Ever since the Garden of Eden Satan has been enticing and tricking people into sin—disobedience to God’s law. We all experience temptation, and no one ever becomes so spiritually mature that they are no longer tempted. It will be a factor, a struggle as long as we are in these earthly bodies. And when we are tempted, don’t blame God. James makes it clear in James 1:13 that “(God) tempts no one.” We often confuse temptation with a test. God may test us to see if we are faithful, but that test will never be a temptation to sin. Many think talking about the devil causing havoc on this earth and in people’s lives is some kind of weird religious notion. It may seems weird but it is real! As we watch society move farther from Godly principles and Christian values, we see the increased ravages of crime, drugs, immorality, violence and lust for money and power. Satan is doing big business and it is at great cost to those caught in his traps.
Scriptures – 1 Pt 5:8-9; Js 1:13; Mt 26:41; Js 1:14-15; Hb 4:15-16; Ps 50:15; 1 Co 10:13; Js 5:16; Pr 14:16; Ph 4:13
Verses – Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour. (1 Pt 5:8-9) But one is tempted by one’s own desire, being lured and enticed by it; then, when that desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin, and that sin, when it if fully grown, gives birth to death. (Js 1:14-15)
No temptation has seized you that isn’t common for people. But God is faithful. He won’t allow you to be tempted beyond your abilities. Instead, with the temptation, God will also supply a way out so that you will be able to endure it. (1 Co 10:13)
Thought – How do we deal with the traps and snares that Satan sets for us? 1) Be Alert! Expect it. Be prepared. It is not sin to be tempted; it is sin when you give in to temptation. There will always be traps. Watch for them and don’t jump in! 2) The trap doesn’t work if you don’t cooperate. 3) Ask God for help. God is forever patient and forgiving. Jesus was tempted in the same ways we are, yet he did not sin. He understands. He wants to help. Ask! 4) Seek help from a Christian friend. Don’t try to handle your struggle on your own. Telling someone helps you gain control of the situation. It brings freedom when you tell someone and realize that others have struggles too. You also gain encouragement and support by sharing your burden. 5) Live life with common sense. Don’t see how close you can get to the fire without getting burned. Understand your vulnerabilities and run away from situations that tempt you. Avoid trouble! 6) Move forward. God said that we won’t be tempted beyond our ability to handle it, and he will make a way out! (1 Co 10:13) Hang in there. God has a lifeline for each and every situation, you just have to look for it and grab hold!
Questions – Have the things that tempt you changed over the years, or do the same things that tempted you 10 years ago still tempt you? When are you most likely to yield to temptation? (ie: when you are tired, discouraged, celebrating, lonely?) What is your greatest temptation? How do you escape temptation? Do you have a Christian friend for support when you are struggling with temptation?
Response – Ask God to forgive you when you give in to temptation. Ask God for help and move forward in confidence, knowing that he will strengthen you. Share your concerns with a trusted Christian friend. Avoid the situations and circumstances that lure you into temptation. Replace tempting thoughts with Scripture, a song or a positive thought. Don’t let the temptation take root!
Prayer – Dear Heavenly Father, I am weak, but you are strong. You alone can keep me from falling into temptation. Help me to walk with you, lean on you and stay away from the traps Satan sets for me. In Jesus’ Name I pray, Amen.