth. His remarkable ability to recall the right Scripture for the specific situation is the pattern we should emulate.
If you could watch tape on your opponent you would see that his regular method of temptation is to deceive. He returns to it again and again. But what Satan lacks in originality he makes up for in thoroughness. He is mercilessly meticulous. He understands the desires of the human heart, and the best way to lure and entice us to sin (James 1:19-20).
Yet, because Satan often returns to deception as his means of temptation, you and I can game – plan for his attack. Jesus did. He knew the right verse for each situation. A part of my game plan has to been to memorize the Scripture in conjunction with Satan’s lies.
Satan, as the deceiver, often brings his temptations in the same way (1 John 2:16). Sometime ago it occurred to me that if I could memorize the lie that Satan brought, and the corresponding truth from God’s Word I would be more prepared for the temptations I faced.
This was the kind of reliance Jesus had upon the Scripture (Matt. 4, Luke 4). He has the right verse for each specific situation.
Developing a select set of verses to answer temptation is essential in the life of any believer. We have developed a verse memory pack that contain 33 of the tempter’s lies and God’s Word of truth as a defense against the temptation. You can download them for free at our church’s website. http://aboutfbc.org/downloads/scripture-memory-verse-cards.pdf
For additional resources on this subject including notes, audio, video, and a really cool sword fight please visit: http://aboutfbc.org/using-the-scriptures-like-jesus-part-2