Wednesday, May 18, 2016

The Nature of Temptation

Chuckle: "What did George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, and Christopher Columbus have in common? They were all born on holidays."
Ponder This Quote: "Temptation yielded to is lust deified, and is a proof that it was timidity that prevented the sin before." --Oswald Chambers
"Be careful! Watch out for attacks from the Devil, your great enemy. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for some victim to devour" (I Peter 5:8 NLT).
Temptation is not sin. Sin occurs when we yield to temptation. Temptation is defined as Satan's attempt to get a person to do, or want to do, something that is forbidden by God. If Satan can get you, as a believer, to yield to temptation and lead you into sin, he has effectively neutralized you as an instrument of God in your church and your community. Satan knows he can never snatch you away from the protection of God's love; but if he can entice you into sin and cause you to lose the joy and excitement of your salvation, he has rendered you of no use to God and His work.
We must understand that temptation is never from God. "When tempted, no one should say, 'God is tempting me.' For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone . . . (James 1:13 NIV). How then does Satan go about tempting us? He uses many different approaches, but one of his favorites is to isolate you from other Christians -- to get you to stop attending church and worshiping in fellowship with God's people. Other Christians serve to encourage us, strengthen us, pray for us, and generally hold us accountable for our actions.
If you have seen how a lion stalks its prey, you can visualize how Satan tempts us to sin. The lion first picks out a weak antelope and begins to patiently stalk it and waits until he can isolate it from the protection of the herd, then closes in for the kill. We become easy prey when we disassociate ourselves from the protection/strength of fellow believers.
Like the lion, Satan always attacks you where you are the weakest. Is there some particular sin in your life that you have a hard time overcoming? Is there a recurring illicit thought or desire that you cannot keep out of your mind? Do you find yourself desiring to succumb to temptation in that area of weakness? You can be certain that such temptation is Satan's way of enticing you to sin. Here's how the process works. "But each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed. Then after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; . . . (James 1:14-15 NIV).
We all are tempted. Even Jesus was tempted. "For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are -- yet was without sin" (Hebrews 4:15 NIV). Temptation is not something we can deal with and put behind us once and for all. Even if you are successful in resisting a temptation in a particular circumstance, rest assured Satan will keep coming back and tempting you over and over again in your weakest areas. Resisting temptation is a life-long battle for a Christian. "When the Devil had finished tempting Jesus, he left him until the next opportunity came" (Luke 4:13 NLT). Satan is watching for his next opportunity to tempt each of us.
Love, Jerry & Dotse


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