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September 13, 2023 · Bob Gass

Handling temptation (2) 

“The joy of the Lord is your strength.” Nehemiah 8:10 NIV  

Ever notice when you’re hungry, everything on the menu looks good? Similarly, when your soul is dissatisfied, sin looks tempting. That’s why you must always be spiritually self-aware and monitor your level of soul satisfaction. On the dashboard of your car are lights that tell you how hot the engine is running or when you’re about to run out of oil. They’re sometimes referred to as “idiot lights,” because only an idiot would ignore them. The main light on the dashboard of your heart is your “soul satisfaction” light. That’s why in the Bible there are so many scriptures that call us to joy: “The joy of the Lord is your strength.” “You will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand” (Psalm 16:11 NIV). “With joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation” (Isaiah 12:3 NIV). “Ask and you will receive, and your joy will be complete” (John 16:24 NIV). So why do otherwise intelligent people keep getting snared? Because when we’re dissatisfied with our lives, we’re vulnerable to temptation. And the deeper our level of discontent, the more susceptible we are. We were made for soul satisfaction; we can’t live without it. And if we don’t find it in our relationship with God, we will look for it in all the wrong places. Paul says, “The kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit” (Romans 14:17 NIV). Note the words “joy in the Holy Spirit.” The secret to joy lies in Spirit-directed living – it always has, and it always will.

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