Home » Sermon » 2 reasons not to face temptation

2 reasons not to face temptation

No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it, 1 Corinthians 10:13

A vital element missed from the Lord’s prayer
Matt 6:13a says:

And do not lead us into temptation,
But deliver us from the evil one

Then the other thing about temptation is in Jesus’ words when He was in the garden of Gethsemane. That was the most agonizing moment any human can go through. He was praying and asked the disciples to do the same thing but warning them of what exactly they should pray for. Read Matt 26:40-41:

 Then He came to the disciples and found them sleeping, and said to Peter, “What! Could you not watch with Me one hour?  Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak (Emphasis added).

From these two Scriptures we see that the truth that Jesus tried to teach us about temptation is that we are not supposed to even face it. I know a lot of speakers on the pulpit and in small groups teach that we are to overcome temptation, which is true, but it is even better to not go through temptation in the first place. You ask, how?

1) Understand that God is for you. In Romans 8:31 we read:

What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?

Also in Hebrews 13:5 we read:

Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you,” quoted from Deut 31:6, 8 and Joshua 1:5.

God is with you and for you which means as long as you spend time with Him, continually, not as part of a daily routine, then temptation should technically not exist!

2) Understand the enemy’s tactics. In 1 John 2:16 we read:

 For all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not of the Father but is of the world.

The New Living Translation breaks it down like this:

For the world offers only a craving for physical pleasure, a craving for everything we see, and pride in our achievements and possessions. These are not from the Father, but are from this world.

The two examples where the tactics were used: looking at Eden

These tactics are the exact same ones used by Satan all the time. In Genesis 3:1-6 you see it:

The serpent was the shrewdest of all the wild animals the Lord God had made. One day he asked the woman, “Did God really say you must not eat the fruit from any of the trees in the garden?”

The serpent was trying to get Eve to doubt God by questioning His command. His word clearly says, “Have faith in God,” Mark 11:22.

 2 “Of course we may eat fruit from the trees in the garden,” the woman replied. 3 “It’s only the fruit from the tree in the middle of the garden that we are not allowed to eat. God said, ‘You must not eat it or even touch it; if you do, you will die.’”

The reason why she said “you must not touch it” is because Adam relayed God’s command to her as a message. Even though God only said,  …“You may freely eat the fruit of every tree in the garden— except the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. If you eat its fruit, you are sure to die (Genesis 2:16-17), he received that as, “You should not go anywhere near it! Don’t touch it, think about it or have anything to do with it!” Hence he relayed that message to Eve.

4 “You won’t die!” the serpent replied to the woman. 5 “God knows that your eyes will be opened as soon as you eat it, and you will be like God, knowing both good and evil.”

This is where her pride was tested. Being like God was certainly something she had not thought about. Her doubt in God’s command at this point was settled.

6 The woman was convinced. She saw that the tree was beautiful (she craved what she saw-the lust of the eyes) and its fruit looked delicious (the craving for physical pleasure or lust of the flesh was tested), and she wanted the wisdom it would give her. So she took some of the fruit and ate it. Then she gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it, too.

Looking at Jesus
How did Jesus experience these tactics? Let’s look Matt 4:1-11

1 Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted there by the devil. 2 For forty days and forty nights he fasted and became very hungry.

3 During that time the devil came and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become loaves of bread.” (Here the lust of the flesh came into play)

4 But Jesus told him, “No! The Scriptures say,

‘People do not live by bread alone,
but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’” (Deut 8:3)

5 Then the devil took him to the holy city, Jerusalem, to the highest point of the Temple, 6and said, “If you are the Son of God, jump off! For the Scriptures say,

‘He will order his angels to protect you.
And they will hold you up with their hands
so you won’t even hurt your foot on a stone.’” (Psalm 91:11-12 quoted out of context!) [this one is tricky but the lust of the eyes came in the fact that being at the highest point of the Temple and in a situation where the misquoted Scripture could have affected Him, He may have craved seeing the angels help Him unnecessarily]. This was both a sly and poor attempt at the Son of God:

Sly because it may have degraded Jesus into proving who He already knew He was.
Poor because Jesus actually had no obligation to prove anything to Satan!

