Mark 8:34-38 – “And He summoned the crowd with His disciples, and said to them, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me.  35 “For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake and the gospel’s will save it.  36 “For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world, and forfeit his soul?  37 “For what will a man give in exchange for his soul?  38 “For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will also be ashamed of him when He comes in the glory of His Father with the holy angels.” NASB

I have read and preached out of this passage on numerous occasions.  Recently a conversation with a person who was a ‘self-described liberal theologian.’   This subject became the focus of our discussion.  As we discussed the existence of God and the Cross, I referenced this passage as he argued that ‘everyone would go to heaven’ and that a loving God could not send anyone to hell that would be out of character for God.’ 

I have encountered that argument before in different forms, and each time I think that with the provision that God has made for us to have salvation, our rejection of it is almost incomprehensible. 

There are other potential passages to consider, but I asked this man who acknowledged that humans have an eternal soul: “What is your soul worth?  What value would you place on it?”  He paused and said, “I don’t know, a lot, I would think.” 

At that point, I brought this passage into our conversation, drawing attention to God’s valuation of the human soul.  God said it was worth ‘more than the entire world,’ but even then, that is not fully descriptive of the value God places on it, for if you consider the Cross, you realize that the Father valued the human soul ‘worth the blood of Jesus.’ 

That, to me, is almost beyond comprehension or imagination that God would place such a value on mankind.  We are His creation, but that is an incredible value to place on man who turned his back on God and, in the Garden, voted with the devil to remove God from being the center of His universe and enthrone man on that throne.

Therefore, if you think you have ‘done too much’ as I did when the Holy Spirit brought my heart into conviction regarding my sin and my condition, think about the valuation God placed on your soul.  If you feel you have no significance or value, consider the Cross and God’s valuation of your soul. If you believe that God does not care about you because of your condition, plight, or social or economic status, I challenge you to consider the valuation He has placed on your soul.  According to God, your value is The Blood of Jesus and more than the Entire World!

Therefore, instead of allowing yourself to focus on what you do not have, focus on what He has offered!  Instead of allowing the devil to turn all your thoughts inward and revel in self-pity or let a woe-is-me attitude prevail, consider what God has provided via the Cross.  You, according to the Bible, are worth the blood of Jesus!  If God loves you that much, how can you not turn to Him?

May God be with you as you go through your day!


Matthew 5:13-16 – “You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt loses its flavor, how shall it be seasoned? It is then good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men.  14 “You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden.  15 Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house.  16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.”  NKJV

I realize that Paul appealed to the Church in Corinth in 1 Corinthians 1:10 that they ‘all speak the same thing, be without division, and joined in the same mind and judgment.’  However, that does not negate the truth that we were all Born to be Different!  None of us are the same; each of us is unique and has a particular purpose in the Kingdom of God. 

Jesus said that if salt loses its ability to season, it has no purpose.  He said a light that does not illuminate has no purpose.  Likewise, a voice that is not heard or does not cry out has no purpose.  We become like trees in the orchard that produce no fruit, and after time we are only taking up space, space that a fruit-bearing tree could occupy. 

You do not have to preach in a pulpit or have some spell-binding testimony to be a witness for the Lord.  You are salt and light and can impact the world you live in and should.  Your presence should bring seasoning to your environment and impact lives. 

I knew a man who never preached a sermon or did any great exploits and never accomplished incredible feats during his lifetime.  However, at his funeral, there were scores of people from what many would call the other side of the tracks present.  One after the other echoed their eternal gratefulness for this man.  He had impacted their lives simply by his life!  He lived before them more than he said to them the gospel.  They testified that his compassion and consistency slowly broke down the walls of resistance they had built up in their lives.  His example of salt and light drew them into the Kingdom.  He never tooted his horn or proclaimed what he was doing; He Just Did It!

I have had the privilege of preaching to large and small crowds, and that has been a thrill to be so used of God, but the most important thing is not how much or how often I have preached but how I have lived.  How has my life impacted others?  How has my example been seen by others?  I pray that my life has been ‘salt’ and ‘light’ for those I have influenced.  I pray that I have touched some for the good of the gospel.

Do not think that you have to be a great orator or have a large following or platform from which to speak. Live the Christian Life and allow your life to be ‘salt’ and ‘light’ in this present world. 

God bless you as you go through your day!


