By Jennifer M. Seest, 2005

Page Created: August 17th, 2007.

Temptation is something that we all will encounter throughout our lives. We see in the Bible that Jesus—God incarnate—was tempted also while here on Earth. To be tempted IS NOT sinful. However, ACTING UPON that temptation IS sin. There are many different areas in which we can be tempted. When we are tempted, we must realize what temptation is, we must realize the source of the temptation, and we must choose to act accordingly. Let’s look at some Scripture which tells us about temptation.

First, we need to realize WHO is tempting us...where temptation comes from.

Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God; for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man:”
(James 1:13)

This verse tells us that God is NOT the one who tempts us. So who does that leave? Satan for one. To know WHOM the temptation comes from tells us a lot, doesn’t it? If it comes from Satan, it is evil, PERIOD. But what is temptation exactly? Temptation to sin can take on several different “forms”.

15 Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.
16 For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.
17 And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.

(I John 2:15-17)

As when Satan tempted God the Son, Satan tempted Eve in the Garden of Eden. As Satan tempted Eve, Satan still tempts mankind today. Satan tempts in those three ways mentioned in verse sixteen:

1. The LUST of the FLESH
2. The LUST of the EYES
3. The PRIDE of LIFE

Sin is defined as “the transgression of the law by omission or commission”. Plain and simple: omitting something we are told to do by God is sin. Committing an act we are told not to do by God is sin. Omission and Commission. The best way to know what things we should classify as sin is to STUDY GOD’S WORD. Here are just a few listed in the New Testament that are spotlighted in teen years:

1. Sexual immorality (I Cor. 6:18, I Thess. 4:3-5 & 7)
2. Idolatry (I Corinthians 10:14)
3. The love of money (I Timothy 6:10)
4. Other youthful lusts (II Timothy 2:22)

To know what God calls “sin” is so very important! The way to know what is sinful and what is holy (Leviticus 20:7, I Peter 1:15 & 16) is reading your Bible every day (Acts 17:11). Quiet time with God is crucial, and understanding temptation is just one example of why. If you notice the account when Jesus was tempted by Satan, you will see how He handled it. Let’s read Matthew 4:1-11.

1 Then was Jesus led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil.
2 And when he had fasted forty days and forty nights, he was afterward an hungred.
3 And when the tempter came to him, he said, If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread.
4 But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.
5 Then the devil taketh him up into the holy city, and setteth him on a pinnacle of the temple,
6 And saith unto him, If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down: for it is written, He shall give his angels charge concerning thee: and in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone.
7 Jesus said unto him, It is written again, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God.
8 Again, the devil taketh him up into an exceeding high mountain, and sheweth him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them;
9 And saith unto him, All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me.
10 Then saith Jesus unto him, Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.
11 Then the devil leaveth him, and, behold, angels came and ministered unto him.

Satan tempted Jesus three different times. How did Jesus answer each one of Satan’s temptations? The phrase: IT IS WRITTEN....

The Son of God used SCRIPTURE. If the very living Word—according to John 1—used the memorized, written Word to battle Satan, so should we! But we cannot use It if we do not know It. READ the Bible. MEMORIZE passages that are particularly helpful for your daily walk.

For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.
(Hebrews 4:12)

Jesus KNEW the Bible.
And what does Ephesians 6:17 call the Bible?
The _________________ of the Spirit

Jesus knows how to accurately use His “twoedged sword of the Spirit”! He met Satan with God’s Word. And we see in Scripture that after the third time, Satan “left Him”.

Temptations are common to everyone, even mature Christians. The noblest souls are often the ones most tempted. It seems that Satan assaults Christians in positions of leadership with his strongest weapons. Because of that fact, we must all be on our constant spiritual guard.

It is impossible to isolate ourselves from all of life's temptations. The allurements of modern living are all around us, but we aren't alone in this struggle. The Christian has the Holy Spirit of God in our heart. The only begotten Son of God was tempted in every way, just as we are, yet without sin! (Hebrews 4:15). And because Christ Himself suffered when He was tempted, He is able to help us today when we are being tempted according to Hebrews 2:18. Regardless of the temptation, our Lord understands what we are facing, stands ready to provide the strength to resist, and gets the glory when we in His strength emerge victorious!

Okay so now that we know WHAT temptation is and WHO tempts us, let’s look at how we can handle it when it comes our way!

FLEE from temptation – What I mean by this is that we are not to stand around, almost looking for some temptation to be thrown at us. That, you would think, would be a given, right? Apparently not. Let’s say that there is a movie that you want to watch, but it’s not rated G...or even PG. Or how about that book that you’ve heard so much about...I mean, it is listed on New York Times’ Best Seller List and everyone who is anyone is talking about it! But these things usually are not godly things with which we should fill our minds.

Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.
(Philippians 4:8)

Some can’t quite understand why they are getting hit with those “fiery darts” of Satan’s all the time. Satan will attack, and he doesn’t need any encouragement. Some seem to “help” him along though. They seem to think that they can “dabble” with temptation and will be okay. That is underestimating Satan, and underestimating him is foolish and SO wrong. Do you know why?

We need to know the enemy! Look at Matthew 10:16—Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves.

Know the enemy’s strategies and tactics...and weaknesses as well, that they don’t become our weaknesses (PRIDE for one). Because just when you take the time to pause at the sight of temptation, those very waters that looked calm a second ago become a raging tidal wave! It will hit you with force that knocks you off of your feet and sweeps you under!

Flee also youthful lusts: but follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart.
(II Timothy 2:22)

*FLEE* from temptation! Don’t stick around to see what evil the world, the flesh, or Satan can dish out! We must not underestimate the power of evil!

