TEMPTATION- What the heck are they all about?

UNDERSTANDING TEMPTATION.

“No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it.”- 1 Corinthians 10:13

In the context of what has just been written, Paul speaks of Great Privileges which the children of Israel experienced and also shows with great privilege comes great responsibility and great testing. These things were written as a warning to us in seeing how Israel fell spiritually despite the great blessings. Over confidence can lead to a lack of dependence upon God and lead to sinning against God in times of temptation. Temptation in itself is not sin, but the goal of satan is to tempt you, solicit you into yielding to the temptation in order for you and me to sin and offend God.

Let’s consider three truths for you to know about in every temptation you will face;

1. – PERSPECTIVE. – TEMPTATION IS NOT UNIQUE TO YOU;

 “No Temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man.” Temptation is not unique to any one of us alone. Often we may think or say, “No one understands.”- God does and He tells us that it is “…common to man.” You and I are not the only one to face this particular temptation, whatever it may be. Others have gone through exactly the same trial as we have and they have come through it triumphantly by God’s Grace. Some not so.

What does the word “Temptation mean?”

The word “temptation” speaks of a “test” or “to prove.” It is a neutral word. It is not sinful. “Temptation” has two meanings depending on the context. It means either to put one to a test in order to approve the thing or person who is being tested as in Genesis twenty two verse one where it is used of God testing Abraham to see if he would be obedient in regards the sacrifice of his son. The testing is an opportunity for the believer to obey and pass the test, The test is not set up for the believer to fail! God allows trials and orchestrates trials as a way of developing us and purifying and maturing us- James 1:2-5, 1:12. The second meaning as in the context in James chapter one is “to solicit one to do evil.” Satan’s goal is to trip us up to sin against God! It is used in James chapter one verse twelve as a trial and in verse thirteen and fourteen it is used for temptation- to solicit us to sin. The context dictates and it is the person’s response which determines which one.

 Where does temptation come from?

From without. Satan uses the same opportunities for us to pass the test to appeal to our flesh to tempt us to sin against God. Just as he attempted to entice the Lord Jesus in the Wilderness to act independent of the will of His Father, satan’s ultimate goal in that satanic temptation was worship,

“and he said to Him, “All these things I will give You, if You fall down and worship me.” – Matthew 4:9

So he uses our times of testing to entice us to sin against God, and fail to give God the worship of our lives He is so rightly due as our Creator and His Son as our Sin bearer.

From within;

It is easy and naive to say that every temptation that we succumb to is “the devil’s fault.” There is more than the evil one involved. He cannot make us disobey! The Scriptures teaches us that there is a traitor within!

When satan tempted Eve he had to have something to appeal to her from within her. His appeal ?

“…you will be like God” – Genesis 3:5

Satan finds a ready foe within each of us to appeal to as James chapter one reveals. Listen to these words;

“When tempted, no one should say, “God is tempting me.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone 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; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.”- James 1:13-15

Note, James shows us the wickedness of our own heart’s how we will blame God when we are being tempted and yield to sin- It is a little like Adam saying to God it was His fault for giving him Eve and Eve blaming the serpent but neither taking responsibility for their own sin in yielding to temptation but rather blaming God and the devil, anyone but themselves. Shifting the blame on to someone else! It’s so like us we blame the devil, others even God when we choose to yield to temptation and sin against God. We have a hard time taking responsibility and acknowledging it was “an inside job!”- ourselves alone to blame, it’s called pride, arrogance!

Look again at the verse and see that temptation finds a beach head in each of us and it is our own “evil desires” our own “lusts” within. The word “lust” is in itself a neutral word, it speaks of a strong deep desire, longing of any kind be it for good or evil. Here in the context the word – refers to evil longings. This opposed to God and His will and ways, sinful lusts.

James uses some very graphic words to illustrate the temptation within. James paints three pictures here for us; Hunting, Fishing and Motherhood;

HUNTING;

“dragged away” has the meaning of “dragging away, as if compelled by an inner desire.” “Dragged away or “carried away” is a hunting term and the word was used to speak of a trap that was laid for trapping unsuspecting animals. Something enticing was laid in the path of an animal to appeal to its senses. Compelled by an inner desire greater than all other desires at that moment , the unsuspecting animal, forgetting all else moved closer and is trapped, ensnared, the loss of liberty, imprisoned – Captured! Such is the inner lusts within us all. We abandon reason, God, and forget both God and opposed to His Word we feel we must have this thing to satisfy us and so we pursue till it has us in its grip and we are trapped, – betrayed by the traitor within- sinful lust! It drags us away from the safety of God’s best, God’s Word and walking in fellowship with God’s people. It loses all rationality. Sin is irrational. Sin is evil. Sin is rebellion against God! Sin crucified the Lord Jesus Christ.