Acts 15:36-41 –“After some days Paul said to Barnabas, “Let us return and visit the brethren in every city in which we proclaimed the word of the Lord, and see how they are.” 37 Barnabas wanted to take John, called Mark, along with them also. 38 But Paul kept insisting that they should not take him along who had deserted them in Pamphylia and had not gone with them to the work. 39 And there occurred such a sharp disagreement that they separated from one another, and Barnabas took Mark with him and sailed away to Cyprus. 40 But Paul chose Silas and left, being committed by the brethren to the grace of the Lord. 41 And he was traveling through Syria and Cilicia, strengthening the churches.” NASB

Those who have studied the Book of Acts will remember that this was not the only time the apostle Paul disagreed with another brother.  We are told that he ‘withstood Peter to his face’ over what he considered hypocrisy and seems to have been correct.  However, that did not end his relationship with Peter. 

In this account, the split in the team of Paul and Barnabas was so severe that Paul took another co-worker, Silas, and Barnabas took John Mark and separated.  Their disagreement was not in the foundational truth that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the Living God, but in how to walk out what they believed was their commission and purpose from the Lord.

I have some friends I love and respect who disagree with me on some aspects of how to accomplish what we believe to be our purpose from the Lord.  Sometimes we can fall into the trap of thinking that because we think something, that means it is the ‘only way’ or the ‘right way.’   If we allow that view to become our guide, we will think that our way is the only way, and anyone doing something different is riding 2nd Class on the Gospel Train. 

There was a time in my life when I was like that. I was extremely dogmatic about not only what people should believe but how they should walk out their purpose and ministry.  I had a view and truly believed that I had heard God.   I could not fathom any other interpretation.  I had heard God for myself, but that did not mean I had heard Him for everyone else.

I have some dear Christian friends who have regularly censured or criticized my involvement in anything remotely political.  They do not necessarily tell me that to my face.  However, the things they say publicly and to others leave little doubt that my involvement was, at least, part of the reason for the statements, if not the reason. 

I take no offense to that because they love God dearly and want the best for the Body of Christ and me.  They genuinely believe that they are right and that I am wrong.  I am at peace with what I do and how I do it.  

I believe that God has directed me to speak to people about their spiritual condition and the condition of man reflected in the outworking of life as well as demonstrated in politics.  I believe God has called me to be a ‘watchman on the wall’ both to sound the alarm spiritually and warn of impending danger and evil in other areas of life. God seeks us to be discerning, not judgmentally critical. 

Hear me carefully.  What I am saying is that just because you do not agree with another brother or sister on how they perceive their path to walk out of their purpose does not mean you have to alienate or reject them.  If we agree on the core foundational truth that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the Living God, most other things can be worked around. 

I encourage you to realize that while God has a specific plan for each of our lives, He does not have a one size fits all plan.  He does not always give specific details on exactly how to walk out what he directs, so realize that each person is unique and how we walk out our ministry and purpose will likely be very different.

God bless you, and God bless America!


Proverbs 27:6 “Faithful are the wounds of a friend, but deceitful are the kisses of an enemy.” NASB

Yesterday I asked regarding ‘blind spots,’ and our Christian walk – “Are You Consistent?”  Today I want to ask more questions beginning with the following:


Romans 8:28 (Phillips) – “Moreover we know that to those who love God, who are called according to His Plan, everything that happens fits into a pattern for good.”

This verse does not say that everything that happens is good.  It says that it will ultimately work for good. It focuses on the ‘finished product,’ not the ‘process’ and ‘incidences’ along the way. 

One of the most significant pieces of evidence of our walk in the Holy Spirit is the ‘fruit of the Spirit’ in our lives, and those include ‘self-control’ and ‘temperance.’  Have you ever asked yourself why manifesting a controlled life is a mark of distinction?’  What is ‘self-control’?  What happens when ‘self-control’ is taken to the extreme?

Self-control, referenced in the Bible, is the quality of abiding or resting in the Lord.  When our entire world is being torn apart, tensions and trials are raging, and men’s hearts are failing them for fear of what they see or perceive is happening or going to the Holy Spirit enables the believer to demonstrate a peace and tranquility that surpasses human understanding.  It is trust in God’s Promises and Resting in them. 

Stability is one of the reasons a leader or anyone needs to exhibit ‘self-control.’  People are looking for and longing for Stability and Reality in life.  When the storms of life rage, we need stability, which will come with ‘self-control’ or ‘Spirit Control.’

