7th April 2011

Temptation

“Stay alert; be in prayer so you don’t wander into temptation without even knowing you’re in danger. There is a part of you that is eager, ready for anything in God. But there’s another part that’s as lazy as an old dog sleeping by the fire.”
Matthew 26:41 (MSG)

Oscar Wilde said, “I can resist anything but temptation.” That seems humorous to non-Christians, but this is deadly serious, and not to be treated lightly by true believers.

Temptation is a problem faced by every Christian, including the first ‘Christian’, Jesus Christ. Jesus was tempted during his forty-day fast in the desert, found in Matthew, chapter four, and I often wonder which of the three temptations was the most difficult to resist:

Bread—(Matthew 4:1-4 Following scriptures all KJV) Jesus was near to starving, so perhaps this was most difficult to resist?

Pride—(Matthew 4:5-7) Proving we are right and showing up others is a great temptation.

Power—(Matthew 4:8-10) Would you be sorely tempted by the chance to rule the world? Many world leaders become corrupted by a desire for power and they then begin to think that laws do not apply to them. Jesus knew God’s will, and refused to exchange power for authority! As it turned out, Jesus will soon rule the world when he returns to earth as King of kings, having defeated Satan during his life and death on earth and received all power and authority (Matthew 28:18).

The first to be tempted was Eve in the Garden of Eden, when she succumbed to the idea that she could decide right and wrong. The whole of one’s life could be considered a test of our obedience to God’s will, so what I say to myself when I am faced with temptation is, “You don’t need it, you’re better off without it.”

It is better to do God’s will than enjoy the fleeting pleasures of the world, as Moses chose in the Old Testament (Hebrews 11:25), “Choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season;” And in Titus 2:11-12 (NIV) we read, “For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men. It teaches us to say ‘No’ to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age.”

All of these temptations that Christ endured, may tempt our allegiance—our worship must be to God, not food, power, pride or any other person. James 4:7 says, “Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” We are told to put first the Kingdom of God in Matthew 6:33, and this must be the most important thing in our lives. If we do this then nothing can separate us from God’s love (Romans 8:35-39).

Temptation comes from our own lust or desires, as it says in James 1, but the temptation itself is not a sin: It is the acting on, or giving in to temptation that may be sin.  James 1:15 reads, “Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.” Verse 13 adds, “Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man” and shows us that God does not lead us into temptation. He does not want us to fail. God does not try to trip us up. He is impervious to evil, and puts evil in no one’s way, as it is worded in the The Message Bible.

Prayer
Dear Father, help me to resist Satan the devil and  say ‘No’ to temptation, that I may always do your will.
Amen

Study by Phil Stilliard 

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