August 30, 2023
Every human is tempted to sin, including every follower of Jesus. David and Karen mains discuss the power that God has given believers to deal with temptation by clinging to this truth: “When tempted, remember that Satan’s desire is to destroy you, your opportunity is to overcome, and God’s promise is His presence.”
Satan’s desire is to destroy me. We all have those weak areas. I have areas I can think of where, if God weren’t really good to me, the enemy could have destroyed me. That’s really true. So, this is a reality that people are dealing with and I think we have to say exactly like you did. I didn’t know what you were going to say but you have to say this will destroy me if I’m not careful. I have to do battle. That’s where some people are right now who are listening to us, I believe.
David: A number of people listening to us this visit would do well to pay closer attention than normal to what we will say.
Karen: When we record a podcast, obviously we don’t know who will be listening to us. But we have been in ministry long enough to know that the percentage of people in any given group who will soon be tempted to sin is rather high.
Intro: Welcome to the Before We Go Podcast featuring Dr. David Mains and his wife, noted author Karen Mains. Here’s David and Karen Mains.
David: Karen, what kind of sins do we have in mind?
Karen: Oh, we’ve got the gamut in mind. Want to name a couple?
David: I think that stealing, I could name that.
Karen: But there are various ways of doing that. Cheating on how much time you put in on a job or we can spread that category out: lying, physically harming another person. Now that’s an interesting one. Do we do that? I think that we do that in ways where we cause contention. We don’t physically punch them in the face, but we sit there adrenaline high. It begins to function high and overproduce. And so, I think that migraines can happen in people. They can have high blood pressure rise when we have approached them in certain ways. So, we can physically harm people without punching them in the face.
David: I think that losing one’s temper, that’s something that a lot of people deal with. I sometimes say things I wish I hadn’t said in the language I wish I hadn’t used. Getting pretty close to cursing. Not always keeping cool and careful.
Karen: I think another one is the sin of pride. Now this comes out in a variety of ways. It can come out with “I’m better than other people” or “My ethnic group is much more advanced than other.” The prospect of racism is built on a kind of pride, an ethnic pride.
David: I think that we’ve gotten into kind of an endless list. There are a lot of temptations people face and a lot of times they move from temptation onto sinning.
Karen: Let me add one more because I think this is very common. It’s gossiping and we aren’t considering it to be gossip. We’re just talking about what’s wrong with that other person. I’m trying to work it out, but we tell it to others. So, it is a form of gossip. We can really fool ourselves in a lot of ways that we’re not sinning.
David: Karen, way, way back when I first started in ministry, I knew very little about speaking or preaching. But I had one sermon that I felt good about and it was my go-to sermon.
Karen: Your go-to sermon?
David: Yeah, whether it was a Yucca Price Club or whether it was a church.
Karen: You weren’t pastoring at that time.
Karen: You couldn’t have done that in a church obviously. But if you were invited to speak somewhere else, that was the one that you knew really reached your audiences.
David: Talk about sin. It gets very quiet. This is based on what back then was me reading the living letters. Ken Taylor had first started his paraphrasing. And this came from 1 Peter 5:8. “Be careful. Watch out for attacks from Satan, your great enemy. He prowls around like a hungry roaring lion looking for some victims to tear apart. Stand firm when he attacks. Trust the Lord and remember that other Christians around the world are going through these sufferings also.”
Okay, I then, from that passage, which is 1 Peter 5:8, 9, I came up with this. When you’re tempted, remember three things and I’ll give them to you. See if you have any recall. I know that when I started dating you, I was early on in terms of ministry as well.
Karen: I probably heard this quite a bit on those dating excursions that we’re really you, speaking somewhere. I was very impressed actually.
David: Remind yourself Satan’s desire is to destroy you. Your opportunity is to overcome. God’s promise is his presence and I try to unfold those. I felt it was a helpful sermon to others because I was struggling in my own life to say, how am I going to deal with these things as they come about? How many times did you listen?
Karen: I don’t have any idea. Why don’t you give the reference and then I’ll give a personal story about this.
David: Okay, it’s 1 Peter 5 verses 8 and 9. I’m reading from the Living Bible.
Karen: Of course, I had heard this sermon on a variety of occasions because I would often go with you when you did speak. But I remember early in our marriage we were in the apartment in the city we lived in the South Street in Chicago and an apartment building that has now been raised but it was right across from Lincoln Park and Lincoln Park and Chicago borders Lake Michigan was a lovely place to live.
David: Right across about a block away from Moody Church.
Karen: Yeah, you were working at Moody Church at the time. So, I had been struggling often on with depression. So, this is a young moment. I think we maybe had a couple of kids at the time. A depression for those who have never experienced it. It’s not just feeling bad about things. It kind of grows until it consumes you. And you can have days when you can’t shake it. You can’t get out of what’s kind of a cloud that’s come on over your mind. So, having heard your go-to sermon I began to realize that I had to apply those principles. Satan’s desire is to destroy you and I’ve had suicidal thoughts that accompanied that depression. I think that’s very common with people who are depressed. “Why don’t I just end it? This is not worth going through life like this.” And so, I began to say, “Okay, I have an enemy who wants to destroy me. I need to stand firm when he attacks.”