Remember Peter’s reminder of Jesus’ words in 1 Peter 5:7, where we are counseled to ‘cast all our cares or anxieties upon Him because He cares for us.’  Jesus said in Mathew 11:28-20that we can come to Him, and He will give us rest.  As believers, we need to ‘overwhelm’ the world with our calmness and tranquility in the midst of turmoil.


Palms 1:1 – “How blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked, nor stand in the path of sinners, nor sit in the seat of scoffers!”

People who study such matters tell us that the ‘real key’ as to whether a person conforms to the pressure of the group or resists peer pressure is whether it comes from that person’s ‘inner personal convictions’ or the ‘external mores of his peer group.’  An individual with a strong, healthy ‘self-image’ and ‘confidence in God will more readily resist negative peer pressure than one who does not have those attributes.  It takes strength to say NO! 

Two groups cannot or do not ‘think for themselves’:  The Classic Conformist and the Classic Non-Conformist.  Some people have a ‘convoy mentality.’ Their life is lived by simply following the crowd’s directions, and we all know how dangerous that can be. 

In Psalms 1, three words must be considered: “Walk, Stand, Sit.”  This demonstrates a progression away from godly principles.  The Psalmist indicates that ‘walking, standing, and sitting’ are deliberate choices.  Once we have broken the first barrier of ‘walking,’ it is easier to feel comfortable ‘standing’ with sinners, and once we accept their mindset, we can easily and comfortably ‘sit’ with them.

May God be with you as you go through your day!


Proverbs 27:6 – “Faithful are the wounds of a friend, but deceitful are the kisses of an enemy.” NASB

Have you ever taken a trip with six or seven people in a small car?  Even a short trip can seem endless when packed like sardines into cramped quarters.  I recall a friend telling of a trip in a small economy car with his family – six people packed into that tiny vehicle. 

He could not see through the back glass using the rearview mirror. They were so packed in, and it was an exercise in futility to try to get the children to all move in unison.  He had to completely trust his son to advise him when it was safe to change lanes, and his son realizing how difficult it was for the dad to trust him, said, “Dad, you have to believe me.” 

That was a real lesson in trust.  The boy was dad’s eyes. He was able to fill in the ‘blind spots’ because he could see things from a better perspective.  We all have Blind Spots and need someone else to help us find them.

Our family and friends can often see things from a more precise or different perspective than we do.  We sometimes become aware of our ‘blind spots’ as we see those same things in others.  This was possibly the situation when Nathan the prophet went to David the king to point out his ‘blind spot.’  Nathan used the approach of relating a supposed incident to David and enabling David to see what his ‘blind spot’ was.

One would think that Nathan’s story would have been unnecessary.  How could a man cause the death of another without realizing the depravity of his own heart?  Sadly, that is where David was. 

Maybe it was out of a sense of entitlement; I do not know.  But the story of David taking Uriah’s wife, Bathsheba, and having Uriah killed in battle is a horrific story of how a man like David can descend into the trap of sin.  Nathan used a third-person narrative to get David’s attention and told of a rich man with many sheep and a poor man with only one. 

When Nathan told David how the rich man had stolen the poor man’s singular sheep, David was furious and declared that the guilty party should be put to death.  At that point, Nathan pointed his finger in David’s face and said, “You are the man!”  David immediately recognized his ‘blind spot’ and sin and repented. 

In saying this, I must ask several questions as we seek to deal with our own ‘blind spots’ and move forward into what God would have us become.


James 1:8 tells us that a ‘double-minded’ man is unstable in all his ways.  I am reminded of an account a preacher told me years ago. It was a time when God taught him the importance of ‘consistency.’  

He was rushing home after having dropped off some of their children at school, and in the back seat was his youngest son.  He was anxious to get home to attend to other things and began speeding down the highway.  The lad said, “Dad, you are going 75 miles an hour!”  It took him by surprise because he did not think the child could understand a speedometer but trying to conceal his surprise, he said, “So what?”  

The little boy said, “But the speed limit is 55.”  At that moment, the Holy Spirit began to minister to his heart, and he realized that it was in his heart that he could do wrong so long as he did not get caught, and it was okay.  By his actions, he was teaching his child a ‘double standard,’ and conviction gripped him.  He was teaching his son that it was okay to ‘say one thing’ and yet ‘do another.”

