God delivers us from sin by delivering us to righteousness.
"Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labor, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth" (Ephesians 4:28).
Spirituality and morality do not exist in a vacuum. The thief not only stops stealing when he comes to the Lord Jesus Christ. He also becomes a giver. All temptation is overcome by this process of God's working in us to replace flesh with spirit, darkness with light, evil with good, death with life, selfishness with love. We do well to consider this way of the Holy Spirit regarding the particular temptations that challenge our walk with the Lord. He works in us to reveal the person, character, and nature of the Lord Jesus as the spiritual substitute for whatever fleshly impulses and inclinations tempt us.
This requires prayerful consideration and response on our part. What of Christ might we need to "put on" in order to "put off" the ways of our former unregenerate selves? (Ephesians 4:22-24). Suppose we are frequently tempted to fear and insecurity. Succumbing to such temptation violates many commands of the Scriptures, including the Apostle Paul's mandate: "Be careful (anxious) for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God which passeth all understanding shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus" (Philippians 4:6-7). Note that there is much for us to do within our hearts and minds if God's peace is to govern our consciousness. Prayer, supplication (request), and thanksgiving must be performed in order to experience the Lord's promise. Such inward activity serves as the replacement for contrary thoughts and emotions that tempt us to fear. Indeed, a heart busy in communion with its Heavenly Father leaves little room for insecurity and fright to have their evil sway. "When I cry unto Thee, then shall mine enemies turn back: this I know; for God is for me" (Psalm 56:9).
The same dynamic way of the Spirit applies to all temptation. The Lord Jesus Himself countered the devil's enticements by replacing their tempting influence with "It is written" (Matthew 4:4; 7; 10). We must do the same as we put off by putting on. Whatever challenges we face will be overcome as we access the indwelling character and nature of Christ in order to replace fleshly impulses, attitudes, words, habits, and actions. Yes, our Heavenly Father delivers us "from" by delivering us "to."
"Walk in the Spirit and ye shall not fulfill the lusts of the flesh."
"Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers."
Weekly Memory Verse
Give us help from trouble, for vain is the help of man.
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