Our key Bible verse is 1 Corinthians 10:13:
There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.
Our lesson today is titled “How to Overcome Temptation, Part 39”
In this section of our Onward Christian Soldiers discipleship class, we are going to continue looking at specific temptations that are, as the Bible says, “common to man.” We are looking at what the Bible says about these sins so we can be aware of its dangers and so that we can hide Scripture in our hearts to use when we are tempted.
The sin that we are going to continue looking at today is the sin of “covetousness”. This is the second sin in a list of 12 temptations that comes from two sources — one ancient and one modern. The first source is a list that was developed by monks in the early church called “the seven deadly sins” or the “cardinal sins.” The second source is a Barna survey from 2011 which tracked the top temptations Americans admitted to struggling with.
We have already looked at 9 passages on this topic. Today, we will continue looking at 1 John 2:15-17. (Remember, the text of this lesson is made available online after each class, so you can go to our website GLHOPI.com, click the “Onward Christian Soldiers” banner on the home page, and begin to learn these verses by heart throughout the week.)
1 John 2:15-17:
15 Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.
16 For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.
17 And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.
Richard Mant said, “There is not a vice which more effectually contracts and deadens the feelings, which more completely makes a man’s affections center in himself, and excludes all others from partaking in them, than the desire of accumulating possessions. Beware, then, of the beginning of covetousness, for you know not where it will end.”
The second way in which the devil tempts us toward covetousness and taking part in the world system is through what John calls “the lust of the eyes.” We talked about the lust of the flesh and how it always desires that which is against the Spirit of God in the believer. But there is something that fuels and inflames the flesh, and that is the lust of the eyes. Our eyes are windows into our hearts and lives. Jesus said, “The light of the body is the eye: if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light. But if thine eye be evil, thy whole body shall be full of darkness.”
The reason why our covetous flesh rises up in us is often because of what we put before our eyes. If you are always looking at things that you do not have, cannot have, or should not have, you are only planting the seeds of covetousness in your heart. For example, looking at pornography creates lust in the heart for sexual encounters of the forbidden kind. Something as simple as “window shopping” can open the door to discontent and covetous desires for material possessions. Social media presents a unique threat as many observe others doing things and having things that are not in God’s plan for them at the time.
How do we overcome succumbing to the “lust of the eyes”? Job said he “made a covenant with his eyes” that he would not look lustfully on a young woman. The word “covenant” means a pledge or an agreement. In other words, it is within our power to control what we allow our eyes to dwell on. We know that there are fleshly desires in us that we should not fulfill as Christians. We should choose, therefore, not to look on those things that fuel our covetous flesh. Instead, we should look on those things that feed the Spirit and empower us to overcome fleshly desires.
Adelaide Plumptre wrote:
Keep thyself pure! Christ’s soldier, hear,
Through life’s loud strife, the calls rings clear.
Thy Captain speaks: His word obey;
So shall thy strength be as thy day.
Keep thyself pure! Thrice blessed he
Whose heart from taint of sin is free;
His feet shall stand where saints have trod,
He with rapt eyes shall see his God.
Keep thyself pure! For He Who died,
Himself for thy sake sanctified;
Then hear Him speaking from the skies,
And victorious over temptation rise.
O Holy Spirit, keep us pure,
Grant us Thy strength when sins allure;
Our bodies are Thy temple, Lord;
Be Thou in thought and act adored.
If you struggle with covetousness, take this passage to heart and begin to use it the next time you face that temptation.
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If you do not know Jesus Christ as your Saviour, John 3:16 states, “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”
The Bible also says in Romans 10:9 and 13: “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved…. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
If you believe that Jesus Christ died on the cross for your sins, was buried, and rose from the dead, and you want to trust Him for your salvation today, please pray with me this simple prayer: Holy Father God, I realize that I am a sinner and that I have done some bad things in my life. I am sorry for my sins, and I want to turn from my sins. For Jesus Christ sake, please forgive me of my sins. I now believe with all of my heart that Jesus Christ died for me, was buried, and rose again. I trust Him as my Savior and follow Him as Lord from this day forward. Lord Jesus, please come into my heart and save my soul and change my life today. Amen.
If you just trusted Jesus Christ as your Saviour, and you prayed that prayer and meant it from your heart, I declare to you that based upon the Word of God, you are now saved from Hell and you are on your way to Heaven. Welcome to the family of God! I want to congratulate you on doing the most important thing in life and that is receiving Jesus Christ as your Lord and Saviour. For more information to help you grow in your newfound faith in Christ, go to GospelLightSociety.com and read “What To Do After You Enter Through the Door”. Jesus Christ said in John 10:9, “I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.”
Until next time, May the Lord Bless You!