finding meaning in the mundane

Tag: Temptation

The Discipline of Being Disciplined

Spiritual DisciplinesEveryone wants to be strong and many of us wish we were a bit more ripped than we currently are.  No one sets out in life and says, “I hope that I’m incredibly out of shape and the laziest person I know.”  Yet,  very often we wonder how we can drop a few pounds, tone up and get into better shape.

All to frequently the same thing is true for our spiritual life.  Our desire is to be connected in a meaningful way to God, to know Jesus and walk with His Spirit.  Yet, for far too many of us we live dangerously close to being disconnected with God.

Jesus gives us a great example in Matthew chapter 4 for what we should do in order to be spiritually fit.  Check this out.

1Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. 2And after He had fasted forty days and forty nights, He then became hungry. 3And the tempter came and said to Him, “If You are the Son of God, command that these stones become bread.” 4But He answered and said, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God.'”

Matthew 4:1-4

We see here that Jesus did 4 things to stay spiritually fit.

  1. Jesus was led by the Spirit-  His ears were open to the prompting of the Spirit.  Jesus was so in tune with the Spirit of God that He followed the Spirit’s lead out into the wilderness.
  2. Jesus fasted–  Jesus stopped eating for 40 days.  He took the focus off of his physical hunger to help cultivate a stronger spiritual hunger.
  3. He memorized scripture-  Jesus knew scripture.  It was on the tip of His tongue when He needed it most.  What He had read as a boy, and a teen was buried in His mind and it infiltrated His soul.
  4. He spoke scripture out loud- Jesus knew scripture and He spoke scripture in the moments when it would be easy to give in and focus on self rather than scripture.

Typically we call these Spiritual Disciplines.  Spiritual Disciplines in and of themselves have no ability to save us, but they do have the ability to help sanctify us, or make us more like Christ.  One of my favorite authors, Richard Foster, has said, “A Spiritual Discipline is an intentionally directed action which places us in a position to receive from God the power to do what we cannot accomplish on our own.”  We don’t discipline ourselves for no reason.  We discipline ourselves so that when the time comes we are ready for whatever comes our way.

Think about it, if Jesus practiced spiritual disciplines, how much more should we?  What has been your experience with staying spiritually fit?



God, You Cheapskate… And Other Reasons to Eat Fruit

The weather here in Doylestown has been beautiful these past few days.  So Tiffany and I have been taking advantage of these beautiful last few days of summer.  We once again hit up the park for a walk and a bike ride.  This time we headed over to George M. Bush Park  in Buckingham to enjoy our evening constitutional.  After our walk, the kids wanted to play in the massive sandbox, on the swings, and climb all over the playground equipment.  This may just be the best part of the night–Tiffany and I get to sit on a bench and talk.

Well, about this time an ice cream truck pulls into the parking lot announcing its presence with bells and happy jingles.  It was like somebody was shaking the treat box. All the puppies heads popped up and they went running to the source of the shaking.  All that is except for two of them.  Noah and Grace looked up to see what the commotion was and then set themselves back to playing in the sandbox.

I’d like to think that I have kids that are just so intent on their sandbox/playground time that they wouldn’t want to waste a moment of it on something as silly as an over-priced-four-wheeled-ice-cream-dispensing-handbell choir, but I’m not that naive.  I think what really happened was my kids heard the droning of the bells, they looked at each other and silently shook their heads in agreement as to say, “Daddy is so cheap, don’t bother asking.”

In Genesis 3, right in the beginning of the temptation story,  Satan asks Eve a similar question.  He says, Is God so cheap that He told you that you couldn’t eat from any of the trees in the garden?  I like the way that the message paraphrase puts it, “Do I understand that God told you not to eat from any tree in the garden?”  What a question.  Is God such a cheapskate that He won’t let you eat?  Satan goes on to say, God just doesn’t want you to eat it because then you will be like Him.  What Satan is saying is, God is selfishly withholding certain goodness or certain blessings from you.  He just doesn’t want you to achieve the same status as Him, God is clearly not a good God like you thought He was, no is He?

The background to this story is that Satan is trying to do what He does best–deceive people and cause people to turn away from God and towards their own agenda.  He uses a very simple tactic, challenge the goodness of God.

Have you ever thought to yourself any one of these things:

  • God can’t possibly love me that much
  • I know that’s a promise in the Bible, but it isn’t meant for me
  • Does God really care
  • I guess God has abandoned me
  • God doesn’t want me to be happy
If you find yourself saying yes to one or more of those statements or to a similar statement, watch out Satan may be trying to challenge the goodness of God in your life.  
Without me giving my answer, and my list of reasoning let’s hear it…  Is God cheap or is God abundantly good?  Why or why not?  
And…  Go…

What a fine line indeed…

 I will tell you what, this picture reminds me of what a fine line we walk in this world.  Sometimes we get so close to the edge and we are about to go over and it is just amazing.  This guy right here, in his little helmet, and reflective vest, (that’s so as he’s falling you can spot him… [at night that is])  is walking on top of a suspension bridge.  He is walking on what appears to be like a foot and a half of walkable space.  Which granted isn’t all that small, however, in the grand scheme of things, that is pretty scary. 

How many of us walk so close to the line of sin that we are almost dancing on it?  I’ll tell you what, it is unbelievable how sin can sneak up and snatch your life.  When Jesus was being tempted in the wilderness by Satan in Luke 4, there is one verse at the end of the passage that is intriguing.  It is verse 13.  Luke 4:13 “When the devil had finished every temptation, he left Him until an opportune time.”  An opportune time is when you are walking closest to that line!  We shouldn’t be anywhere near the line.  We should be careful not to be close to the line for fear that we may indeed fall into temptation from Satan the great temptor.  Crazy.  Stay strong, and let me encourage you to stay in the word, and know God’s word so that when temptation comes you can follow Jesus’ example and quote scripture. 

“I have hidden your word in my heart,
      that I might not sin against you.”  Psalm 119:11


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