FISHING;

“Enticed”- is used for a bait to catch fish with. Evil desires,“ lusts” acts as a bait to entice and hook us to our detriment. As a bait is often attractive and dazzling and catches the attention of a fish who forgets all else in pursuit of the shiny attractive object before it. It must have it. And so in the pursuit in abandoning all else chases after, bites and is hooked that leads to its death. So with our lusts they forget all about who we are, what God has done for us, and we rationalize and scheme and pursue it – not forgetting the hurt it will cause God and harm to our self and loved ones, and we give reckless abandonment to it and whether it is lust for power, sex, prestige, possessions, materialism , control of others, we pursue what we believe we need and are entitled to and forget God and stiff -necked in opposition to the warnings of God’s Word and just like a fish our lusts bait us, gut us, and we are caught!

You would think the word would get around under the water, you know, one fish telling another fish of the history of being deceived that leads to ruin. Perhaps able to tell others to “beware” but no! – they keep having their heads turned and jumping on that which will destroy it and be their ruin- stupid fish! But we have no reason to believe they can communicate such warnings , but God has communicated in His Word and through the failure of lives before us like those in 1 Corinthians chapter ten but – no!, we don’t pay attention to the warning’ s “Beware” and “heed”…. And there we go again having our hearts turned and chasing sin, failing to heed the warning signs of Scripture instead choosing to yield to temptation as if there are no consequences. In a moment of blindness all is offered up on the altar of our own personal gratification of our sinful lusts! What lures an animal or fish to traps and hooks but the appeal to it of something that can benefit, satisfy their smell, and appetites is ultimately what drags and entices them to their own captivity and detriment. So strong the desire they lose all sense of danger and end up trapped, on the end of a hook- helpless, ensnared, caught!! Such is the danger that lurks within us all.

MOTHERHOOD

The third metaphor he uses is that of motherhood or childbirth The root idea of “gives birth” is “ ceases to be pregnant” The idea is that sin when it is full blown is like a baby that comes to full term , the pregnancy must end and the baby is delivered from the womb. But sin does not give birth to life- but death. What a horrific picture! Lust when acted upon does not bring forth spiritual life but- death. It dishonors God! Lust destroys. Satan is the father of sin, lust the mother!

THE WORK/ WAYS OF LUST;

Consider the 4 stages of yielding to temptation –“lusts,” that arises from within us. 

1. – We Desire itThis has to do with our emotions. Like Eve in the garden, something captures and fills our attention. The feeling to have it at any cost, even if it means sinning against God to have it.

2. – We Rationalize and Justify it –This has to do with our Mind – the reasons we have to have it.We talk ourselves through it, of course not according to God’s way, but we think we can explain it to ourselves and if need be to others why we had to have it!

3.We Plan and Pursue Which has to do with our will. In that we now plan and pursue the “lust” until we have it. It takes our attention and we believe we must have it, irrespective of the cost. We determine we will have it. We have looked and we want it. We have talked through why we should have it and so we scheme and become one dimensional in that we “must” have it and we  pursue it until we get it!

4. –Disobedience – We not only desire it, justify it to ourselves and plan and pursue, now the choice to disobey and sin against God is birthed- and “death”- the only thing “lust” can produce, that which is detrimental and dishonoring to God and damaging to our relationship with Him and others. “Lust conceived”. Neither Eve, David nor Samson found any good from disobeying God in their moment of temptation and neither will we.

We “lust”- crave for independence in our heart- to act independent of God, and we long for things outside of His will believing the lie that in achieving the desire there is happiness, when in reality there is only bondage and shame. We believe we must have it at any cost- and are even prepared to sin against God to get it- Such is the insanity of sin and such is the traitor within!

IT’S AN INSIDE JOB!