For most adults, ‘speeding’ is not a big deal, but for a young child in the developmental stages of life, it is ‘breaking the law’ and, therefore, wrong – CUT and DRIED!  It is a ‘double standard;’ if we can do it there, why not everywhere?

I have more questions to pose, but I will stop there and pray that God grant you a great day and help you to be CONSISTENT!  

I pray that the Lord’s Blessings will abundantly flow to you today!


1 Thessalonians 5:12-13 – “And we urge you, brethren, to recognize those who labor among you, and are over you in the Lord and admonish you, 13 and to esteem them very highly in love for their work’s sake. Be at peace among yourselves.”  NKJV

Respect is to be earned, not demanded.  People say, “Don’t disrespect me,” as though they have an inherent right to be respected regardless of their disrespectful attitude or actions.  Everyone’s rights should be respected, but not everyone deserves respect.  This statement may cause some difficulty but an unruly child who rebels does not deserve respect.  A parent that berates their children is unfaithful to the marriage and family and fails to provide is not deserving of respect.  Their position is, but they are not.

When I acknowledged God’s call to the ministry and assumed my first assignment as pastor of a small rural congregation, I assumed that everyone would respect me because of the call of God.  Unfortunately, that utopian vision of the ministry was short-lived.  I discovered that the desire for power inherent in some people did not include healthy respectfulness.  We are commanded in Scripture to ‘respect’ spiritual leaders because of the Work they are to do.  Most who have served as pastors have heard, “What do you do all day?  Why do you need a day off?  It must be nice to have a job where you just read the Bible and pray all day.” 

Hebrews 13:17 instructs us to obey those who rule over us and be submissive.  Why?  They watch for our souls, and God holds them accountable for our condition and development.   I have participated in meetings where the leader would present ideas. On one occasion, the majority did not agree; they stated:  “We do not agree, but if you believe this is best and is in the best interest of all involved, we will support you as the leader.”  They were not being obsequious, for some were quite strong-willed individuals, but they were deferring to their leader because they respected his position and person.


  • Show Yourself Worthy.

One minister said, “I cannot stand in the pulpit and command the congregation to respect me.  It is earned by demeanor, by love, and by character.”  Character and integrity are foundational in respect.  That means we have to be attentive to small things and strive to be above reproach at all times and in all things.

  • Respect Ourselves.

People truly do take their cues about respecting a leader from the leader him or herself.  I believe I am nothing in myself, but I can do all things through God, who strengthens me, and if God calls me, He is or has prepared me.  Therefore, my confidence is in God.  It is sometimes necessary to let people know what God has done through you without tooting your own horn. 

  • Respect Others.

Respecting others for a pastor means learning and working diligently to address their needs.  Likewise, how you handle partiality reflects your respect for others.

  • Confront Disrespectful Actions.

Remember Paul’s counsel to Titus, “Let no one despise you.”  I have found that if you overlook or ignore disrespect, it will be repeated and usually more prolific than before.  I am talking about genuinely disrespectful things.  I have experienced someone seeking to demean and disallow my authority and corrupt my responsibility to gain power.  I did not let those go without notice; each was handled differently, as the Holy Spirit directed.  I tried to be kind, gentle, and loving but firm enough that it would be understood that behavior that could disrupt the church could not be tolerated. 

I prefer to approach disrespect with a servant’s heart and the spirit of meekness toward the disrespectful person.  So, I tolerate it for a time, and once I have proved their spirit and it continues, I can then demonstrate mine, and on that strength, I can confront whatever is necessary with God’s authority behind me.

As with having friends, we must be friendly to gain respect; we must be respectful.  Respect is earned!   

God bless you as you go through your day!


2 Kings 2:9-15 – “And so it was, when they had crossed over, that Elijah said to Elisha, “Ask! What may I do for you, before I am taken away from you?”

Elisha said, “Please let a double portion of your spirit be upon me.”

10 So he said, “You have asked a hard thing. Nevertheless, if you see me when I am taken from you, it shall be so for you; but if not, it shall not be so.” 11 Then it happened, as they continued on and talked, that suddenly a chariot of fire appeared with horses of fire, and separated the two of them; and Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven.

