God created us with physical desires like hunger, thirst, and sex; they enable us to live and function here on earth. It is when we try to satisfy these natural desires apart from God that we get into trouble. We cheat and steal to get what our bodies crave, or we selfishly try to keep others from having them; or we engage in sex outside of a covenant of marriage—which is God’s plan. These uncontrolled wrongful actions get us into trouble–with other people and with God. To rationalize our actions, we tend to make excuses such as: It’s the other person’s fault. I couldn’t help it—I’m only human. Everybody else is doing it. Nobody’s perfect. The devil made me do it. Or even God is tempting me. The biblical writer James (chapter 1) assures us that God cannot be tempted. James defines three stages of satanic temptation: we desire, we sin, and we die. The way to overcome sinful habits is to invite Jesus Christ into one’s life, and then depend upon God’s Spirit to transform our inner desires. When we accept Christ, the Holy Spirit comes to live inside of us, As we submit to Him, He gives us the willpower to say no to sin and yes to right behavior.

Dr. Melvin E. Banks, Sr. is the founder and chairman of UMI (Urban Ministries, Inc.). Under his direction, UMI has grown to be a leading publisher of Christian education resources for churches in the African American community. Read More

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