How many have suffered and still suffer because their hearts were not firm in their good inclinations, because they imprudently looked with impure eyes, because they heard with ears unaccustomed to discern between good and evil, because they tasted greedily! The senses of the sin-loving, greedy flesh, unrestrained by reason and by God’s commandments, have drawn them into various worldly passions, have darkened their minds and hearts, deprived them of peace of heart, and taken away their free-will, making them the slaves of these senses. Thus you see how necessary it is to look, listen, taste, smell, and feel prudently; or, rather, how necessary it is to guard your heart so that through your outward senses, as through a window, no sin may steal in, and that the author himself of sin – the Devil – may not darken and wound that heavenly fledgling, our soul, with his poisonous and deathly arrows.
Some temptations come to the industrious, but all temptations attack the idle.
All the great temptations appear first in the region of the mind and can be fought and conquered there. We have been given the power to close the door of the mind. We can lose this power through disuse or increase it by use, by the daily discipline of the inner man in things which seem small and by reliance upon the word of the Spirit of truth. It is God that worketh in you, both to will and to do of His good pleasure. It is as though He said, ‘Learn to live in your will, not in your feelings.’
I was much buffeted with temptations, but I cried out, and they fled away. They returned again and again. I as often lifted up my eyes, and He “sent me help from his holy place.” And herein I found the difference between this and my former state chiefly consisted. I was striving, yea, fighting with all my might under the law, as well as under grace. But then I was sometimes, if not often, conquered; now, I was always conqueror.
In any trial, in any bitter situation, you are not alone, you are not helpless, you are not a victim. You have a tree, a cross, shown to you by the Sovereign God of Calvary. Whatever the trial or temptation, it is not more than you can bear. It is bearable. It can be handled. You can know as Joseph knew, “You meant evil against me, but God meant it for good in order to bring about this present result, to preserve many people alive” (Genesis 50:20).
He (the devil) always sends errors into the world in pairs–pairs of opposites…He relies on your extra dislike of one to draw you gradually into the opposite one. But do not let us be fooled. We have to keep our eyes on the goal and go straight through between both errors. We have no other concern than that with either of them.
In the deceitfulness of our hearts, we sometimes play with temptation by entertaining the thought that we can always confess and later ask forgiveness. Such thinking is exceedingly dangerous. God’s judgement is without partiality. He never overlooks our sin. He never decides not to bother, since the sin is only a small one. No, God hates sin intensely whenever and wherever He finds it.
Temptation is not sin. A man may ask me to share with him the spoils of a burglary, but no one can accuse me of receiving stolen property if I indignantly refuse and keep my doors tightly shut against him.
There is nothing that forces us to face our addiction to control quite like our inability to change the heart of another person.
When Satan cannot get a great sin in he will let a little one in, like the thief who goes and finds shutters all coated with iron and bolted inside. At last he sees a little window in a chamber. He cannot get in, so he puts a little boy in, that he may go round and open the back door. So the devil has always his little sins to carry about with him to go and open back doors for him, and we let one in and say, ‘O, it is only a little one.’ Yes, but how that little one becomes the ruin of the entire man!