7 Jesus responded, “The Scriptures also say, ‘You must not test the Lord your God.’” (Deut 6:16)

8 Next the devil took him to the peak of a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. 9 “I will give it all to you,” he said, “if you will kneel down and worship me.”(this is clearly pride. In exchange for worship He was going to rule a world He already had authority over!).

10 “Get out of here, Satan,” Jesus told him. “For the Scriptures say,

‘You must worship the Lord your God
and serve only him.’” (Deut 6:13)

11 Then the devil went away, and angels came and took care of Jesus.

Final word
So those are examples of how the enemy tries to tempt us. As long as you know his tactics, what the Bibles calls his devices (2 Corinthians 2:11),  things should be a bit smoother for you here on earth. The next time you think of doing what you know you should not do-even if someone else is in this position-think about whether or not you/they are:

a) craving physical pleasure (obviously outside moral law)-the lust of the flesh
b) craving everything you see- lust of the eyes
c) seeking to be proud of your achievements and possessions-pride of life.

Can we blame God or Satan for our temptation? Find out in An autopsy of sin by Steven Sarff

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24 thoughts on “2 reasons not to face temptation

  1. Awesome post. Love the picture of the kid. Temptation is everywhere and God helps us by guiding us through principles to curb our enthusiasm to run quickly towards the wrong direction.

  2. An excellent post with some good thoughts. Sure, I have preached the need to resist the temptations but to not go through them in the first place is a fair thought. In addition to what you have posted and perhaps as a follow up blog, you might consider what James had to say about temptation (I recently wrote about it on my blog) and the benefits to resisting temptations when they do come anyway.

  3. That is where you have to look at the advantages and disadvantages. Who are you affecting? Is it really beneficial to you? Those are some things to think about. The problem with “good opportunities” is that they cause us to “crave everything we see.” That is why I proposed those questions and made that initial suggestion.

    Those with a good eye (prudent mind) will be able to see the right things at the right times, just as Ecclesiastes 9:11 points out. What are your thoughts concerning being tempted with “good opportunities”?

    • The way I see it, you’ve got to look at what you have before you and assess if what you have right now is working towards where you should be going. If where you are is in that path then any so-called “good opportunity” that is thrust in your face to take you away from that path is a temptation that should be chucked away swiftly as it is presented. You’ve got to think of the source of temptation…(the devil). Sometimes, people make errors in judgement because where they are at times maybe painful but necessary to get them to where the ought to be but when a “good opportunity” arises to relieve their pain…they fail to understand that the relief they recieve is temporal and rather costly if it derails you away from your destiny. I concur that there is that need of prudence and discernment in this area of temptation.

      • Now, what if you’ve been made an offer you can’t refuse? Suppose it is something you needed badly but it also bears heavy consequence.

  4. Think of the movie “The Devil’s Advocate” and remember the price. The Devil catches us in our most vulnerable points to wave such deals before us. Job had that happen to Him but he remained steadfast. It is possible to succumb to this scheme so in the end…that point of temptation will be a TRUE test of our level of Faith. That is why we must cultivate our Faith level to not compromise when something like that happens.

    • True. Good answer. Learning to say, “No,” though somewhat simple, apparently turns out to be harder than it looks! Put the person in the right situation and for some reason they can’t help themselves! Why do you think that is? Have you ever experienced the same thing? be honest 🙂

      • I’m always thrust with temptations in my life especially with job opportunities. I find that the worst temptations arose when I was going through a dry season where no opportunities presented themselves and I was stuck in a job that I couldn’t stand. I was tempted to leave it early because I utterly hated it. There were no job offers until I finally finished school and found my dream job. Now that I’m in my dream job there are offers flying from out of no where with significant wages and benefits. However, I know that although these jobs are as tempting as they seem, I can percieve that they are appearing at an opportunistic times to uproot me from a place I believe God has planted me to be. Such things can abort a persons destiny if they are not discerning the seasons in their lives. This is why people must be firm like a tree rooted to the ground rather than tossing in the wind like a leaf blowing wherever the wind calls them to be. What about you?

