The battle against temptation is something that every human being has struggled with since the dawn of mankind. Remember being tempted in itself isn’t sin, everyone of us is tempted under circumstances.
Temptation comes to us when an opportunity is presented to our minds to do what we know is wrong; whether this is against God, ourselves or others. Being tempted isn’t bad, even Jesus was tempted. Temptation becomes sin when we decide to do wickedness in the moment temptation comes.
Temptation started in the Garden of Eden not long after God created Adam and Eve. Most of us know the story and how Satan in the form of a serpent slithered up to Eve and tempted her to disobey God.
When Satan appeared to Eve in the form of a serpent, he came to tempt her by first appealing to her reasoning mind. He hissed at her, “has God really said?” Then he appealed to her desires when he next said: “You can be like gods.” Eve listened to the serpent and thus allowed her passions to overcome her, and she gave into the temptation which in turn caused her to sin against God.
Satan has nothing new when it comes to temptation, he uses the same forms for every person. The bible talks about the three most fundamental means of temptation.
1 John 2:16 says: “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.”
Satan used three fundamental principles of temptation (found in Genesis 3:5-6) against Eve. The lust of the eyes and lust of the flesh came when she saw the fruit was good for food and pleasing to the eye. The third principle of temptation came when Eve saw the fruit was also desirable for gaining wisdom (becoming like god).
To be tempted is not a sin. Everyone is tempted and at different levels. Even Jesus was tempted. Temptation happens when the opportunity is presented to do what we know is wrong, whether against God, ourselves, or others. Being tempted is not wrong – it’s the decision to do wrong and the corresponding action that follows.
Often we fail to realize there is a difference between the temptation that Satan brings and the testing of God; (also known as trials). The elementary definition of temptation is being tested, it reveals our character. Whether the temptation becomes proof of our righteousness or an enticement to evil depends on our response.
If we resist the temptation with the power God makes available to us, it is a test that proves our faithfulness. If we do not resist and yield to it, then it becomes a solicitation to sin.
We find the truth about temptation and testing in (Matthew 4). We see that both Satan and God were involved in the testing of Jesus while he was fasting in the wilderness. God’s purpose for the testing was to prove the righteousness of his son, while Satan intended to use the test to induce Jesus to misuse his divine powers; thus turning his authority over to Satan.
The tests that God brings is never a solicitation to do evil. James 1:13 says: “And remember, when you are being tempted, do not say, “God is tempting me.” God is never tempted to do wrong, and he never tempts anyone else.”
In the wilderness God tested Jesus by righteousness, whereas Satan tested Him by evil. James 1:14-15 shows us that when “Temptation comes from our own desires, which entice us and drag us away. These desires give birth to sinful actions. And when sin is allowed to grow, it gives birth to death.”
Circumstances often come into our lives to test our faithfulness or unfaithfulness. How we react to them will prove our righteousness or weakness.
How we respond to the difficulties we face in life, whether they pertain to things like our finances, our health or other setbacks, will either prove our character or the flaws in our character.
A lot of our circumstances are merely tests and are neither good or evil but rather an opportunity to show us where we are at in our spiritual walk. How we respond to them will depend on the level of our spiritual maturity in our Christian walk. Fighting temptation is always won or lost on a spiritual level.
God desires that we endure when we are tempted and always promises to make a way of escape for us. 1 Corinthians 10:13 says:
“The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you can endure.”
Beloved, don’t listen to the lie about temptation it is part of the human experience. The thing about temptation is when it comes Satan tries to convince us that we are alone. He may tell us that nobody else has ever experienced what we are going through. The temptation you are experiencing is not unique to you alone. There are millions of people who have gone through temptation albeit it under different circumstances.
God’s desire for us to master temptation instead of it mastering us. He is using it to refine our faith, to build character within us. 1 Peter 1:6-7 says:
“So be truly glad. There is wonderful joy ahead, even though you must endure many trials for a little while. These trials will show that your faith is genuine. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold—though your faith is far more precious than mere gold. So when your faith remains strong through many trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world.”
There is no one alive that is above temptation or the potential to sin that it brings. 1 John 1:8 says: “If we claim we have no sin, we are only fooling ourselves and not living in the truth.” Fighting temptation will take effort and strong reliance upon God. Without God society tries to rely upon their own stamina and will-power.
Fighting temptation in our own strength never works, we just don’t have the power to overcome these things because it’s a spiritual battle. Ephesians 6:12-13 says:
“For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.
Therefore, put on every piece of God’s armor so you will be able to resist the enemy in the time of evil. Then after the battle you will still be standing firm.”
Temptation will always involve a choice, one that we must make and our response to it will determine how we react to it. Will we yield to wickedness or will we be proven righteous?
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