Proverbs 1:10 “My son, if sinners entice thee, consent thou not.”
God reveals to us the pathway of sin.
James 1:14-15 “But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.”
All are tempted, drawn away of our own lusts, and enticed. The temptation comes from within and without.
The inside pressure can come from a past life of sin before Christ, past failures we haven’t quite mortified unforgiveness, bitterness, and strife we allow to fester unwilling to deal with it.
Laziness, apathy, and indifference are used by our enemy to keep us from close fellowship with our Heavenly Father.
There is outside pressure that will be ever-present while we are in this flesh on the earth. Our enemy will see to it that we are bombarded with those things we are weak to resist. We live in an ever-increasingly image-conscious society, concerned with how we look to others and how others perceive us.
At times, it is those closest to us that prove to be of significant influence. Any failure can be traced to the impact of a “friend” who thought it okay to dabble with sin.
Some will try to shift the blame for these failures on anyone else but themselves. Ultimately, it all boils down to the choices we make and whether or not we will take personal responsibility for those choices.
As to the inner struggle, God has commanded us to think using His filter.
Philippians 4:8 “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.”
Then, once the inner thought life is under subjection, we can put what we think into action.
We must maintain a warfare mentality to guard what we think as it will soon become what we do.
2 Timothy 2:3-4 “Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier.”
Within, we must have an attitude toward those things that assault our minds.
2 Corinthians 10:5-6 “Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ; And having in a readiness to revenge all disobedience, when your obedience is fulfilled.”
The ability to revenge our disobedience comes when we are fully aware of when we cross the line. To do so, we must know God and His commands for our life. We skip meals because we are either too busy, trying to diet, or just lazy.
But our spiritual food feeds our soul and spirit. If we go without a meal, we may not feel its effects right away. Go without for a week, and we become weak.
Philippians 4:9 “Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you.”
In my work with the addicted, we find that most failures can be traced to the enticement that came from so-called “friends.” We have a principle we teach:
“Those who do not love the Lord will not help us serve the Lord.”
We must choose our friends by looking what direction their life is heading. If it is a deeper walk with Christ, then follow. If their life is awash with mediocrity, laziness, and dabbling with sin, we must run as fast as we can away from them.
Sinners and the sin they commit want company. It gives a false sense of acceptance and somehow lessens the guilt and shame we feel if others are with us. We must choose those whom we want to emulate and whose lives are blessed by God.
Proverbs 1:15-16 “My son, walk not thou in the way with them; refrain thy foot from their path: For their feet run to evil, and make haste to shed blood.”
We have no one else to look to but God. He can best choose those who will influence us for the right and guide us in the path of righteousness.
Often, when one is looking for a church, they will settle for one that makes them feel good about themselves. I tell folks, you must find a church and a pastor who is willing to tell you the things you are unwilling to tell yourself.
That way, you will be admonished to do right and offer yourself to be held accountable to those who watch for your souls.
Hebrews 13:17 “Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you.”
Who and what we allow to influence us leaves us with the final analysis – our choices. What we think influences what we will do. What we do affects who we will become. It is our Heavenly Father’s desire that we become more and more like the image of His dear Son.
Romans 8:29 “For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.”