Don’t look down!

Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.I think a lot of times we take a passive and defensive approach when we fight temptation. This powerful draw or pull we experience towards the carnal and wicked desires of our flesh is something we must “not give into” instead of something we must overcome.

Temptation is a powerful foe. And it is a powerful force. But the approach of “to not give in” leaves us with very little to do but to concentrate on both our potential and desire for sin, and ourselves. Ironically focusing on both of these can actually lead us to fall to temptation.

The word of God illustrates temptation and sin in many ways. One of them is the idea of falling. The first sin ever committed is known as the “fall of man.” And we say it all the time. Falling into sin. Falling to temptation. ┬áNow think about falling. It’s allowing gravity to have it’s way. That force is always pulling on us, but we don’t fall all the time. We fall when we become unbalanced. But more importantly, we fall when we cease to stand.

I’ve never started my day thinking, “I hope I don’t trip on the stairs today.” or “I hope I don’t loose my balance when I’m walking.” And I doubt you often think such thoughts either.

No, we simply think about all the things we have to do. We have tasks of varying importance and responsibilities to fulfill. We’re not focused on the idea of failure, we’re focused on the idea of success.

Why is it then, that in our Christian life, we can become so focused on “not messing up.” I know for myself, I can become easily involved in that defensive approach to life. I don’t want to give into eating that cookie, or having that lustful thought. I don’t want to give into covetousness, or allow pride in my life.

The Bible tells us again and again to resist temptation. Resist the devil. Fight against sin. And we must do all of that. But we must remember that our Christian walk is more than just learning to say no to things. The focus is so much higher and the purpose is so much richer.

Colossians 3 says, “If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.”

Did you notice to focus of this verse? Seeking what is above. Our key to defeating temptation is not wrapped up in saying “no” to wickedness as much as it involves saying “yes” to righteousness.

Saying no to that cookie will only get you so far. Contrast it with being wrapped up in healthy meal planning and intentional nutrition.

Saying no to lustful thoughts will only help so much. Contrast it with purposing to meditate on God’s Word and direct your thoughts towards honoring God.

The illustrations can go on and on.

When we continue reading in Colossians 3 we see several verses which touch on leaving behind and taking off sinful lifestyles, but the vast majority of verses following continue to focus on righteous and holy living. I would submit to you that this is the balance that our lives require.

Realizing how Christ has called us to focus on things above. Putting off what is filthy. And putting on the righteousness He has prepared and provided for us.

You don’t shout, “Don’t fall” to a tightrope walker, and you don’t say, “Don’t miss” to your buddy trying to shoot a basket. Don’t tell yourself- “Don’t sin!” in your Christian walk.

When you’re up high and in danger of falling, you don’t look down, because focusing on failure will make it harder to succeed. Don’t make such a fatal mistake in your Christian walk. Don’t focus on the temptation you must overcome or the sin you must avoid. Focus on the King of rightesousness who provides a way of escape, the One who died to make you a new creature, and the wonderful life of purpose He has planned for you.

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Your surrender, God’s glory

Have you ever seen God work in a miraculous way? It is amazing to see God work greatly. Perhaps you witnessed a prayer answered, or a conversation brought change in someone’s life, or you witnessed to someone and they received Christ. There is a certain pleasure that comes from seeing God use you in someone’s life. When God uses us, it can be an encouragement, but we must be diligent to attribute all the glory to Him. If we don’t, we can become a victim of pride. And pride is a serious downfall.

We find an example of this kind of pride in 1 Chronicles 21. David is king over Israel, and he commands his servant Joab to number the people. Joab has a very wise response in verse 3. He says, "My lord the king, are they not all my lord’s servants? why then doth my lord require this thing? why will he be a cause of trespass to Israel?" Look carefully at his response. He gives the glory to God for making Israel mighty. He knew that everything that was done, had been done by God. He rebuked David and said that David would be the cause of sin in Israel. Later in the passage, we can read that David’s sin did indeed have serious consequences.

So how can we avoid such a downfall? We must give the glory to God.

As you surrender to His call to service, you will find that God is willing and able to use you for His glory. You must always remember that everything you can do is because God empowered, inspired, and appointed you to be able to do it. He alone deserves the glory for every good thing that He has accomplished through both you and me. Let us give Him the glory! Let us say, like the Psalmist,

"I will praise thee for ever, because thou hast done it:" – Psalm 52:9a