This particular selection is from Adrian Rogers. His advice is short and simple but wise. Enjoy!
Filling Legitimate Desires Illegitimately
"The devil is a pervert. He cannot create things himself. He can only take things God has created and twist them. We sin when we give in to the devil's temptations and try to fulfill legitimate God'-given desires in an illegitimate way. For example, food is a God-given necessity, but gluttony is a sin.
Sex within a loving marriage is a God-given blessing, but adultery is sin. Having and enjoying material things is a God-given privilege, but pride, dishonesty, stealing, greed and selfishness are sins. When we are tempted, we need to figure out what legitimate desire the devil is trying to pervert. Then we need to find God's way to fulfill that desire legitimately. If we do that we will have no itch the devil can scratch.
Rather than always trying not to sin, we ought to turn our focus in another direction -- on finding our satisfaction in the Lord Jesus Christ. I think parents, pastors, school teachers and youth workers make this mistake with young people. We try to keep our young people from doing wrong. If you've ever tried to take a bone away from a dog, you know that's a good way to get bit. The way to do it is to lay a piece of red meat in front of the dog. He will drop the bone in order to grab the meat. We need to show young people how they can get their needs legitimately fulfilled in the Lord Jesus Christ. Then they won't have to guard the bones."
It is helpful, as he points out, to remember that "sin" is often nothing more than seeking to meet legitimate needs in illegitimate ways. It is to meet them prematurely, in excess, or outside the boundaries God has set for their enjoyment or exercise, The particular need is not evil, nor is the fulfillment of that need when met in a godly fashion. The "sin" lies in the inappropriate way we go about seeking to meet holy, God-given and legitimate needs. For more often than not, the devil's temptation (or perversion) is to tempt us to partake before we should, consuming more than we should, in a way that violates how we should -- thereby dishonoring the wise and good purposes of God in creation.
In the Bonds of Gospel Fellowship, Pastor Jeff