12 And Elisha saw it, and he cried out, “My father, my father, the chariot of Israel and its horsemen!” So, he saw him no more. And he took hold of his own clothes and tore them into two pieces. 13 He also took up the mantle of Elijah that had fallen from him, and went back and stood by the bank of the Jordan. 14 Then he took the mantle of Elijah that had fallen from him, and struck the water, and said, “Where is the LORD God of Elijah?” And when he also had struck the water, it was divided this way and that; and Elisha crossed over.

15 Now when the sons of the prophets who were from Jericho saw him, they said, “The spirit of Elijah rests on Elisha.”  NKJV

Yes, LORD, give me a double portion of the double portion anointing!  Give me all that I can handle or all that You trust me with. Help me to walk completely surrendered to You and Your Purposes. 

Through the years, I have heard various ministers declare that the mantle of some previous giant of the faith had fallen on them.  Maybe it did, and perhaps it did not.  Was it the declaration of God or the desire of the individual to assume that position and rise to that acclaim?  If it was the declaration of God, the Elisha principle should be applied, and if it were the latter, it would become exposed for what it is flesh. 

I am convinced that Elisha’s heart in desiring a ‘double portion’ of the anointing of Elijah had nothing to do with personal ambition.  It was rooted in his desire to serve God and defeat the forces of hell as powerfully as possible.  In his life and ours, in receiving an anointing from God, you can count on the reality that that anointing will bring difficulties, tests, and trials. 

The anointing can take you where you do not want to go, cause you to go against personal preferences, and even cause you to find yourself isolated or rejected by many you had formerly depended on or associated with.  God’s anointing should be desired, as in Elisha, more than anything else in the world. Again, it is Never for personal gain or ambition but for service!

Elisha had served Elijah in an apprenticeship, and although he had a prophetic call on his life, he understood servanthood and service.  Elijah’s decree is most interesting.  He said, “…IF you see me when I am taken from you, it shall be so for you; but if not, it shall not be so.”  That highlights an important factor in God’s anointing, Vision, and Focus. 

Elijah instructed Elisha that Unless he maintained focus and was persistent in his determination and pursuit of the prize, it would not come.  Remember the words of our Lord, “Seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you”?  

Paul declared in Philippians 3:14, “I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”  Focus is an absolute requirement; to remain focused, there must be VISION, and to have vision, there must be Commitment.  That singular commitment and desire to have God’s anointing was present in Elisha, and he never wavered from it.

God will not share His glory with flesh, and if you are seeking His anointing for self, even if you received it, that anointing would destroy you.  He was willing to lay down his “own mantle” to receive the “Double Portion Mantle of God.”  He exemplified the expression of John the Baptist when he said, “He must increase, but I must decrease.”  If we are to have God’s anointing, we also must have the Heart of our Lord, and as Paul said, “Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ.”  

God bless you as you enjoy His richness and presence on this beautiful day!


1 Kings 11:1-8 – “But King Solomon loved many foreign women, as well as the daughter of Pharaoh: women of the Moabites, Ammonites, Edomites, Sidonians, and Hittites — 2 from the nations of whom the LORD had said to the children of Israel, “You shall not intermarry with them, nor they with you. Surely they will turn away your hearts after their gods.” Solomon clung to these in love. 3 And he had seven hundred wives, princesses, and three hundred concubines; and his wives turned away his heart. 4 For it was so, when Solomon was old, that his wives turned his heart after other gods; and his heart was not loyal to the LORD his God, as was the heart of his father David. 5 For Solomon went after Ashtoreth the goddess of the Sidonians, and after Milcom the abomination of the Ammonites. 6 Solomon did evil in the sight of the LORD, and did not fully follow the LORD, as did his father David. 7 Then Solomon built a high place for Chemosh the abomination of Moab, on the hill that is east of Jerusalem, and for Molech the abomination of the people of Ammon. 8 And he did likewise for all his foreign wives, who burned incense and sacrificed to their gods.”  NKJV

In today’s political world, much is being said about sexual impropriety and lasciviousness, which is a problem.  Solomon, a man who began right and because of his desire to do good and serve, received the Lord’s blessing in incredible wealth, power, position, and wisdom.  However, in all his getting, he forgot to heed the Word and Warnings of the Lord and allowed his flesh to rule his life.  He made bad alliances in taking to himself many foreign wives who neither knew Jehovah God nor honored him. 

