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| Author: Dele Oke

Temptations - hazards of earthly living.

Who does satan tempt and why?

After the creation of mankind in Genesis 1 and 2, the temptation and fall follows in Genesis 3. Satan hates everyone created in the image of God. The following verse tells us why.

1 Peter 5:8 Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. (NKJV)

The answer is simple. Satan wants to devour you. Or to use the language of Jesus.


John 10:10 "The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have [it] more abundantly. (NKJV)

The main aim of all temptations is to

destroy

you. Take you to hell. Satan wants you to get so involved in sin that you will walk away from God. If that does not work he will attempt to

kill

your testimony, witness and ministry for the Lord.

If all that fails then he will settle to

steal

whatever he can through the temptations. Your joy, peace and health - physically and spiritually.

Remember this the next time temptation comes your way.

Bear a thought for Adam and Eve. Sin destroyed their relationship with God. They were reduced to hiding behind trees (verse 8). Sin changed what should have been used for their pleasure and enjoyment into a tool for hiding from their creator.

Some other people who overlooked the consequences of falling into temptation are below. Consider the prices they paid for their errors.

1. David and Bathsheba - 2 Samuel 11:1-6, 13-18


David later had his son rebel against him. There was a lot of death in his household because of his sin.

2. The Israelities and us - 1 Corithians 10:1 - 13


The Israelities that sinned all died in the wilderness (Numbers 14: 26 - 33)

3. Ananias and Sapphira - Acts 4: 32 - 37, 5: 1-11


These died as a result of their sin

4. Ammon and Tamar - 2 Samuel 13: 1 - 13


Ammon was later killed by his brother as a result of his sin

What is temptation?


James 1:12-16 Blessed [is] the man who endures temptation; for when he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him. 13 Let no one say when he is tempted, "I am tempted by God"; for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone. 14 But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed. 15 Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death. 16 Do not be deceived, my beloved brethren. (NKJV)

Temptation is the lure of evil to get us to walk in disobedience to God.
The enemy of our soul and the desires of our flesh are the two things that entice us into sin.

Temptation itself is not a sin but falling into it is.

The enemy has three main venues to use to tempt us.


1 John 2:15-16 Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16 For all that [is] in the world -- the

lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life

-- is not of the Father but is of the world. (NKJV)

Notice 1 John 2:15 starts by telling us not to love the world. Love is a strong word. It involves our emotions, mind and will.

The real cure against falling into temptation is a love for God.

Notice the three temptations of Jesus in Luke 4 and how they involved the three things mentioned above.

Lust of the flesh - Luke 4:3


Jesus was hungry and the flesh was weak. Satan tempted him with bread. His flesh must have longed for something to eat. There was nothing wrong in eating bread. But turning stone into bread! Satan wanted Jesus to obey him. The bread was just a distraction to lure the flesh.
Turning stone into bread, at that time, was not the will of God. It would have been a sin.

Lust of the eyes - Luke 4:5-7


Satan showed Jesus all the kingdoms of the world. The lust of the eyes was coming into play. We cannot always have what we see. Especially if it means bowing down to satan.

The pride of life - Luke 4:9-11


Now satan attempts to get Jesus to have a display of His power.
Pride would have led must people to fall into this temptation.
Show the world what you can do.
Angels dashing out of heaven to catch you from falling. It would have looked great. But whom would Jesus be showing off too?

When you get into a position of authority watch against the pride of life.

What should we do when we fall into the sin of temptation?


1 John 2:1 My little children, these things I write to you, so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. (NKJV)

Hebrews 4:15-16 For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all [points] tempted as [we are, yet] without sin. 16 Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need. (NKJV)

Jesus is our advocate.

Sin should drive us to Jesus. Ask not only for forgiveness but also the grace to cope and withstand all other temptations.

Jesus knows very well what temptation involves. He is fully aware of our weaknesses and has made provision for us to withstand them.

The Lord's prayer teaches us to pray against temptations. Notice the order of the prayer; first ask for forgiveness and then the power not to fall into it again - Luke 11:4. Don't just stop with asking for forgiveness when you sin.


Holiness

Holiness is opposite of temptation.
Holiness is such a grand sounding word that most people do not understand what it involves and consider impossible.

Firstly, lets explore the meaning of holiness?


Exodus 3:1-5 Now Moses was tending the flock of Jethro his father-in-law, the priest of Midian. And he led the flock to the back of the desert, and came to Horeb, the mountain of God. 2 And the Angel of the LORD appeared to him in a flame of fire from the midst of a bush. So he looked, and behold, the bush was burning with fire, but the bush [was] not consumed. 3 Then Moses said, "I will now turn aside and see this great sight, why the bush does not burn." 4 So when the LORD saw that he turned aside to look, God called to him from the midst of the bush and said, "Moses, Moses!" And he said, "Here I am." 5 Then He said, "Do not draw near this place. Take your sandals off your feet, for the place where you stand [is] holy ground." (NKJV)

Read Exodus 3:5 again.

This is the first time we see the word holy appear in the Bible.
What made this part of the desert holy? Why was it different from all the other sand around?