When our youngest son, was about seven years old I was trying to teach him about sin. Several days later out of the blue he said to me, “It’s an inside job!” “What is?” I asked, he replied, “sin!” He is right! The problem is not without but within! James teaches it is the “lust” within us. Some may lust after immorality, how close can I get to the flame and not be burned in sexual immorality? It can be a “lust” for power, be it on the playground, home, school, on the playing field, in the board room, on the factory floor or even church! It can be a “lust” for possessions– ever desiring, planning to get “it” discontent with God’s provision. It may be an inner “lust” for prestige, like the Pharisees we “love” the position of prominence, you and I feel we “rightly” deserve! Lusting for glory honor and power, which rightfully belongs to God. Sin is so subtle at times but none the less hideous. “Lusts” come in all sizes and shapes, don’t they? “Lust” for pre eminence- wanting to be heard, having the last word, topping everyone else’s story, have the highest place, demanding respect, to be “the man!” Forgetting you and I were purchased with the precious blood of the Lord Jesus we are not our own we have been bought with a price and our privilege is to – glorify Him. Servants don’t live to be served but to attend to their Master. Our Master is Jesus Christ- we should hate everything that would tempt us to betray Him. Your particular “lusts” may not look like the next person’s, but be sure they are not unique to you alone and to yield to them will bring dishonor to Him. Understand yourself, have a healthy fear of yourself, that leads you to flee to God.

Is there hope? Not in yourself but in the Lord Jesus Christ- alone! He is our hope! He has shown you “THE way of escape.” It is a narrow path through His Word depending upon His Spirit, denying yourself and doing life His Way. You are presently in possession of “Divine power and …precious and magnificent promises” to enable you to deal with every and all temptations- that is good news, great Hope from Him for you in your times of temptation. Not everyone may be enticed to sin against God by yielding to the same temptation but we should know enough about ourselves to have a healthy fear of ourselves that lurking beneath our skin is a traitor that can be appealed to and it is our own particular “lusts!” Temptation always has a goal-sin against God. God has provided for us a cross and ability to deny ourselves-say no to self and yes to the Savior is our only Hope to deal with temptation! We have the power to resist and embrace God’s way for us!

 We read of Israel’s temptations and their particular, “lusts.”

“Now these things happened as examples for us, so that we would not crave evil things as they also craved.

Do not be idolaters, as some of them were; as it is written, THE PEOPLE SAT DOWN TO EAT AND DRINK, AND STOOD UP TO PLAY.”

Nor let us act immorally, as some of them did, and twenty-three thousand fell in one day.

Nor let us try the Lord, as some of them did, and were destroyed by the serpents

Nor grumble, as some of them did, and were destroyed by the destroyer.

Now these things happened to them as an example, and they were written for our instruction, upon whom the ends of the ages have come.

Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed that he does not fall.”- 1 Corinthians 10 :6-12

 They yielded to temptation to sin and craved evil, they “lusted.”

They were idolatrous, acted immorally, tested the Lord, grumbled against God’s dealings in their life- discontentment breads disobedience and dishonors God through choosing disgraceful things. These things were written as an example for us to learn from! We are not immune from yielding to any or all of these but the purpose of this passage is to show us that we must learn from the lives of others. Temptation is not sin. It is when we choose to yield to temptation it is sin against God and due to a preference of love for self rather than loving God with all our hearts, strength and mind! Satan can tempt us from without but we must give equal vigilance to the traitor within! We yield to the one or to the thing we love supremely, don’t we?

Times of temptation are tests of Loyalty to self or to the LORD.

Temptations are part of life, everyone has them!

The difference for the follower of the Lord Jesus is they have eternal purpose. They are specifically designed not to make us fall but to be used as opportunities to strengthen us. Not to destroy us but to develop us- James 1:2-5; Rom 5:3-5. There is Hope in and from God for us, hope for you and me in our times of temptation. We can have God’s perspective ,that in any and all temptations we may encounter, it is not unique to us, we are not the only ones who have encountered this particular temptation. This realization about our own struggles against temptation, should cause us to deal gently and compassionately with others. Too often it does not, but often out of legalism{a fancy word for pride!} breaths contempt– under the guise “we would NEVER do that or we are above that!” in trying to deceive others into thinking we are superior. If so, I believe you have just demonstrated you have yielded to the temptation of pride! Temptation can be subtle!

