For Grace And Strength To Resist Temptations
Growing in Grace
“But grow in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.”* (2 Peter 3:18) To grow in grace we must necessarily grow also in the knowledge of Jesus. We should get no stronger in the grace of God if we did not get to know Him better. This is a command, or an expression of God’s will to us.
Think of it! God wills you to grow in grace; and if you are not growing in grace, you are not accomplishing God’s will. This is a weighty matter. Growing in grace includes more than the pleasure and the benefit of your own improvement; God is grieved if you are not growing. A parent is grieved if his child does not grow.
On this subject there are a few points we wish to consider. They are:
- What is grace?
- What are not evidences of growing in grace?
- How to grow in grace.
- Some evidences of growth in grace.
1. What is grace?
The common brief definition of grace is favor, but this is too brief to be comprehensive. Grace is the favor of God to us. It is His good will. It is an impartation of strength from God. We are saved by grace.
This is the favor, or goodwill, of God and also the influence of the Spirit renewing the heart and imparting life to the soul. The apostle says, “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.
”* (Philippians 4:13) By the strengthening grace of Christ he could do all things. His grace is sufficient to help bear trials and afflictions. God gives us grace to resist temptation, to endure afflictions, and to be conquerors over sin and Satan.
We are commanded to be strong in the grace which was in Christ Jesus. It is God’s grace that enables us to do, and it is His grace that makes us what we are.
2. What are not evidences of growth in grace
Growing in knowledge is not a sure proof that we are growing in grace. You cannot grow in grace without having a greater knowledge of God, but you can gain a knowledge of God and not grow in grace.
Some have concluded they were better Christians, were stronger in grace, and were more highly pleasing to God because they had learned more about the Bible and about what constitutes true Christian living.I am acquainted with people that know much about God, the Bible, and the plan of salvation, and yet have no grace at all. Be not deceived. That you know better how Christians should live is no sure evidence that you are growing in grace.
That you can pray longer and testify or preach better, or be more eloquent and forward and active in these duties and have less embarrassment in their performance, is not sure evidence of your growing in grace. By mere practice and human effort one can make improvement in all these ways.
3. How to grow in grace
This is of greatest interest to the Christian. The farmer wants to know all he can about how to grow the largest crop of grain; and the more valuable the crop, the more studious he is to know how to grow it.
The stockman desires to know how to promote the growth of his animals. To that end he studies books and experiments. The more valuable an animal is, the more careful he is that it should make good growth. The Christian desires to know how to grow in grace.
Someone may say, “I do know how.” I have met farmers who knew much about farming, but I have never met one such farmer that was not eager to know more.
A farmer that thinks he knows all about farming and needs not to know any more does not know anything as he ought to know it. All true, wide-awake Christians are eager to know how to grow in grace.
To grow in grace, the conditions for growth must be complied with. The sincere milk of the word must be desired. There can be no growth without this. The word of God produces growth in grace as naturally as food promotes physical development. You must eat God’s word.
This is the only food that contains all the elements necessary for symmetrical Christian growth. We read, “I commend you to God, and to the word of his grace, which is able to build you up.”* (Acts 20:32) It is the word of grace that will build you up into a strong pillar in the kingdom of God.
You must feed on the word of His grace, upon the sincere milk of His word.
The Christian can no more grow in grace; he can no more get to be Jesus or have a closer walk with Him, without feeding frequently and bountifully upon God’s word, than the child can grow as He should without eating the foods so necessary to growth.But it seems I hear someone saying, “I have not time.” Then you cannot grow. Oh! why will people make such an excuse to themselves? Is growth in grace worth nothing to your soul? Do you not regard God’s will or pleasure? I pray God to awaken you your indifference and fire your heart with desire to be built up in the grace of God.
Read the Bible daily, thoughtfully, prayerfully, devouringly. Read it believingly. If you believe it fully, then it becomes a truth in your heart. Suppose we open the Bible to the forty-sixth Psalm and read, “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.”* (Psalm 46:1) Believing this fully, makes you strong; you can face any danger; you can conquer any foe.
