Pastor Ron Swanson
July 16, 2018
Temptation. We all struggle with it (though no one wants to admit it). Just when we think we’ve beaten it, it rears its ugly head again. The Bible is full of accounts of individuals who were tempted. Some were victorious, others succumbed. One thing is certain, however – we can win over it! If you study the Biblical stories of those who were tempted, you’ll find there’s a very clear pathway into sin.
a.) Temptation Appeals to a Legitimate Need
“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 anyone. But each one is tempted when he is enticed by his own desire.” (Ja 1:13-14) Notice that last phrase: “enticed by his own desire”. In temptation, Satan uses your own legitimate desires against you. If you think about it, “sin” is simply meeting a legitimate need in an illegitimate way. Temptation is Satan’s offer to meet your needs in a way that will hurt you and offend God.
b.) Satan Can’t Entice You, Without Making You Feel Cheated
The power behind temptation is a feeling of being cheated or mistreated by God. Along with that is the belief that God isn’t going to meet your need – (at least not for a long time). So, if you don’t take things into your own hands, you’re going to do without! If you ever start thinking like that, you’re at a tremendous disadvantage!
c.) Temptation Requires Broken Focus
Satan’s third step is to get your eyes off the Word. In Eve’s case, the serpent said, “Did God really say that?” He shook her confidence in the Word, and then directed her attention to what was forbidden (Gen. 3:6). With her eyes on the forbidden fruit instead of on the Word, it was just a matter of time.
d.) Satan Blinds You to the Consequences
Satan is a master at masking the outcome of our actions. He’ll do his best to make you believe that no consequences will follow the path of disobedience. With the consequences cleverly concealed, the stage is set. You have an unmet need. You’re convinced that God is doing nothing about it. Your eyes are clearly focused on the pleasure of sin, and you’re blinded to the consequences. As I said previously, from that point, it’s only a matter of time.
Pastor Ron Swanson
July 23, 2018
Let’s continue our look at temptation by comparing two people: Eve and Joseph. Eve failed her temptation, while Joseph stood strong. What made the difference? Let’s look at Eve first. What did Satan do in her case?
First, Satan appealed to a legitimate desire. According to the apostle John, temptation appeals to one of three areas: The lust of the flesh (a legitimate physical desire), the lust of the eyes (“Wow, it looks really good!”) or the pride of life (“If I had that I’d really be somebody!”) In Eve’s case, it appealed to all three. She saw the tree was good for food (the lust of the flesh), pleasant to the eyes (the lust of the eyes), and a tree to be desired to make one wise (“I’ll be just like God!”)
Next, Satan contradicted God and questioned His motives. (“You won’t surely die! God knows that if you eat this fruit, you’ll be like Him! God doesn’t want that! He’s holding out on you!”) At that point, she felt deprived and started to question God’s goodness.
Finally, he got her to focus on the fruit. She longed for the fruit and her own thoughts took her the rest of the way into sin.
Eve’s first mistake was going near the tree. Had she not been standing beside it, Satan wouldn’t have had the opportunity to tempt her. There’s
a progression here. Satan got her to the tree. He got her looking at the tree. He got her talking about the tree. And, he got her longing for it. But, what if she’d taken a stronger position? “I’m not looking at the tree. I’m not touching the tree. I’m not talking to you about the tree. Nothing to do with the tree!” We’d still be in the Garden today!
Now, compare Eve’s response with that of Joseph. Day after day, Potiphar’s wife tried to entice him into sexual sin, but he refused. How was he able to resist?
He understood where the boundaries were. (“My master has been kind to me. He’s kept nothing back from me, but you.”) He refused to be drawn away from the Word, and he didn’t allow himself to look and long for her. When she tried to force herself on him, he ran out of the house, leaving his garment in her hand. He didn’t hang around to discuss it. He got out of there!
Joseph was smart enough to focus on the Word and steer clear of the temptation.
Pastor Ron Swanson
July 30, 2018
However carefully Satan may have laid the “temptation trap”, you can still avoid it. Here are several things you can do to keep from falling.
a.) Know Your Weaknesses
“A prudent man foresees the evil, and hides himself; but the simple pass on, and are punished.” (Prov. 22:3) Here’s my paraphrase: “Smart people know their weaknesses and set up boundaries; unintelligent people leave it until temptation is breathing down their throat.” Socrates said, “Know thyself”. (Not bad advice for an unsaved philosopher!) I’d take it one step further and say, “Know thyself, and then barricade thyself”. In areas where you’re weak, set up boundaries that will remove every possibility of falling. If you never put yourself in a position where you could be tempted, you can’t possibly fall.
b.) Fall in Love With Jesus
James 1:12 says, “Blessed is the man that resists temptation … he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him.” Here we find a major key to resisting temptation: The more we fall in love with Jesus, the easier it becomes to resist sin.
c.) Hide the Word in Your Heart
Another truth we need to embrace is this: Sin finds its root in a lie that’s been believed. (If your temptation is greed, you may have bought into the lie that “he who dies with the most toys, wins”.) I'll say it again: At the root of every temptation is a lie that’s been believed. The way out, then, is to renew your mind with the Word of God. Get your believing right, and it will help tremendously with your behaviour.
d.) Look For the Escape Route
1 Cor. 10:13 promises that, in the moment of temptation, God will provide a way of escape. So, look for it! God is faithful! He’ll provide a way out. But, it’s your choice as to whether or not you take it. When the pressure’s on, don’t hang around and argue with the temptation. Sometimes, the most spiritual thing you can do is run! (2 Tim. 2:22) Remember, Satan isn’t out to do you any favors. When he offers to meet a need, it’s not because he’s trying to help you. It’s bait! Recognize that, and take the off-ramp that God provides.