  5. Nightshade: I read the comments in my email box and as I read his question to you (an offer you can’t refuse) I said out loud, “Now you are just playing Devil’s advocate.” Then I read your response. Great minds think alike it seems.

    A few thoughts that might help in this good discussion. Define the terms:
    temptation: An enticement to do something. In the Scriptures it is mostly used for enticements to sin. The KJV uses temptations in James 1:2 but many newer versions say “trials”. So a second possible use would for temptations would be ‘difficult times” and then, of course, my favorite use of temptation “Don’t tempt me with that chocolate brownie”.

    In the last two examples, we are not talking sin but in the first one, to yield would be to sin.

    Desire: There are two forms of this meaning too. The eagerly want something that is good. (Jesus wanted to eat the Passover “i have desired to eat this with you”) and then the eagerly wanting something bad/sinful. Usually that bad form of desire is translated “lust”.

    you have both refered to the concept of contentment and in the OP it was quoted from Heb 13:5. Paul uses the word in 1 tim 6. contentment with godliness is great gain.

    We do not get into trouble when we follow our desires that benefit God, others, self and do not lead to sin. The perfect opportunity for example, where accepting or rejecting it does not lead to sin. We may need wisdom to figure it out which is BETTER/BEST but neither is a sin.

    On the other hand, we desire to be with someone we should be, be places we shouldn’t go, watch things we shouldn’t watch no matter how it is presented is an appeal to one of the the 3 means of tempation that Satan uses and should be renounced. Knowing what you are weak at, helps you avoid that. For example, if you are weak in the sexual fantasy realm, watching Desperate Housewifes wouldn’t be a good option. (Not that you should anyway….a whole lot of moral problems starting with the Title and commercials)

    The source of the temptation James says is our own lusts. I honestly beleive that reading God’s word and prayer helps. As Jesus said “it is written” and “pray that you not enter into temptation” it is an activity we ought to be more engaged in.

    I will leave you a link to one post I wrote on this. http://wp.me/pR1pN-27

    Good discussion.

      • Did you see the link? It’s actually very good! Concerning your last comment my first thoughts are, you should write a book! In fact I will do a later post about some tips and tricks you should know about for creating a great book!

        I still have yet to experience the offers… no I kind of have experienced that! I remember whenever I perform there are a lot of aspiring rappers that end up wanting to work with me, but to be honest, I could do without. Of course that leaves the question, what if I could have mentored them and put a group together? You can only teach a student that is willing to learn. I realize that the revelation, preparation and separation of your calling may require overcoming some temptation.

        Now, if you saw the link as well as Steven’s comment, what are your thoughts on some of the things he said? Are you able to answer my question in my last comment to him?

    • You made some very good points here Steven. Desire is often the first step. The serpent tempt Eve with the “desire” for something that she knew she was not supposed to have! That is some serious mind control! The only way you cannot be deceived is by knowing that you are being deceived. That means deception plays a huge role in executing the success of any form of temptation.

      You also mentioned a desire for good things. Again deception plays its part here because does the person know that thing they see before them is in fact good? Suppose it is. Will it benefit them in the long run? If not is it then really good, not in and of itself, but to and for the person who desires it? Something to think aout there. I will see your link concerning your thoughts about that, unless you want to just put them together here.

      • To me, this goes back to my previous post regarding needs vs wants http://nightshade130.wordpress.com/2011/10/27/desire-differentiating-between-needs-vs-wants/

        The only way to combat lust is to seek God for what you need over what you want. We don’t always know what we need but we always know what we Want. However, having said that, people are not always inclined to seek God for what they need because they want God to answer their “wants”. This is why people get offended with God and seek other avenues to statisfy their desires which are generously available at the DEVIL’s Address. Sylvia Plath’s quote correctly coins this idea “I desire things which will destroy me in the end”. God answers to our NEEDS according to His riches and Glory — but it is according to HIS will, and not many people seek to do the Lords will because of the very nature of FREE WILL. It’s a choice thing.

