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Paul J. Bucknell
Any godly man knows that there is only one real way to fight temptations. This method is not as many think by cutting off our senses but by knowing a greater good, namely, God's goodness. What complicates this process is the dangling of every sort of material image before our eyes.
What we see with our eyes commands a greater devotion than those things from our spirit. We can touch, hear, see, and taste those things around us. They are so very close. Our body just naturally and quickly responds to those things.
The annal of the Garden of Eden, however brief, has given us insight into this very complex area of life. The very first temptation which happened thousands of years ago is still vitally relevant because the nature of man has not changed. There is no essential difference between modern and ancient man. Those things which could be seen, touched and tasted were lured before the eyes of Eve just as they are lured before our own eyes. For that one brief moment, she ignored God's principles which she had heard from Adam.
The true cure for temptation will not be in trying to protect ourselves from being allured with those sights and sounds. By this I do not mean that we should not shut out the evil influences from our lives as much as we can. We must do this. We need to get to the point that something much greater catches our attention so that these things will not significantly attract us.
What is it that can so attract us? As we become exposed to God's goodness, we will begin to understand that the filling of His love is greater than all those temptations out there. We cannot find this goodness by rejecting what God has declared good, namely the creation. Ascetics unfortunately rip part of their life away when they deny themselves pleasure. But we do understand the dangers of pleasure. Once we seek pleasure, then it begins to rule.
25 Whom have I in heaven but Thee? And besides Thee, I desire nothing on earth.
26 My flesh and my heart may fail, But God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.
27 For, behold, those who are far from Thee will perish; Thou hast destroyed all those who are unfaithful to Thee.
28 But as for me, the nearness of God is my good; I have made the Lord GOD my refuge, That I may tell of all Thy works. (Psalm 73:25-28)
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The things of earth do not much attract him.
This gives little place for temptation to flirt with him.
Humilty keeps him close to God and far from the bait of the world.
This gives him a glowing confidence in God's person.
He has already cashed his earthly chips in. He is satisfied with knowing God.
He has no desires to trade his joys with their sadness.
Good cannot be easily redefined as some cheaply fulfilled lust.
He is surrounded by God; the devil doesn't even like being near the saint.
He is ever reminded of how good God is to him so other thoughts can't invade his mind.
Can we see how this psalmist has such a great affection for God that other things including sex, money and power just can't touch him? Yes, there will always be the temptation to pride, but when we are looking rightly at God, then we are always humbled. A prideful man cannot be close to God.
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