Pastor's Wife, Mom, Writer & Imperfect Seeker of Jesus
The Snare of Temptation--Part 1
August 1, 2015
Lately I cannot seem to get the concept of temptation out of my mind. Temptation is bad, right? Well, not necessarily. In fact, it could end up being the greatest thing that has happened to you in a long time. Or it could be absolutely crushing.
For the next couple blogs I want to dive into Scripture and let the Word teach us how to avoid and/or handle temptation.
First off, let’s be clear that the actual act of being tempted is NOT from God. “When tempted, no one should say, ‘God is tempting me.’ For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone.” (James 1:13 NIV) He may TEST you by allowing temptation into your life, but He will not TEMPT you. That’s very good to know so that whenever I do find myself in a situation where I’m tempted, I can immediately recognize the temptation as being from Satan.
Knowing this also helps to be aware of the AREAS in which I might be tempted. We know that our “enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” (1 Peter 5:8b NIV) And how does a lion hunt? He watches for the WEAKEST one in the pack! So facing up to our weakest areas of struggle is very important in the fight. I know it’s ugly to admit, but for me, I struggle with anger, selfishness and pride. Oh yeah, and eating too much—I love food!
Those “weak areas” are more accurately described as evil desires. That sounds kind of harsh, but look at mine above—none of them could be described as being good or good for me. “But each person is tempted when he is drawn away and enticed by his own evil desires.” (James 1:14 HCSB)
I read in Scripture only two ways in which we find ourselves in tempting situations, and this is the first way: We FALL into temptation. We walk through life unaware of Satan’s schemes, ignoring our weaknesses, feeling overconfident in our own strength and understanding until suddenly we find that we have once again fallen straight into temptation’s snare.
But Jesus Himself tells us how to avoid “falling” into such traps. Matthew, Mark and Luke all three share the prescription given by Christ. (See Matthew 26:41, Mark 14:38, Luke 21: 36)…
“Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation.” Luke puts it this way: “Be always on the watch, and pray that you may be able to escape all that is about to happen.” (NIV)
Why? Because “the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.” Oh, we understand that SO WELL!! How many times have we had to restart a diet or an exercise regime because we gave in or gave up? We really WANTED to keep with it, but it was just TOO HARD!! And if in our flesh we are too weak to even withstand falling into the temptations regarding our eating and exercising health, how much more easily might we fall into BIGGER temptations without realizing we are even teetering on the edge?
The answer? Know that temptations do not come from God. Be aware of our weak areas (evil desires). And most importantly, watch and pray. Watch and pray. Watch and pray…BEFORE we even face the temptation.