God called the place holy. He chose it as His set aside place. Holy simply means separated, sanctified. God had set this part of the desert aside for His encounter with Moses.

God has also called us and set us apart from the rest of humanity.


1 Peter 2:4-5 Coming to Him [as to] a living stone, rejected indeed by men, but chosen by God [and] precious, 5 you also, as living stones, are being built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. (NKJV)

Holiness is God setting us apart to live for Him. Being Holy is something that God has done. He has set us apart. He has sanctified us. He has lifted us up to heavenly (or elevated) positions in Christ Jesus. We are sanctified saints - 1 Corinthians 6:11, Hebrews 10:10, Philippians 1:1, Romans 1:7, 2 Corinthians 1:1.

Read 1 Peter 2: 4-5 again. Notice it says we can now offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God.

Our spiritual sacrifice is living a life free from sin. This means not falling into temptation.

Yes, it will take some sacrifice on our behalf to live pleasing to God.

God has set us apart to live Holy but we have to do the living.

When God set us apart He also gave us the power to live for Him.

Read the following scriptures


John 1:11-12 He came to His own, and His own did not receive Him. 12 But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name: (NKJV)

1 John 4:4 You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world. (NKJV)

2 Peter 1:4 by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption [that is] in the world through lust. (NKJV)


Notice that the above scriptures confirm that God has given us the POWER to become children of God. Children of God do not live in sin. The GREATER one is in us and causes us to overcome the world. The PROMISES God has given us equip us to partake of the divine nature of God. Divine nature does not live in sin.

These are not just good sayings but spiritual realities.

Put it like this.

Some people will go to hell because they do not believe Jesus died for them. Likewise some Christians will struggle with sin all their lives because they do not realise or believe the power of the greater one who lives in them.

Victory starts with a decision.

Your salvation started with a decision and so does your victory over temptation.

All Christians are holy but not all live holy lives.
We need to put off sin (Colossians 3:8, 2 Timothy 2:19) and put on righteousness (Colossians 3:12, 2 Timothy 2:20).

The following passage sums it up neatly.


Hebrews 12:1 Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares [us,] and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, (NKJV)

Put off


We are to lay aside every weight (hindrance to our Christian walk) and sin before we can run the race of life in a godly way.
As Colossians 3:8 says 'put off' and then mentions things we need to put off. If we don't put these things off they will act as weaknesses and thorns in the flesh that satan uses to lead us into temptation.

?Putting off? is a conscious decision to lay aside everything that is displeasing to God. It does not mean we become perfect but it starts the process.

Put on


Colossians 3:12 then tells us to 'put on' and goes ahead to mention the fruits of the Holy Spirit. We make a decision to put these on.

?Putting on? means consecration - dedicating ourselves to God. Making a decision to be a living sacrifice.

It is like the decision of marriage. When you make a public marriage vow you make a decision to live with that person for the rest of your life. You are no longer entitled to have an intimate relationship with anyone else.

If you started dating another person your friends, relatives and church members would question you about it disapprovingly. That is because your marriage vows have given them the power to ?keep you in check?.

This is exactly what dedicating yourself to God does. It allows the promises of God and the Holy Spirit to work on your behalf. They keep you in check.

Read Romans 12:1-2


Romans 12:1-2 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, [which is] your reasonable service. 2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what [is] that good and acceptable and perfect will of God. (NKJV)

Presenting your body to Christ as a living sacrifice is a decision you take.
This decision allows you to prove the will of God. It lets loose God?s power to work for you. You 'put on' the victory of Christ over sin.


In the world but not of the world.

You now understand that holiness is God setting you apart. He has given you the power to live above sin. You receive this power over sin by making a decision to ?put off? sin.
This is called dedication. Unlike salvation, it is something we have to do on a continuous basis as the Holy Spirit prompts us and temptation batters us.

Then just when you think you are going to live ?happily ever after? along comes temptation again. What do you do?

1. Firstly, get it clear in your head what the aim of all temptation is. It is to destroy you. - John 10:10

2. Know that God will never allow you to be tempted more than you can bear. He will always provide a way of escape - 1 Corinthians 10:13

3. Remind yourself that God has set you apart and given you the power to live above sin - 1 Peter 2: 4-5, 2 Peter 1:4, Philippians 4:13. The greater one lives in you. You are a child of God and not a slave to sin. Never allow satan to lie to you. His common lie is that this is a temptation so strong that there is nothing you can do to resist it. That is a lie.

4. You need to decide to set yourself apart from sin and receive the promises to live above temptations - Romans 12:1-2. Do this as often as you need to.

5. The momentarily pleasures of sin is not worth the long-term consequences of it. David and Bathsheba are a few reminders. All sin has consequences.

6. Dwell on the riches of God's word and they will keep you from sin - Psalm 119:9,11

7. Pray for the wisdom and direction from God to avoid being led into temptation- Luke 11:4, Psalm 119:93,101


Finally, know who you are in Christ.

You are made in the image of God - Genesis 1:26
You carry His glory and are His representative on earth.
The power of God is in you - Ephesians 3:20
The Holy Spirit lives in you John 14: 16-18

What cheek of satan to even attempt to pull you down.

Now go and live as a saint.

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