2.–PROMISE; – “GOD IS FAITHFUL.”

This is a Promise of HOPE. In times of temptation or proving, we must remember the character of God. He will not allow us to be tempted beyond the ability He has given to us so that we have no other option but to sin!- {Phil 4:13; 2 Pet 1:3; Eph 1:19 ; Eph 6:10-18 ; Col 1:11; 2 Cor 9:8; 2 Cor 12:9; 1 Tim 2:1}. If we respond in obedience to God in the test it results in praise to Him. The test affords an opportunity to prove and demonstrate faithfulness to God. If we choose to respond in disobedience to His Word then it is a temptation to evil and sin- James 1:13-15. We choose to sin because we allow the temptation or solicitation to evil to entice us and then we chose to disobey God and give birth to sin against God. In the midst of a temptation, as severe as they are, we are to remember He is present with us to meet us – “a very present help in trouble”– Psalm 46:1. He is able and can enable and empower us to do that which is pleasing in His sight, to strengthen us in the midst of the trial to honor Him and obey Him – Hebrews 13:21. In the day of trouble He commands me to “Call upon Him” – Ps 50:15.

3. – PROVISION; THE WAY OF ESCAPE

The Temptation is specific “THE” Temptation and so is the way of escape “THE way of escape.” {Emphasis added}. The word“Escape”- {Ekbasis} means “a way out of a defile, a mountain pass.”

The idea is that of an army trapped and surrounded…or trapped in a rugged country, which manages to escape through a mountain pass. What a beautiful picture, harrowing to be sure “surrounded” does not sound too “beautiful” but look again there is “the” provision of the way of escape from their enemies! And so for you too, God’s beloved. God makes “the” way of escape for you in every temptation you face and will ever face, so that you are able to “endure” it and not sin against Him!

TEMPTATION, YOU AND GOD’S WORD.– “The way of escape” may be to “flee,” from sin as a fugitive flees and does everything not to be apprehended. At times it may be to “stand,” it may be to “submit” or “resist.” How are we to know? Follow the pattern the Lord Jesus gave us when tempted. He replied to each temptation, “It is written.” As the Perfect man, He shows us how to deal with temptation. By using God’s Word, and even when satan quoted a verse out of context as a tool to try and manipulate Jesus, He quickly countered by accurately dividing God’s Word. It is not enough to “know” Scripture but to be able to accurately divide it is also imperative. For the onslaught of demonic temptation God shows us our great need is accurately handling and living out His Word. Consider these passages…

“I have written to you, young men, because you are strong, and the word of God abides in you, and you have overcome the evil one.”- 1 John 2:14

“…in addition to all, taking up the shield of faith with which you will be able to extinguish all

the flaming arrows of)the evil one.”- Ephesians 6:16

And the tempter came and said to Him, “If You are the Son of God, command that these stones become bread.” But He answered and said, “It is written, MAN SHALL NOT LIVE ON BREAD ALONE, BUT ON EVERY WORD THAT PROCEEDS OUT OF THE MOUTH OF GOD.'”- Matthew 4:3-4

It is one thing to admire and agree with God’s Word, it is another thing to do it! How can you and I recall what God says if we are not in it and hiding it with the intent of applying it?

God is never a spectator in your times of testing but actively participating and empowering and enabling you to choose His Way of escape and providing His Word as your weapon in the fight.

We need to read His Word, hide His Word in our hearts, obey it and fight with it against the evil one and hold ourselves to account by it. God is Faithful in the time of temptation to show “the” way of escape from sinning against Him and others. We can resist in His Power- Eph 6:10.

We escape the temptation by honoring and obeying God in the test. Know in every time of your testing… there is Hope.The Lord is Faithful. Temptations are common to all people. There is none exclusive to me or you alone. Others have gone through them. The warning and lesson in 1 Corinthians 10 is to learn from the failures of others. Self confidence is a spiritual banana skin that leads away from dependence upon God and ultimate falling away from Gods goal, which is to trust and honor Him in the midst of great privilege. The time of testing, is an opportunity to express love and loyalty to God and mature spiritually by responding in obedience to His Word. With each temptation satan comes to solicit and entice us to sin against God. But he cannot make me or you sin. Sin is a choice I make. Sin is a choice you make. God is active and faithful to always provide THE way of escape from sinning against Him in every circumstance where the evil one would entice to sin against God. God is also actively involved to enable us to respond in a God honoring way.