When we implicitly believe the first verse, then the second one becomes our own experience—“Therefore will not we fear.”* (Psalm 46:2) Though all things around us are crumbling, we sweetly rest in God. Remember, you must daily feast upon the word of God if you would grow in grace. This will require time. You cannot get food for your soul from the word of God by hurriedly reading a chapter.
You must meditate upon it and get it down into your heart by believing it fully. It seems I am so unable to say what I feel is needful to be said that many of my dear readers might be made to understand the need of taking plenty of time to feast upon the Scriptures.
In the early morning take time to be alone with God, and in the twilight hour, oh! do take time to commune with Him who loves you and is all to you.
Another condition of growth in grace is perfect obedience to all the word and will of God. Be careful not to grieve or quench the Spirit of God. The Holy Spirit is the medium through which life from God flows into and through the soul.
Close up those little channels in the young oak through which flows the life-giving sap, and what will be the result? You will meet with the same result in your spiritual being if you grieve the Spirit of God. If you refuse to do what the Holy Spirit is calling on you to do, you lose grace.
If the Spirit of God is speaking to your heart and mind to visit that poor sick man, to give of your means for the cause of Christ, or to fast for the needy and the work of God, you will degenerate if you do not obey.If you have a desire to grow in grace, see to it that you are active in every Christian duty. But you are not to be active in Christian duty for the mere purpose of growth. The child is not active in its play for the mere purpose of growing, but is simply following out the law of life, and growth is the result.
In being active in Christian duties, you are merely obeying the law of spiritual life in your inner being, and the result is growth. We do not, as I have said in a previous chapter, gain heaven merely by good works, and yet we must work as if we did thereby gain heaven. Many today are deceived.
They think they are Christians and growing in grace because they are active in church work, etc. It is not our works that makes us Christians; we must have life in the soul—the life of God. As well take up the dead body of a child and walk it about to bring it into life as to think of becoming a Christian by good works.
All the performances of a jumping-jack will not bring it into life, for it is a dead body. All the activity in church-work of a dead sinner will never bring him into life. But when a child is born into life, then in obedience to a law of that life it exercises, and the result is growth.
The dead professor or the sinner must be born of the Spirit into spiritual life; then in obedience to a law of that life he is active in every Christian duty, and growth is the result.
Let us open your Bible to Galatians and read, “And let us not be weary in well doing; for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.
As we have herefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith.
”* (Galatians 6:9-10) To refuse to do good to all men or to any man as we have opportunity is to grieve the Holy Spirit and to lose grace the soul.
Another requisite for growth is intense earnestness. The only effectual way to increase in the grace of God is to be deeply interested in the things of God. It is folly to expect to grow in grace if you are unconcerned about the cause of God.If you are not intently interested in the salvation of souls and are not doing all you can to save them, you can make no progress in spiritual life. There is a great lack of interest in the salvation of souls. I have been in homes where were many ornamental and expensive things which told me of an awful blindness to God’s will.
Oh! how can men love souls and be interested in them as Jesus was and spend money for unnecessary things?
Of how to grow in grace this is the sum.
- Read the word of God daily, prayerfully, devouringly.
- Be deeply interested in the cause of God and the salvation of souls.
- Be prompt to obey the commandments of the Bible and the leading of the Holy Spirit.
- Be active in every possible Christian duty.
- “Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints.”* (Ephesians 6:18)
4. Some evidences of growth in grace
Experiencing greater joy in acts of self-denial for the good and benefit of others is an evidence of growing in the grace of God. Look closely for a moment into your own heart. As sure as you are growing in grace, so sure do you find greater joy in denying self for the welfare and the happiness of others and for the cause of God.
You cannot have this fact too thoroughly impressed upon your mind and heart. Some are so full of grace that it is a joy to them to give to the poor or to the cause of God the last cent they have. They deprive themselves of luxuries and sometimes even of the necessities of life, that they may do something for Jesus and perishing souls.
Another evidence of growing in grace is getting farther from the world. To comprehend what is meant by being dead to the world is very difficult for many.
It may sound hard and harsh to some, but nevertheless I am sure that many do not know what a complete death to the world implies.