The Bible says Solomon had seven hundred wives, princesses, and three hundred concubines, and his wives turned away his heart.  This had to be about more than physical attraction and sexual gratification.  It revealed a root problem in his heart far beyond simply the desires of the flesh.  It was about allowing the flesh to dominate, and, in my view, he allowed himself to become the ‘center of his universe.’   Adam and Eve did that in the Garden when they fired God as Lord of their lives and became gods to themselves.  Power corrupts.

God warned about bad associations.  That truth was repeated in 1 Corinthians 15:33, “Do not be deceived: ‘Evil company corrupts good habits.’”  Paul also addressed this in Galatians 5:9 and 1 Corinthians 5:6, telling us that “a little leaven leavens the entire lump.”  In 1 Corinthians 5:9, Paul warned to ‘not associate with immoral people.’  In 2 Corinthians 6:14, there is a clear warning about wrong relationships, “Do not be bound together with unbelievers; for what partnership have righteousness and lawlessness, or what fellowship has light with darkness?”  And we dare not forget the words of Psalm 1:1, “How blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked, nor stand in the path of sinners, nor sit in the seat of scoffers!”

Solomon knew well the directive in Leviticus 20:23, “Moreover, you shall not follow the customs of the nation which I will drive out before you, for they did all these things, and therefore I abhorred them.”  Likewise, he knew the words of Numbers 16:26, “Depart now from the tents of these wicked men, and touch nothing that belongs to them, or you will be swept away in all their sin.”  Solomon allowed the prize of his eyes and the cravings of his flesh to overrule his spiritual reason and became corrupted by the influence of unbelievers. 

The warnings of God through Moses in Deuteronomy 12:30 should have been heeded, “…beware that you are not ensnared to follow them after they are destroyed before you and that you do not inquire after their gods, saying, ‘How do these nations serve their gods, that I also may do likewise?’”  Solomon’s wives followed other gods, and his love and devotion to them tugged at his heart and opened the door to his spiritual downfall.  It was his choice and demonstrated the power of the flesh if we do not maintain our focus on God. 

Never, never, allow the flesh to rule you; instead, heed the cry of Paul in Galatians 5:16-26, “I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh. 17 For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another so that you do not do the things that you wish. 18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.  19 Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, 20 idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, 21 envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. 24 And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. 26 Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another.” 

Make a decision of heart and conscience, as Joshua declared, “…as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”   

God bless you as you faithfully follow the Lord!

LET’S TAKE ANOTHER LOOK AT TEMPTATION – – Does It Have a Purpose? [Part Two]

James 1:2-8 – “My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, 3 knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. 4 But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing. 5 If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him. 6 But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind. 7 For let not that man suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; 8 he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.”  NKJV

Let me ask, “How many of you have been tempted?”  “How many have been tempted in any area and failed or succumbed to the temptation?”  I am sure everyone has, and when that resulted, you were probably flooded with guilt, or you shrugged it off, saying, ‘Well, I’m only human.’

Temptation is something that every human being encounters.  It does not respect age, gender, position, or ethnicity.  There is nothing we can do to prevent temptation from attempting to rear its head, and that head is sometimes quite ugly.  It comes! 

I have used an illustration about a teenager being left alone at home for years.  The car was in the driveway, and the keys were in a bowl on the kitchen counter.  Temptation!  The young man said, “Dad, while you were away, I came very close to breaking my promise that I would not drive the car.  You left the keys on the kitchen counter, and I even carried them in my pocket for three days fighting temptation.”  The father responded, “Son, there is nothing like the temptation to show you what you will do if given the opportunity.”  Temptation can be viewed from several perspectives, and we usually view it from only one, the negative.


It is an opportunity to defeat the purpose of God.  Truthfully, he can only succeed in tempting us in those areas if we have something in common.  In John 14:30, Jesus told the disciples that the devil was coming, but he had no claim on Jesus.  Jesus told them that there was nothing in Him that belongs to the devil; therefore, the devil had no power over Jesus.


It is a severe test and an attempt to destroy faith and commitment.  Man views it as a bad thing!  Man sees temptation only in the light of it, pulling and tugging at his own evil thoughts, bents, and wishes. 

James 1:13-15 declares, “Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am tempted by God”; for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone. 14 But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed.” 


Is that it can be and often is a valuable and vital service in the lives of men.  It shows three things about us:  what we are, where we stand, and what we will be in the future.  

Temptation is a factor in both the psychological and spiritual growth process that every human being must go through ‘IF’ they are to become mature individuals capable of living a full, meaningful, and victorious life.  In that light, Temptation’sreal purpose is Always to trigger a choice and provoke a definitive stand or action!  Consider the illustration of the teenager and the car keys again, if you will.

