How do you respond to temptations?

The first entry in this miniseries can be found here.
The previous entry in this miniseries can be found here.

If you’ve ever been depressed, you may have noticed it is more pronounced when you are caught in unrepentant sin. In addition, when you are caught in sin, you may have noticed it is easy to avoid praying. And, if you’ve ever avoided praying, you may have noticed it aggravates depression.

This is what makes David’s prayer in Psalm 141 of such importance for people who struggle with certain sins, who are depressed, or who find it difficult to find motivation to pray.

You see, not only was David on the run, scared for his life, but his friends who were on the run with him were asking him to strike down their chief pursuer. I’m sure this was a tempting situation for David. On the one hand, he could prove himself a strong leader to his men, end their persecution, and go home with nothing to worry about, or, on the other hand, he could prove himself a godly leader by not striking down the Lord’s anointed, allow the persecution to continue, and remain on the run for the foreseeable future.

Instead of just jumping to an action, David prays. He asks God to hear his prayer, proving the urgency of his prayer; he asks God to find his prayer pleasant, proving the reverence needed in prayer; and then he asks God to guard his mouth, with the intention that his prayer would continue to be reverent and that he wouldn’t sin with his mouth against the Lord’s anointed. And then he prays verse 4:

“Do not let my heart turn to any evil thing or perform wicked acts with men who commit sin. Do not let me feast on their delicacies” (Psalm 141:4).

David first asks here that his heart wouldn’t even desire to sin against Saul. He knows sin starts in the heart, and as such, he prays that God would keep him even from harboring anger at Saul (cf. Matthew 5:21-26; 15:17-19).

Second, David prays that he would not commit sin with those who commit sin. He doesn’t want to carry out the sinful inclinations of his heart. He wants to honor God with every part of him.

Third, David uses a figure of speech to describe the sinful temptations facing him. He calls them delicacies. He asks God that he not feast on them. He admits they look good, but he prays that God keep him from them.

This is truth. Temptations do look good. If we can honestly admit that, it will help us to have victory. We must pray, “Lord, I’d really like to do x right now. It sounds so good. Please help me to honor You.” There’s no use acting like it’s a disgraceful concept. Sin wouldn’t be tempting if it was truly disgusting. We must ask God to help us flee from feasting on delicacies.

Sin is real, and we must pray for God to help us flee. In addition, we must ask God to help our hearts not even desire sin.

The fact of the matter is that God is in control. He is sovereign. And as David’s prayer here shows, we have absolutely no hope for fleeing temptation if we don’t ask God to take control of us in our tempting times. Honestly, we must pray that God take control even before the tempting times come. If we don’t we are doomed.

In conclusion, we must pray, we must actively place our faith in God in tempting times so that we refrain from sin, and if we do this our focus will be on God, and depression will flee.

In this with you.

Soli Deo Gloria

The next entry can be found here.

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