You’d think a man with a vault-full of money, fame, talent, who appears to have it all -- including being the highest paid player in Major League history, wouldn’t resort to cheating. Yet, he did, along with several other players and professional athletes seeking to maintain their status.
I call it the “Delusional Syndrome” -- with fame and fortune come an illusion of control and power. Money can change people. It can make them think they are above reproach, above the law, the league and that there’s nothing that a signed blank check can’t solve. This syndrome makes grown men act like over-privileged and entitled children. Here’s one way to remember it:
- Money can produce a false sense of control
- Control leads to pride.
- Pride leads to sin.
Actually I can sympathize with celebrities and professional athletes. Our culture treats them like gods, worshiping them by seeking their autographs, photographs, endorsements, hanging posters of them on walls. Often the “celebrity” becomes their identity, and their identity becomes their character, which leads to moral compromise because they think they can borrow trouble without repercussions. This is the “Don’t You Know Who I Am?” syndrome and a precursor for a titanic fall.
Without faith, and a relationship with God, it’s only human for a man to seek ways to stay on top of his game, and utilize his resources, even compromise his integrity.
But before we look down our noses or judge let’s get one thing straight: we’re all vulnerable. That’s why, I’m so thankful this passage of scripture is in the Bible for God’s man. Read Romans 7 where the writer Paul laments about doing the very things he does not want to (ex. sin), although he knows it is wrong. Then he sums it up in verse 25 saying “Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord.”
This passage makes it clear to me that God knows we are only “human” and fall to temptation even when we know it’s wrong. That’s our gracious God at work!
Although I’m grateful for this passage, there’s a lesson here to learn about beating cheating. How do you resist temptation?
In Luke 4, Jesus showed us. He was tempted with power, fame, and fortune while wandering through the hot desert without food. Not sure our circumstances can get any tougher.
- Be filled with the strength of the Spirit.
- Use the power of the Word of God.
When Satan dangled temptations in front of Jesus, our Lord replied steadfastly and quoted scripture that directly applied.
Without spiritual strength and knowledge of the Word, it’s like walking into a battle with a squirt gun. How did Jesus resist? Answering with the Word. So you too, have to be filled with the Spirit, and know God’s word.
Tips to Beating Cheating
When faced with a temptation to cheat, or any other temptation, think of a Customs Agent reviewing your passage into the country. First, they stop you from proceeding. Then they ask and assess your reasons for entering, and finally accept or reject your desire to cross.
It’s the same with facing a temptation:
- Stop and recognize it’s a temptation. That comes with strength from the Spirit.
- Ask yourself if it’s what God wants. Refer to the Bible on the topic. What verse applies?
- Decide to accept or reject the thought.
- Speak the Word of God out loud on the matter and in the moment.
Beating cheating requires you manage your mind. Sin starts on the inside. Take every thought captive and examine it before deciding.
Psalm 37:31says, “The righteous man utters wisdom, the law of their God is in his heart; and his feet do not slip.”
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Kenny Luck, founder and president of Every Man Ministries, is the men’s pastor at Saddleback Church, and has a great deal of experience in leading men through their walk with God. His program Sleeping Giant empowers men to take the experience of a men’s ministry and bring it to their own communities. Watch Kenny’s teachings at EveryManMinistries.com.