They have too much mind and thought about the world and too much communing with it. Only God can help people to see.
Another evidence of growing in grace is having more implicit faith in God and a stepping out on His promises with a feeling of security. You have less fear of any earthly evil. You do not fear “for the terror by night; nor for the arrow that flieth by day; Nor for the pestilence that walketh in darkness; nor for the destruction that wasteth at noonday.”* (Psalm 91:5-6)
Each person has an individual self-life though he be sanctified wholly. In this self-life lies a sensibility. By this sensibility I meant affections, desires, feelings, emotions, etc. These desires and feelings, it may be, overcome the will, and the purpose of God is not accomplished.For instance, your good judgment may decide that you should give a certain sum of money to the poor, but your feelings rebel. Your feelings, or emotions, may cause you to do some things sometimes to attract attention or to appear a little better than you may really be, but you do not will it so.
Now, growing in grace is for the will to gain more power and these feelings to be lessened in power. Some persons, though sanctified, yet because of a peculiarity of their constitution easily give way to lightness, some to impatience. Some are much hurt when spoken ill of, and others have feelings of pleasure when they are well spoken of.
To grow in grace is to gain power in the soul and to overcome and still the voice of these feelings.
Still another evidence of growth in grace is becoming more consciously impressed with the mercies of God. You have a deeper sense of gratitude in your heart to God for His goodness. If you are growing in grace and are flourishing as the palm tree, you will become more deeply affected in your heart by the goodness and the mercy of God, and are gaining a closer walk with God.
10 Steps to Resisting Evil and Online Temptation
For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; but each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed. – James 1:13-14, NIV
a modern-day postcard of James’ letter to the 12 tribes, this picture communicates profound wisdom. The message is increasing relevant and desperately needed in this wired world. If you spend a good portion of time on the Internet, how you receive and respond to it may be the difference between living out your faith online and losing it.
Your ears, eyes, and mouth are portals to the soul and every day, you decide how to regulate what goes in and what comes out. How many times have you done an innocent Google search and among the results you find something far different from what you intended? Exactly.
The Real Danger
You need to understand dear one, you’re only a click or two away from content that is dangerous and deadly. When you entertain temptation online, the enemy drags you to the place where evil desires are conceived, sin is born, and destruction follows.
For example, consider the impact of Internet pornography. It delivers one of the deadliest assaults with its gripping addiction. The consequences include abnormal desires, wrecked relationships, fallen leaders, and shattered lives.
The research on pornography released several years ago is painfully disturbing. It’s heartbreaking to sort through the statistics. And even though in June of 2011, it was reported that social media activity has displaced porn as the top online activity – don’t be deceived or fooled.
The dangers remain real and more life-threatening than ever.
No different from any other mission field, when you’re online you must be aware of the terrain and fully present to avoid the traps.
- Take action now.
- Ask the Holy Spirit to build a firewall of protection around you and your family.
- Execute this ten-point power plan for resisting evil and overcoming temptation.
- Memorize these scriptures and be infused with Divine power and strength.
#1. Know the Word. I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you. – Psalm 119:11
#2. Clean house. Therefore get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is prevalent and humbly receive the word that was planted in you, which can save you. – James 1:21
#3. Confess sin. He who conceals his sins does not prosper, but whoever confesses and renounces them finds mercy. – Proverb 28:13
#4. Receive forgiveness. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. – I John 1:9
#5. Profess faith. Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has ascended into heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess.
For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin.
Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need. – Hebrews 4:14-16
#6. Suit up. Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. – Ephesians 6:10,11,16
#7. Stand guard. Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings. I Peter 5:8,9
#8. Submit and resist. Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you – James 4:7
#9. Sprint to the exit. So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall! No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it. – I Corinthians 10:12,13
#10. Give praise for the victory. God is greater than all evil. You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world. – I John 4:4
How are you guarding your heart and resisting online temptations?
Editor’s note: If you struggle with temptation in the area of sexuality or pornography, we encourage you to reach out to Celebrate Recovery to find a recovery ministry in your area, and consider getting additional help from online sources.