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.
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