What does that mean? It means I don’t give way to those emotions. It means I resist. It means that I have a prayer that I developed, a plea to God will help me help me don’t let me go under with this. Don’t let him be able to consume my mind and my emotion.
David: Temptation is neutral. Jesus was tempted.
David: But he didn’t sin.
Karen: Everyone is tempted. So, Satan’s desire is to destroy you. Your opportunity is to overcome. So, I thought okay I’m going to see if this is really true. God’s promise is his presence. And so, I did battle royal with that thing. It was more than just an emotion. As I look back on it, there was something that was attempting to destroy me. And I began to think what would happen if I gave into depression. If I eventually committed suicide because those thoughts always accompany that. And I realized I would be bringing extraordinary grief to the people who loved me, the couple little children who have a mother who had ended her own life. I mean what does that do to the generations that follow.
David it was as though I was behind a door and there was something just shaking the door. I mean it was not just an emotional psychological experience. It felt very physical trying to get in and I was standing there with my back against it or saying “I’m not letting you in. God help me.”
Now I don’t know how long that particular incident went on but long enough to be an intense memory in my mind. And God’s promise is his presence. And I claim that you’ve promised your presence.
David has preached this all over. I am claiming your promise that you are present doing battle. I believe that you can help me get out of there. I don’t know how long that went on as I said. But all of a sudden that door that was rattling in my mind stopped. And I didn’t have a battle going on anymore. But this is what I want to say. Being prone to depression somewhat as a young woman, having battle like this that depression never came into my life ever again.
David: Sounds even unusual listening to you.
Karen: It does. And I can get a little low but not real low ever you don’t ever see me.
David: It’s not characteristic of you.
Karen: So, that was a work that God did in my life that has lasted for six decades of my whole life. That’s extraordinary.
David: Somebody listening to us is struggling.
Karen: Right, we know that.
David: So, what we want to say is, when that hungry roaring lion comes around, and we’ve been on safari on mission trips, you hear a lion roar, are you…
Karen: You know they’re there.
David: Yeah. You know they’re there. Your whole body reacts. And how close was that? That’s a fitting picture. So, I think all of us have whatever pheromones temptations are difficult for us…
Karen: There’s sort of default temptations that…
David: It’s like when the enemy really wants to get at you.
Karen: Take you down.
David: He goes back to those several that are really difficult for you.
Karen: Dave, I want to make clear that I’m not saying that if someone has a depressive pattern, they shouldn’t get help from trained psychological resources. Very often just having a group of friends you can tell that to, and they receive it in empathy and concern for you that also can help.
So, I’m not saying that those things aren’t often given to us to overcome these sorts of psychological tough places we hit when we’re human. But I am testifying to the fact that this scripture is true. And I have experienced it in my life to such an extent that as I said it’s been decades, I have never experienced that again.
David: I have a recurring experience in my life. In fact, I have one that I’m thinking about now with a given individual who’s going to come over and talk. And he’s really a fine man, but…
Karen: …you’re dreading it.
David: I am because we are very different. Not only different as far as personalities but just the way we approach everything.
Karen: He’s in ministry. So, his approach to ministry is different than yours. So, you don’t know how open he will be or if he has grievances that he wants to talk about.
David: I found, as I’ve been preparing, I need to say “Lord this is someone you love. I want to be open, and I want to treat this individual in a Christian way.” And then I find myself no, I don’t.
Karen: That door is banging again.
David: That’s exactly right. That lion is roaring again. Satan’s desire is to destroy me. We all have those weak areas. I have areas I can think of where, if God weren’t really good to me, the enemy could have destroyed me. That’s really true. So, this is a reality that people are dealing with and I think we have to say exactly like you did. I didn’t know what you were going to say but you have to say this will destroy me if I’m not careful. I have to do battle. That’s where some people are right now who are listening to us, I believe.
Karen: With difficult people who are in your life I think that your work to establish the right attitude. This is the person God loves. He’s made in God’s image. Everyone has differing opinions. What can I learn from him? What gifts can he bring to my life there? Unexpected. I don’t see them at this point in time. God I’m open to you working between us in ways I had not thought would happen.
David: If I don’t do as you say, Satan will use that to destroy me in certain ways and I have to be aware of that. So, my opportunity is to overcome. I think a lot of people when they’re tempted, they don’t understand that they can become a bigger person, a stronger person. Having battled with this and they can say now, that’s in my past. It’s not as though I’m not vulnerable in certain areas but as far as where I am right now that doesn’t hold the terror for me that it once held.
