Frequency Asked Questions...
How can I over come temptation?
The Scriptures tell us that we all face temptations. First Corinthians 10:13 says, “No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man.” Perhaps this provides a little encouragement as we often feel that the world is caving in on us alone, and that others are immune to temptations. We are told that Christ was also tempted: “For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin” (Hebrews 4:15).
How then do we resist the temptations? First of all, we must return to the example of Jesus being tempted in the wilderness by Satan in Matthew 4:1-11. Each of Satan’s temptations was met with the same answer: “It is written,” followed by Scripture. If the Son of God used the Word of God to effectively end the temptations—which we know works because after three failed efforts, “the Devil left him” (v. 11)—how much more do we need to use it to resist our own temptations? All our efforts to resist will be weak and ineffective unless they are powered by the Holy Spirit through the constant reading, studying, and meditating on the Word. In this way, we will be “transformed by the renewing of your mind” (Romans 12:2). There is no other weapon against temptation except the “sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God” (Ephesians 6:17). Colossians 3:2 says, “Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth.” If our minds are filled with the latest TV shows, music and all the rest the culture has to offer, we will be bombarded with messages and images that inevitably lead to sinful lusts. But if our minds are filled with the majesty and holiness of God, the love and compassion of Christ, and the brilliance of both reflected in His perfect Word, we will find that our interest in the lusts of the world diminish and disappear. But without the Word’s influence on our minds, we are open to anything Satan wants to throw at us.
Who am I in Christ?
According to 2 Corinthians 5:17, “If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!” There are two Greek words which are translated “new” in the Bible. The first, neos, refers to something that has just been made, but there are already many others in existence just like it. The word translated “new” in this verse is the word kainos, which means “something just made which is unlike anything else in existence.” In Christ, we are made an entirely new creation, just as God created the heavens and the earth originally—He made them out of nothing, and so He does with us. He does not merely clean up our old selves; He makes an entirely new self. When we are in Christ, we are “partakers of the divine nature” (2 Peter 1:4 KJV). God Himself, in the person of His Holy Spirit, takes up residence in our hearts. We are in Christ and He is in us.
In Christ, we are regenerated, renewed, and born again, and this new creation is spiritually minded, whereas the old nature is carnally minded. The new nature fellowships with God, obeys His will, and is devoted to His service. These are actions the old nature is incapable of doing or even desiring to do. The old nature is dead to the things of the spirit and cannot revive itself. It is “dead in trespasses and sins” (Ephesians 2:1) and can only be made alive by a supernatural awakening, which happens when we come to Christ and are indwelt by Him. Christ gives us a completely new and holy nature and an incorruptible life. Our old life, previously dead to God because of sin, is buried, and we are raised “to walk in newness of life” with Him (Romans 6:4).
How can I be an effective witness for Christ in a lost world?
A “witness” is someone who attests to a fact, so in order to be an effective witness for Christ, one must have first-hand knowledge of Him. John the Apostle speaks of this in 1 John 1:1-3, when he says, “That . . . which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked at, and our hands have touched—this we proclaim concerning the Word of Life.” Today, we who have experienced new life in Christ give an account of His love and forgiveness, both verbally and in the way we live our lives. This is witnessing. To be effective in our witness, we should remember several basic things:
1) the THEME of our witness is Jesus Christ. Paul defined the gospel as the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 15:1-4). If we aren’t explaining the sacrifice of Christ, then we’re not really sharing the gospel. (See also 1 Corinthians 2:2 and Romans 10:9-10.) An important part of this theme is the fact that Jesus Christ is the only way to salvation, not just one of many ways. “I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” John 14:6, emphasis added).
2) the POWER of our witness is the Holy Spirit. It is the Spirit who transforms a life (Titus 3:5), and a transformed life is evident to all. As we witness, we should spend much time in prayer, appropriating the Spirit’s power so that we are enabled to let our light shine in such a way that others will recognize the power of God in us (Matthew 5:16).
3) the VALIDITY of our witness will be shown in how we live our lives. Philippians 2:15 sets this goal for us: “that ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world.” The effective Christian witness will live his/her life above reproach in the power of the Holy Spirit, whose fruit we exhibit when we remain in Christ (John 15:1-8; Galatians 5:22-23).
Does God promise to not give us more than we can handle?
First Corinthians 10:13 in the NKJV reads, “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.” This Scripture teaches us a powerful principle. If we belong to Him, God will not allow any difficulty to come into our lives that we are not capable of bearing.
So, anything that comes our way, anything that tempts us, any tragedy that befalls us—we are capable of overcoming it and achieving spiritual victory. That does not mean it will always be easy. Quite the contrary—the fact that we may need a “way of escape” indicates that God sometimes allows difficult trials to come into our lives. We may not believe that we can overcome it, we may doubt our own strength to prevail, and we may even fail in the temptation. That does not mean, though, that we are not capable of overcoming that particular temptation. Whether it is a temptation to sin or a temptation to doubt God, God promises that we will be able to overcome it.
But what does it mean to “overcome” trials? It means the trials do not overcome our faith or our position as children of God, and we come through the trials intact. Our eternal destiny is not in danger because we are kept by the Holy Spirit, who was given to us as a down payment on our salvation (Ephesians 1:13-14). No trial can overcome that because it is of God. Therefore, the child of God will stand firm through the trials and come out on the other side still in God’s hand. This is proof that our salvation is real and our reward in heaven awaits us. James 1:12 assures us, “Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him.”
Does the Bible instruct us to forgive and forget?
The phrase "forgive and forget" is not found in the Bible. However, there are numerous scriptures commanding us to “forgive one another” (Matthew 6:14; Ephesians 4:32). A Christian who does not forgive can reap bitterness and the loss of eternal rewards (Hebrews 12:14-15; 2 John 1:8). Forgiveness is a decision of the will. Since God commands us to forgive, we must make a conscious choice to forgive. This frees the forgiving one from the past. The offender may not desire forgiveness and may not change (Matthew 5:44). Ideally, the offender will seek reconciliation, but if not, the one wronged should still make known his decision to forgive.
In one sense, it is impossible to truly forget sins that have been committed against us. We cannot selectively "delete" events from our memory. The Bible states that God does not "remember" our wickedness (Hebrews 8:12). God is all-knowing. God knows that we have “sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). However, having forgiven us, He treats us as if the sin had not occurred. If we belong to Him through faith in Christ, God does not hold our sins against us. In that sense we must "forgive and forget." If we forgive someone, we must act as if that sin had never occurred. We remember the sin, but we live as if we did not remember it. Ephesians 4:32 tells us, "Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you."