Seriously, tempation is NOT sin. I hate it when christians judge themselves, or others and they use temptation as their gauge. Temptation is not you. It is not God. Guess who it is? It is your enemy. He wants you to think that it is you though. He wants you to believe that it is who you really are.
It makes it really hard to believe that you have been made new in Christ if you are also believing that every thought that pops in your head is something you are seeking out. It makes you believe that, that old stuff is still your identity.
I’m sorry guys but I’m going to use men and lust as an example only because it is easy to see, not trying to pick on ya. I was introduced to pornography when I was five. It is very hard to unsee something. But pornography doesn’t have quite the same impact on gals as it does guys or I would use my own experience.
I have spoken with men who struggle so much with temptation. They believe that if a thought or a picture crosses their mind that they have somehow backslidden all the way back to the beginning. That is a lie. You are still on the same path. Those are called tempations not sin. You are not responsible for repenting for a temptation. Do not own it or let it own you. Point that finger right back at your enemy and say it is you who are tempting me! This is not who I am, it is you.
It is what you choose to do with the temptations that makes the difference. Even if you get carried away or caught up in the moment and you catch yourself, that is praiseworthy! You can not have conviction without the Holy Spirit in your life. If you get convicted you do not slump over and call yourself pond scum. You praise God that He is in your life. The very fact that you are convicted is evidence of that. “Whew! Glad I can see the evidence of God in my life right now in this.” That is what it looks like to walk in your identity in Christ. It is what being made new looks like in everyday life.
If the enemy gets away with making you feel like you have backslidden all the way back to the beginning and have made no progress, or the progress you have made was somehow lost, then you are relying on your ownself for your salvation. That of course is completely wrong. You would be believing that the work of the cross was not complete. You would not believe that He is who He said He is, or that He paid for everything with His life and it is finished! We were redeemed because of His actions, not ours. We are identified now by His actions and who He is and not our actions. But what does that look like when you are in the midst of being tempted and it hits you in all the old familiar places? We have to remember who Jesus is to us and who we are to Him. He does not call us wretched, or pond scum after His purchase of us, after we have been made new in Christ.
Let’s not forget that He calls us His sons and daughters, His friend, His Bride, or His blessed creation. Without Him for sure we are nothing. Don’t get me wrong. But I believe that the enemy would try to twist our good hearts that God redeemed in us to turn on ourselves and believe that we are less than who God says that we are. To make us believe that we have gone all the way back to the beginning of our battle. That’s a bunch of crap! He put us on a new path. We are going to stumble, fall flat on our faces, or even stop and dig ourselves a little pit at times. But it is His grace that is big enough. The very fact that we can identify that something is wrong is evidence that He is in us. It is evidence that we are on a different path and have been made in to something else. I know I would have no problem living from the old places if I did not have the new.
If we can not see this for ourselves, then how are we going to be able to extend grace to others? How will we be able to see them how God sees them? How then will we ever believe that others have been made new? How will we ever be able to believe that we all have the same enemy and it is not each other?
Temptation is NOT sin! Temptation comes from “our” enemy and it is used against us more to steal our identities than anything else.
At the end of almost everyday, I have been tempted to:
go to food for comfort
to try to arrange for my own life
to worry about finances
to go to anger instead of taking the time to figure out what is really going on
to judge others or myself
to choose comfort over excellence
to hate instead of love myself
to blame or accuse God
to question God’s heart for me
The fact that I can list those things is more evidence that I have been made new. I am still Jennifer, beloved daughter of the King of Kings, chosen bride to the Lord of Lords and blessed creation of the Creator of all things. To believe that I am anything less would be a lie.