Karen: That’s not who I am anymore. You know God has grown me; he has changed me. That negative part of my personality has been dismissed. There’s no way of going back. God has worked.
David: Yeah, you’re not dealing with who I was eight years ago, 20 years ago, whatever. You’re dealing with who I am now, and God has made me a different person. A much better person. A flawed person to be sure. A person who gets blindsided sometimes. That’s all very much a part of the walk of life but you’re also looking at a stronger person.
Karen: Because his promise is his presence.
David: Well, that’s I’ve learned that as well. When you say his promise is his presence. I think I have to again go back to the place where you say These are very real difficulties.” I think of a temptation I was facing again. It was this interpersonal type of thing and I said to myself “I can’t get this out of my mind.” It is there and I said “I’m going to put it out.” I’m going to say “God help me to get rid of that so that I’m not thinking about it.” Next thing I know I’m walking around and there it is again. You’re doing battle in a spiritual sense and you’re saying “God promises his presence. Now Lord help me take this out of my mind, so I don’t think about it for two weeks before I even talk to the gentlemen.”
Karen: So, our listeners are many of them are having to work with these things as well. I met the stage in my life where I’m getting fragments of hymns in my memory that we sang when I was a child or a young woman growing up in conservative evangelical churches but I can’t remember the whole thing. So, this is the one that’s been coming to me recently. I had to look it up. in.
Be still, my soul; the Lord is on thy side; bear patiently the cross of grief or pain. Leave to thy God to order and provide; in every change He faithful will remain. Be still, my soul; thy best, thy heav’nly Friend through thorny ways leads to a joyful end.
Be still, my soul; thy God doth undertake to guide the future as He has the past. Thy hope, thy confidence let nothing shake; all now mysterious shall be bright at last. Be still, my soul; the waves and winds still know His voice who ruled them while He dwelt below.
David: A lot of times when I’m driving, an old hymn or a chorus will come back to me and I’ll sing it because nobody else is in the car and I think, “Wow, that’s a long time ago.” I can’t believe that, and I still remember those words.
Karen: Wonderful, isn’t it?
David: Yeah, it is a good thing. I have occasionally, not as much with the music side of it, but occasionally I will remember verses that I memorized. We always had to memorize like 25, 50 verses to go to.
Karen: Well, I did seven books of the Bible word perfectly for Youth for Christ’s Quizzing. I’ve never been more grateful than these late years, but those snatches of scripture keep coming back. Yeah.
David: They come back. So, how God will help. That depends on how you’re going to be open to him. Sometimes he will help because a friend comes at a given time. “How are you doing? I’m kind of struggling.” You know, when you talk and that friend, it says words to you like, “Just know this, I’m going to be praying for you.”
Karen: Yeah, let’s pray right now.
Karen: It’s wonderful.
David: It’s beautiful. So, God doesn’t just in a sense, all of a sudden, you know, my presence is gone, but he is there. He is there listening to you. He is there bringing to mind his thoughts and in strange ways such as, “Here’s a hymn you used to sing.” I thought, Karen, it would be fitting for us to pray for who those people are who are in the situation where the growling is going on, where the door is shaking.
Karen: Someone wants to get in. Someone wants to ruin you.
David: Yeah, exactly. So, Lord, I don’t know who this person is or who these people are, but I pray for them. I pray, Lord, that in a very real way they may experience what it is we’re talking about as a result of listening to this podcast. Satan’s desire is to destroy. We’re very aware of that. But we’re also the people who say, the one who is in me is greater than the one who is in the world. So, I have an opportunity. I can overcome that. I can be the winner. Lord, let that truth just be a wonderful realization for people. Even now, who are listening to our words, I pray for that individual, that man or that woman, whatever the age. And then, Lord, I don’t want to say something beyond what I believe, but when the scripture says that your promise is your presence, you are there, and we can call on you and you will give us help. There’s no temptation taking you but such as this common man, but God is faithful.
I love that. That’s a verse. I haven’t used that a long time, but that verse just comes back to me. And I pray it for the person who is listening. And so, I’m going to let Karen pray just so that both of our voices can be heard on behalf of the one who is listening to us.
Karen: Father, let whoever is listening to this podcast and struggling with this destructive foe help them to be incarnated with your presence through these words. You do that so frequently. We’ve been the recipients of that in our lives, and we believe that you will do that. So, we come to you and say thank you for who you are. Thank you that we can hold one another up before the throne of heaven, really, through our intercessory prayers. Thank you that you will work in listeners’ lives today and this week because they have heard this podcast. We pray this, Lord, in your name.
David: God be with you, friends.
Outgo: You’ve been listening to the Before We Go podcast. And if you would like to write to us, please send us an email at the following address, email@example.com. If you’ve enjoyed this podcast, please remember to rate, review, and share on whatever platform you listen. This podcast is copyright 2023 by Mainstay Ministries, Post Office Box 30, Wheaton, Illinois 60187.
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