“TO BE TEMPTED BEYOND WHAT YOU ARE ABLE.” – 

God will not allow you to be so pressures that you do not have the spiritual resources to resist the evil temptation and sin against Him. He has given you everything you need for life and Godliness for the temptation. He has given you precious and magnificent promises to encourage and for you to avail of.{See 2 Peter 1:3-4} God does give us the ability to handle the intensity and severity of the temptation so we need not yield or choose to sin!

“SO THAT YOU MAY ENDURE”-

The good news is that you do not have to YIELD to sin. The verse is not teaching God will not put on more than what you can bear, but it is teaching God will never have you in a situation without Divine ability so that you DO NOT HAVE TO SIN AGAINST GOD IN THE TEMPTATION!

HOW DO WE ENDURE?

We endure through focusing on the Lord Jesus and trusting Him,{Hebrews 12:2} Doing His Word,{James 1:22} and praying to Him -{Psalm 50:15, Mark 14:38} Applying God’s power- {2 Peter 1;3.} Exercising God’s “precious and magnificent Promises.”- {2 Peter 1:4}.

James is writing to believers, as is Paul . Paul himself knew the power of the traitor within as he refers to it in Romans 7:18-25. We need to recognize our own propensity towards sin and reject it and protest through choosing God’s provision- He is faithful to provide “the” way of escape. We need to guard our minds- Phil 4:8 from things that would tempt to drag us away from Him and entice, ensnare and enslave us. What is it that incites your own particular “lusts?” What do you need to change, what habit patterns, situations, what you watch, listen to, read, or relationships which only add to the temptation? What do you need to avoid? What are some things, or who are some people who can strengthen you to pursue God and the things of God, which you should actively seek out? Jesus told His disciples to “Pray”- Mark 14:38; James tells us we are commanded to “:Rejoice.” It lit. means “Immediately commence rejoicing” because we “know” what God desires…to develop us spiritually. We are to “resist” the evil one- 1 Pet 5:9 and we do so as we “submit” to the Lord and His ways. Here in 1 Corinthians 10 we are told to learn from the failures of others and there is Hope we need not sin in times of temptation- God has made provision for us.

THREE THINGS TO KNOW ABOUT YOUR EVERY TEMPTATION;

1. Perspective – Temptations are not unique to you.

2. Promise – God’s Promise- He is Faithful.

3. Provision – God’s Provision for you. “who will provide THE way of escape…”

Times of temptation are a test of our loyalty either to self or the Savior. As you evaluate each temptation ask, “who will I choose in this temptation myself or my Savior?”

The HOPE is we do not have to yield to temptation and sin against God! But if you or I choose to sin in the time of testing, GOD IN His mercy at great cost to Himself provided His Son so that as we confess our sins He is faithful and just to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. And as we turn away from known sin to God embracing His way to recognize the purpose of the trial is to build us up in our faith and yet to recognize with the trial is the temptation from satan is to trip us up and tempt us to CHOOSE to yield and sin against God. God in this passage has His Hope for you and me in our temptation. How kind is He – the God of all Hope.

 There is Hope in your Temptation- Understand in your Temptation,

  • Temptation is not unique to you.
  • God is Faithful.
  • God proves you with the way of escape.”

“Lord Jesus, please remind us of these three truths in every temptation- it is not Unique to me, You give me a Promise- You are Faithful and You make Provision for me in providing THE Way of escape. Thank You for Your Word which enables me to Hope in times of temptation.”

HOPE Assignment;

H – Heed God’s Word. Its warning’s and its Hope. Hide 1 Corinthians 10:13 in your heart. WRITE THE VERSE OUT ON A  3 BY 5 CARD and when you have free time look at it, word y word,  phrase by phrase and be able to speak the truth to yourself when you encounter temptation. And also be able to share with others. Temptation is- 1- Not Unique to you. 2- God is Faithful. 3.- God Provides The Way of escape

O – One person today. Choose to share this verse of Hope with.

P – Pray for yourself and others who are being tempted to handle the temptation God’s way.

E– Exalt God for His provision for you in this passage. Extend this hope in temptation so that they too may avail of God’s perspective, promise, provision in any and all temptations!