understanding temptation

temptation-apple

Through six millennia, the objectives of temptation really haven’t changed much.  It all begins at the fall of the author of temptation …

How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations!  For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High.  Yet thou shalt be brought down to hell, to the sides of the pit.  Isaiah 14:12-15 (KJV)

The devil decided “I will be like the most High.”  In a more modern vernacular, “I will be like God.”

And thus his strategy was set … fast forward to the Garden of Eden …

Now the serpent was more crafty than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said to the woman, “Indeed, has God said, ‘You shall not eat from any tree of the garden’?”  The woman said to the serpent, “From the fruit of the trees of the garden we may eat; but from the fruit of the tree which is in the middle of the garden, God has said, ‘You shall not eat from it or touch it, or you will die.'”  The serpent said to the woman, “You surely will not die! For God knows that in the day you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”  Genesis 3:1-5 (NASB)

Satan says “I will be like God” and he tempted man to believe the same, “I will be like God.”

Fast forward once again … this time to the temptation of Jesus in the desert.

Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil.  And after He had fasted forty days and forty nights, He then became hungry.  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.'”  Then the devil took Him into the holy city and had Him stand on the pinnacle of the temple, and said to Him, “If You are the Son of God, throw Yourself down; for it is written, ‘He will command His angels concerning You’; and ‘On their hands they will bear You up, So that You will not strike Your foot against a stone.'”  Jesus said to him, “On the other hand, it is written, ‘You shall not put the Lord your God to the test.'”  Again, the devil took Him to a very high mountain and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory; and he said to Him, “All these things I will give You, if You fall down and worship me.” Then Jesus said to him, “Go, Satan! For it is written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God, and serve Him only.'” Then the devil left Him; and behold, angels came and began to minister to Him.  Matthew 4:1-11 (NASB)

It is indeed true that Jesus is the Son of God … nevertheless, Satan was tempting Jesus to be like Godto be God … before His appointed time.

Surrendering to temptation is surrendering to the author of temptation … surrendering to temptation is sin … and the wages of sin is death.

Satan’s scheme in the desert was subtle … and it was crafty.  With the exception of telling Jesus to fall down and worship him, was the devil really asking Jesus to do anything that truly was not in the power of the Son of God to do?  Absolutely not!  But … but … based on the battle he was in, to do so would have been to do so according to the will of the great deceiver … NOT the will of His Father.

So that the world may know that I love the Father, I do EXACTLY as the Father COMMANDED Me.  John 14:31 (NASB)

As the Father commanded Him … NOT … I repeat NOT … as the devil tempted Him.

Surrendering to temptation is an act of worshiping the devil … of seeing him as your father …

Why do you not understand what I am saying?It is because you cannot hear My word.  You are of your father the devil, and you want to do the desires of your father.He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth because there is no truth in him. Whenever he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies.  John 8:43-44 (NASB)

We all must understand we are not tempted by God …

Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God”; for God cannot be tempted by evil, and He Himself does not tempt anyoneBut each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own lust.  Then when lust has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and when sin is accomplished, it brings forth deathDo not be deceived, my beloved brethren.  James 1:13-16 (NASB)

In fact, God is fighting for us and providing a way out in the midst of our 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 (NASB)

Stand firm in the victory of Jesus over temptation … and what it means to you and to me …

For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin.  Hebrews 4:15 (NASB)

For since He Himself was tempted in that which He has suffered, He is able to come to the aid of those who are tempted.  Hebrews 2:18 (NASB)

Remember …

For whatever is born of God overcomes the world; and this is the victory that has overcome the world–our faith.  Who is the one who overcomes the world, but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?  1 John 5:4-5 (NASB)

Believe my friends … BELIEVE!

Bernie

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About bwebbjr

A grandfather, father, husband, man, and a child of God who is following Christ Jesus and working out his salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who is at work IN me, both to will and to work for His good pleasure (Philippians 2:12-13). I dodged my first bullet with cancer when a cancerous polyp was removed in a sigmoid colectomy surgery in August 2007. Four years later, in the midst of a second colectomy surgery we discovered I had Stage IV metastatic colon cancer. Rather than colectomy surgery I had colostomy surgery, which now means the colostomy bag is a part of my everyday life ... with the emphasis on life. God has given us a peace beyond understanding as my wife and I have traveled this journey. By the grace of God I am blessed to be a 6 plus year cancer survivor aka warrior. In writing, I am often wrestling with my own personal struggles and beliefs and in the midst God leads me to a lesson He wants me to learn ... or sometimes He simply touches me in the revelation of Himself. My hope is that the result you see here might touch your heart and glorify God. And let me be clear ... I am not the only one with something to say. Please join in the conversation sharing your faith, your cancer experiences, etc. I would love to hear from you. Bernie
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2 Responses to understanding temptation

  1. jimdavenport says:

    When Jesus taught His Disciples (and us) to pray, He really knew that we would have to pray … “And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil” continuously. Evil and temptation are not of God, but solely the work of Satan. “Lord thank you for protecting us from Satan, and daily lead us AWAY from temptation and AWAY from evil. In the name of Jesus, Amen & Amen! Jim D.

    • bwebbjr says:

      I love it when a plan comes together … thanks for writing the conclusion this post should have had in your comment … yes, yes, yes … “And lead us not unto temptation but deliver us from evil.” Thanks Jim!

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