        Philippians 4:19
        And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.

      • I was about to say you should do a post about it! Looks like you already did. People often get disappointed by God because they treat Him like his some genie or something. They fail to acknowledge Him for whop He is and as a result take Him for granted. The lack of faith comes into play and the doubt kicks in! That is when they open the door for the devil to do his dirty work. All it requires to remedy that is understanding and revelation. Once that’s settled, that’s it. Let’s see what you wrote concerning needs vs wants.

        It is safe to say that desire is the overall element behind determining the existence and extent (if it does exits) of temptation. What other conclusions do you draw from everything we’ve talked about and thoughts you may have concerning the subject?

  6. Well, this IS a good discussion. Ts, I think I posted my link before you asked me to spell it out here. Still, all of this conversation is generating some good thoughts. I am encouraged.
    Desire is a want. You can want a need (Prodigal son: food to feed himself), you can want an event (Lord, come quickly), you can even want something for someone else (Grow in the grace and knowledge of the Lord). A desire is not a sin. Common desires are food, sex, love and these are normal and part of our make up. You can also, of course, want a lust.
    Lust is a Desire that goes beyond the borders that God has given to the want that you have.

    For example, sex is normal and good. Within the boundaries God has established, sex is good. Those boundaries are marriage. Outside the boundaries of marriage, sex is wrong and we call that fornication, adultery, etc. Food, is also a desire and if we cross the boundaries, we call it gluttony.

    You suggested that deceit was involved but sometimes that deceit is self inflicted. We deceive ourselves into thinking that we need something that we don’t need. We desire it and then we justify it. Paul told Timothy that with food and clothing we will be content. Jesus said seek ye first the Kingdom and your needs will be added to you. (paraphrased)

    The key to reducing sin in our life as you both have mentioned is contentment. To be contented however, is NOT the same as not trying to improving yourself. However, we look carefully at every opportunity to improve. Paul told single people to stay single unless they could not control themselves, getting married is no sin but if you are single you can do more for the Lord. (and the Lord doesn’t want you getting the high-score on Halo with your PlayStation) He told those who were slaves to not fret about it–yet, if they could obtain (purchase) their freedom then do so.
    Be content but if you can improve yourself do so.

    One thing we need to consider is the cost of the opportunity. If I am serving God first, have a wife, two kids and 3 jobs, trying to take on a full load at school to get a job that will pay 30% more may seem worth it but….God and family come first. If I cannot take care of them then I need to not go back to school….or at least not do it as a full load. Perhaps 2 classes a semester which will take longer but being there to train your kids and show your kids godly living is more valuable than telling them ‘in a couple years it will be better. we are just a little out of balance but it will be fixed when I graduate”.

    Take care of the needs first, to God, yourself (include family) and to your neighbor. Then consider carefully what to do with the rest. Improve yourself? buy that car, take a vacation? God gives us good things to enjoy them, just make sure that you are not deceiving yourself by fulfilling an unapproved want (sinful) vs a want that is approved by God…doesn’t violate God’s laws. .

  7. Great thoughts you have here Steven. It seems like it’s a three step process: take care of what God desires first, then what you desire afterward according to God’s boundaries of course then your family and everything else afterward which should definitely include your spouse!

    That then makes sense when you think about why we are some times tempted beyond what we can bear. We push ourselves way outside God’s boundaries that it becomes too much for us. I believe it only gets to that point after a continual act upon the temptation such as drinking, smoking and God forbid lust. When it’s too much to handle and we can’t take it anymore, who’s fault is that? It amazes me how we blame God for the primitive things we do!

    It’s crazy don’t you think?

    • agreed. it is crazy. You know Adam blamed not just Eve but God. “The woman YOU gave me….” Eve blamed the serpent and well, the serpent looked around but didn’t have a leg to stand on….

      Yes, we do blame anyone we can except ourselves. When we put ourselves into that situation where “well, i can’t stop now” it isn’t true of course, but, the way out was 4 exits ago.

  8. 1) Understand that God is for you. In Romans 8:31 we read:

    What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?

    AMEN! We are deeply loved.

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