A culture of prediction and the temptations of the flesh

A culture of prediction

One thing that baffles me is all of the predicting our society does. I sort of understand why they do it in sports because of gambling. I really don't understand why people try to predict what is going to happen if they don't gamble. Whenever anyone asks me, "Who do you think is going to win?" I reply, "I don't know who will win but I'm going to pull for (insert the team that I am going to pull for)." I just don't see the joy in predicting.

This morning the newsites are in a prediction frenzy. John Kerry is going to select his running mate. It won't be announced till 9:00. That link will have a different headline then because predictions are worthless after the fact. This culture of prediction baffles me, especially when the time of arrival is this close. Now, predicting when the little aliens from Saturn's moon Titan will arrive - that interests me. I'm going for December 31, 2099, because Titanians are really into the American dating system and love our New Year's celebrations. In case you don't know it, they are the one's that gave us the ball to drop on Time's Square. From the French we received the statue of liberty; from the Titanians the ball. Our government can't let people know because we aren't officially acknowledging their existence.

For those that think I might be serious about the Titanians, I'm not. Sarcasm doesn't come across as well on the internet. Maybe I'll start using italics for my sarcasm. Okay. That's what I'll do. Sarcasm is now in italics. Actually I'll go back and use it earlier in this post. How does that look?

For most people that would be enough to post, but not so for me. I'm just warming up the fingers.

Temptations of the Flesh

During my study for these posts, one verse that seems to show all of the different types of things that causes us to sin and fall away is the parable of the sower.

(Mark 4:14-20 NASB) ""The sower sows the word. {15} "And these are the ones who are beside the road where the word is sown; and when they hear, immediately Satan comes and takes away the word which has been sown in them. {16} "And in a similar way these are the ones on whom seed was sown on the rocky places, who, when they hear the word, immediately receive it with joy; {17} and they have no firm root in themselves, but are only temporary; then, when affliction or persecution arises because of the word, immediately they fall away. {18} "And others are the ones on whom seed was sown among the thorns; these are the ones who have heard the word, {19} and the worries of the world, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the desires for other things enter in and choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful. {20} "And those are the ones on whom seed was sown on the good soil; and they hear the word and accept it, and bear fruit, thirty, sixty, and a hundredfold.""

In this passage we have Satan coming and preventing someone from understanding the gospel. We also have a guest appearance affliction and persecution (outsides events that I would consider forms of temptation) coming and causing people to "fall away". Now, I know in some denomenations we can't use that phrase, but the Bible used it here so I thought I could to (notice in case you didn't read above - italics are now sarcasm). And then we have the grand entry of our flesh where "the worries of the world, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the desires for other things enter in and choke out the word."

I missed the verses in there on demon possession.
(Okay, now I might be getting carried away with this sarcasm. This is the first time I can use it, so I'm excited about it.)

Since we're going to be talking about the flesh, I figured it is useful to know the Greek word we are going to be discussing. It is time to whip out my fancy, dancy reference source, The NT Word Study website.

Here is the definition for the word, "'FLESH' FIGURATIVELY REFERING TO A HUMAN BEING, OR A HUMAN BODY, including that of Jesus Christ: The distinction between "flesh" referring to a human vs. "flesh" representing a human characteristic can be seen in 2Co.10.3 where sarx is used twice, in both a literal and a figurative sense. Note that the NIV does not truly translate "sarx," but "interprets" it with the words, "sinful nature." Why not rather let the reader decide what "flesh" means, rather than impose a human "interpretation?" Actually, figurative usage of sarx often represents a person's "sensory-being" or "soul" (5590 psuche), NOT "sinful nature." Psuche used in this sense is much broader in meaning than "sinful nature," denoting that part of a human which controls the operation of the body, directing its involuntary body controls and feeling its desires and needs.

FLESH appears in (98) Mt.16.17; 24.22; 26.41. Mk.13.20; 14.38. Lk.3.6. Jn.1.13,14; 3.6,6; 8.15; 17.2. Act.2.17,26. Rom.1.3; 2.28; 3.20; 4.1; 6.19; 8.3b,3c,5b; 9.3,5,8; 11.14; 13.14. 1Co.1.26,29; 7.28; 10.18; 15.50. 2Co.1.17; 4.11; 5.16,16; 7.1,5; 10.3a; 11.18. Gal.1.16; 2.16,20; 3.3; 4.13,14,23,29; 5.13,16,17,17,19,24; 6.8a, 12,13. Eph.2.3,3,11,11,14; 5.29; 6.5,12. Php.1.22,24; 3.3,4,4. Col.1.22,24; 2.1,5,11,13; 3.22. 1Ti.3.16. Phm.16. Heb.2.14; 5.7; 9.10,13; 12.9. Jas.5.3. 1Pe.1.24; 3.18,21; 4.1,1,2,6. 2Pe.2.18. 1Jn.2.16; 4.2. 2Jn.7. Jud.7,8.

So now onto some of the verses.

(Mat 26:41 NASB) "Keep watching and praying, that you may not enter into temptation; the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak."

When we talk about sin sometimes we feel helpless. That should not be the case. Here we are given two things that we can do to help prevent falling into the temptation that our weak flesh will give way to. We need to keep watching and praying. I think Socrates bold statement, "The unexamined life is not worth living," is true when it comes to the flesh. If we do not stay vigilant and keep a watch over our life and what is around us, we will place ourselves into situations where we will not be able to overcome the temptations around us.

Remember God's promise in Corinthians. (1 Cor 10:13 NASB) "No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, that you may be able to endure it."

God will not allow us to be tempted more than we can bear. But God will not remove your free will and stop you from throwing yourself at temptation, even if you're doing it unkowingly. We need to examine our life and our surroundings in order to remove the temptations that we place ourselves into so that we can be the people God intends for us to be. Many of us, and myself probably included, need to examine our lives and see the sin in them. A healthy church would help us do this. An unhealthy church would just let us wallow in our sin and declares through their actions that our spiritual lives are personal. How I long to be back in a church where people actually cared for me and I wasn't just another face. I really don't think anyone at my present church even knows who I am spiritually. I hope small groups can change this, but I don't think any program can do what Christians should just be doing as a result of the Spirit living in them. But I digress.

The second part of prevention is prayer. Prayer is a subject matter in its own right. We need to be people of prayer. This is something I struggle with. I wake up in the morning and start doing something right away. My dedicated prayer time is nearly gone. Personally, I need to rededicate myself to this. Shooting up prayers throughout the day is no substitute for a time completely dedicated to God. I've focused on living a life of prayer, but during that process I somehow removed the set aside time of dedicated prayer.

I've tried to find a good online resource for praying in the morning, but they were all crap. If you know of a good resource that tells of Bible verses on morning prayer, please let me know of it. I know Jesus was focused on a morning prayer time. And in a sermon I heard on t.v. yesterday, the preacher mentioned Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Moses as being focused on it. But I tried to use my handy concordance and couldn't find the verses in question. Maybe one of you readers out there have already done this study. If so, could you please send it to me?

I'm done for the day. In an attempt to keep my blog shorter for your daily reading pleasure, to start a morning prayer time, and Lindsay's desire to take a morning family walk, I must begin to write less.

Watch out for the potholes.