The keys presented a temptation that forced him to make a very difficult but vital decision.  He had to obey or disobey.  To disobey would be to commit an act of irresponsibility that would make it easier to do similar things in the future.  To obey would help create a pattern for mature and wise decisions in the future and make it easier to resist temptation and produce victory and liberty. 

Temptation could be called a dividing line between innocence and awareness.  Temptations come and always present a lesson to be learned.  Our choices in temptation demonstrate whether the lesson has been learned or must be repeated, “The Wilderness Principle.”  How many times did Israel take another lap around the mountain?

For example, we teach children not to cross the street alone, but temptation comes into play the moment the child has the opportunity to disobey.  There is no one around to see, the street beckons and promises intriguing adventure.  The response to temptation will determine if the child can be trusted to play near the street or if more supervision and training are required.  Thus, how we face temptation affects every area of our personal life.

May the Lord help us to realize and learn the lessons rather than becoming stuck in an almost perpetual process of repeating or “making laps around the mountain.” 

God bless you richly as you face today with confidence and boldness in Jesus!


James 1:2-8 – “My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, 3 knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. 4 But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing. 5 If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him. 6 But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind. 7 For let not that man suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; 8 he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.”  NKJV

Another passage I will suggest is 1 Corinthians 10:13 – “No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.”  I have learned and believe there are some explicit promises in God’s word that we can expect as a part of our Spiritual Inheritance in Jesus.

            GUIDANCE – – The Holy Spirit will guide us into all Truth. (John 16:13)

            INSTRUCTION – – The Holy Spirit will teach us God’s Truth.  (John 16:13)

            PROVISION – – God will supply all our needs. (Philippians 4:19)

            COMFORT – – We will never be left comfortless. (John 14:18)

            DEFENSE – – The Battle is not ours, but God’s. (2 Chronicles 20:15)

We are told that when we do not know how to pray as we should, the Holy Spirit will make intercession for and through us.  God’s word informs us that people are defeated and destroyed because of a ‘lack of knowledge’ or ‘understanding.’  We have the incredible promise that ‘IF’ we walk in the Light as He is the Light, we can ask what we will and expect an answer. 

Please understand that I believe the Bible teaches that it is imperative that both the motive and request are wholesome and pure.  If we ask anything According to His Will, the Bible informs us that IT IS DONE!  Therefore, it is incredibly important for us to know the following:

  • The Will of God. 
  • The Principles by which He works.    
  • What God Desires to do IN us.

That is no small undertaking, and without His help, impossible!  Temptation is one principle that affects us significantly in our walk and warfare and is often overlooked or completely misunderstood.  I refer to it as the “Wilderness Principle,” and in that, we must become aware of the following:

  • The Purpose or Work of Temptation.
  • How to Receive God’s Promises.       
  • How to Stand Steadfast During a Problem.  
  • How to Enter into God’s Provisions.

Again, that is no small undertaking; without God’s help, it is Impossible!  The Bible teaches that God’s desire for us is Conformity with the Person and Image of Christ Jesus our Lord.  He wants us to know, enjoy, and live what I call Full Salvation and Complete Deliverance. He wants us to enjoy His Abundant Provisions daily and continually walk in Victory, pulling down strongholds. 

Life is a process that begins in infancy, progresses through adolescence, and to fullness in adulthood.  Our Spiritual Life and Walk involve numerous tests and encounters that help develop our character and give us a mark, a barometer, or an identity point that enables us to recognize where we stand spiritually.

Hosea 4:6 informs us, “My people perish for a lack of knowledge….”  That is a powerful truth, for if we do not Know God’s Will, we cannot Do God’s Will.  If we do not understand what He is doing, we may resist and rebel when we should be resting and learning.  But, if we understand the Principles of God, we know what to look for and what to do.  Victory comes from understanding and obedience. 

Thus, we have the exhortation of James “…count it all joy when you fall into divers temptations….”  Honestly, that is not difficult; it is impossible Without some understanding of the Purpose of Temptation in our lives and without the careful guidance and assistance of the Holy Spirit.

I dare not stop there but will pause in this devotional and pick up in the next more on Temptation’s Purpose and Function in the believer’s life.   

God bless you richly as you embark on this leg of Life’s Journey.