*FIGHT* temptation! Now, we can be going along, minding our own business and not giving a second glance at the temptation that Satan has thrown out there in the world. However, Satan is bound to toss some of those temptations across our paths sooner or later! He IS persistent. The only way he can hurt God is by getting people to 1 – not accept God’s plan of salvation in Jesus’ death for our sin. 2 – Once they know Jesus as Saviour never grow, or choose sin and be a bad example to other Christians and the lost around us. Please don’t be deceived by Satan. Please choose to do what pleases God, being born again, then living like a child of God’s should.

Since Satan will tempt us, we need to ARM OURSELVES with the proper “armor”. With God’s help, we can overcome temptation!

Ephesians 6:10-18 is your instruction guide in “arming” ourselves for spiritual warfare. A soldier does not go out to battle without his armor on and training. In the same way, we Christians should not go out to “battle”—which happens DAILY—without our armor and training through studying the Word of God! Our “armor” is our protection from the enemy! When is the best time to “arm” ourselves? BEFORE the battle begins! The time to find our sword and practice with it is NOT when the enemy is charging full speed at us! PREPARE for battle to be a good soldier in the army of the LORD.

Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of his might.
(Ephesians 6:10)

Before I continue on with this wonderful passage, can we pause and notice some things here? It says to be STRONG. How? IN THE LORD. That is where we get the strength to overcome Satan. Again, I believe that a lot of folks underestimate Satan, or overestimate their own strength. Don’t make that grave mistake! We need to stay IN THE LORD to have strength! Okay, now read the rest of the verses. Ephesians 6:11-18.

11 Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.
12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.
13 Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.
14 Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness;
15 And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace;
16 Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.
17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God:
18 Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;

Let’s look at this. Notice that we are to *STAND*. Have CONFIDENCE in the Lord’s strength!

The first piece of armor is the belt or “girdle” of TRUTH—loins girt about with truth. Truth is CRUCIAL, because someone who is dishonest cannot hope to hold back the father of lies. What is truth?

Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.
(John 14:6)

Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.
(John 17:17)

Truth is the Word...the Living Word Jesus and the Written Word the Holy Bible. It is true that the Word of God is also an OFFENSIVE part of the armor of God, the only one as the Sword of the Spirit! But clearly, the Word is also TRUTH. If we don’t know the TRUTH, we won’t know when someone is lying or deceiving...tempting us to sin! We MUST read God’s Word DAILY to know what is pleasing to God!

The next piece of armor is RIGHTEOUSNESS—the breastplate of righteousness. As with SIN and TRUTH, we don’t know what righteousness is either except through God’s Word. We need to learn what God calls “right” in order to do those things that are pleasing in His sight! We need to display the practical, righteous character and deeds as believers, not in pride, but in loving humility. Also, the breastplate was worn where? Over the soldier’s heart. We need to have Christ’s righteousness over our heart, in protection at all times.

And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.
(Ephesians 6:15 & 16)

Our shoes are to be SOLIDLY planted on our firm foundation...the Gospel—feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace. Our shield is FAITH. Now, a soldier’s shield was pretty large (in some cases about 2 ½ feet by 4 feet). It was used to protect the soldier. That is what our shield of FAITH should do...it should PROTECT us from the fiery darts of the wicked, darts of doubt and worry that Satan throws our way, aiming for the heart so we will “go AWOL from the LORD’s Army”! Hold that shield of faith. Have faith in God! He is SO faithful to us (I Corinthians 1:9, 10:13; II Thessalonians 3:3; I John 1:9; I Thessalonians 5:23 & 24; II Timothy 2:13; Hebrews 10:23—AMEN).

And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God: Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;
(Ephesians 6:17 & 18)

As I mentioned before, the sword of the Spirit is our only OFFENSIVE weapon of our pieces of armor. What is the sword of the Spirit again? The WORD OF GOD. We need to know the Word to effectively fight against temptation. That is why it is SO IMPORTANT to READ YOUR BIBLE...EV’RY DAY and grow, Grow, GROW! We desperately need that regular, daily time in the Holy Bible.

And finally, PRAYER—praying always. In Matthew 26:41, Jesus says, Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak. And the prayer isn’t just all for us and our wants and needs either. We are to pray for one another as Christians, for our fellow soldiers in the battle NEED our prayer.

If there are three things that I would want to encourage you to do concerning the daily temptation we face, it would be these:

1. Spend time in God’s Word *DAILY*
2. Spend time in prayer *DAILY*
3. Flee temptation when it comes.

Don’t hang around areas you know are sources of temptation. Don’t dwell on thoughts that aren’t in accordance with Philippians 4:8. Otherwise, you’re just making Satan’s job easier. As Pastor Harris so eloquently puts it, HAIRLIP THE DEVIL! Choose to DO RIGHT for the glory of God!

Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.
(Philippians 4:8)

Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.
(I Corinthians 10:31)

Yield Not to Temptation
Words & Music by Horatio Palmer

Yield not to temptation, for yielding is sin;
Each victory will help you some other to win;
Fight manfully onward, dark passions subdue,
Look ever to Jesus, He’ll carry you through.

Shun evil companions, bad language disdain,
God’s Name hold in reverence, nor take it in vain;
Be thoughtful and earnest, kindhearted and true,
Look ever to Jesus, He’ll carry you through.

To him that o’ercometh, God giveth a crown;
Through faith we shall conquer, though often cast down;
He Who is our Savior our strength will renew;
Look ever to Jesus, He’ll carry you through.

Ask the Savior to help you,
Comfort, strengthen and keep you;
He is willing to aid you,
He will carry you through.

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