Moments Of Temptation
What is the source of temptation? Can you pinpoint where it began and what it is that allures you to do the wrong thing instead of doing what you know is right? How well do you handle moments of temptation? And how well do you recover after falling into those temptations?
Let's explore this topic together in today's devotional:
“...being tempted for forty days by the devil. And in those days He ate nothing, and afterward, when they had ended, He was hungry.”
There is no other place with more temptations than the marketplace. Entrepreneurs are tempted constantly to be greedy, cheat their customers, lie on their taxes, take advantage of their employees and their vendors, take credit for accomplishments they did not do, overindulge, take pleasure in their personal achievements, or feed their sexual pleasures. For some, certain temptations are more alluring than others. What is the source of these temptations, and how do you handle them?
Temptations are when the lust of the eye, the lust of the flesh and/or the pride of life entice you to action. The Bible declares that “No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.”– I Corinthians 10:13.
So whatever temptations you face, know that they are struggles common to man and also that God will not allow you to face a temptation that is more than you can handle. He guarantees that there will always be a door for you to escape from the temptation. That is great news! First of all, this verse encourages us by reminding us that we are not alone in the struggle. Second, we can beat any temptation that we face. And lastly, God will always provide a way out. With that in mind, let’s look at the various ways we are tempted.
There are three basic ways that the devil tempts all of us. He may use different tactics, but he always uses one or all three of these methods. He used them with Adam and Eve, with Jesus, and with every human being that has ever lived. These three methods are found in 1 John 2:16, “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.”
As you can see, the devil first carefully convinces us that something we should not have looks good, then he gets us wanting to feel good, and then brings us to the place when we feel we deserve it. The next time you think you deserve something, ask yourself these questions: How would God feel about that? Do I feel I deserve it because I want to feel good? Do I think I deserve because it looks good? Is this illegal or immoral? Even if I deserve it, should I have it? Do I really need it?
- The lust of the eyes – The illegal or immoral, intense and unrestrained look at something or someone that does not belong to you. This look feeds the imagination and fosters internal pleasure. This could be for a man or a woman, displayed in reality or through media tools like magazines, TV, movies, internet. This could also be for property that does not belong to you. The lust of the eyes says, “That looks good.”
- The lust of the flesh – The illegal or immoral desire for physical pleasure. This could be for sex with someone you are not married to or same-sex attraction. This could also be to eat or consume something that you are not supposed to have, such as foods with excessive calories. The lust of the flesh says, “I want to feel good.”
- The pride of life – An obsession with oneself, derived from one’s personal achievements or associations. This leads to boasting about one’s personal accomplishments and/or feeling entitled to certain benefits, due to one’s achievements. This could be a desire to get certain things due to your status in life or wanting to be treated in a certain way because of your accomplishments. Pride says, “I deserve this.”
Though it is clear that the devil is the source of all temptation, he cannot tempt us without our cooperation. “But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed” – James 1:14 (NKJV)
So the next time the devil tempts you, let him know that you are not going to cooperate. Trust me, he can never force you to do so. “Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you” – James 4:7 (NKJV)
In addition, when you do resist the devil, there are great rewards for you. “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” – James 1:12 (NKJV)
The question then becomes: how do you resist the devil? James tells us in James 4:7a that you must submit to God. This is what Jesus did when He was tempted. No matter what the devil said, Jesus kept repeating the word of God in return. No matter how the devil tried, Jesus would not move from God’s word (Luke 4:1-13). He submitted to God by knowing God’s Word and, of course, by spending time in prayer. You cannot overcome temptation by an act of your will; it must be an act of the Spirit.
You must study the word of God and seek Him in prayer so that God may reveal to you the internal void or issue that the devil is using to lure you. You must pray that God fills that void or heals you of that issue so that the devil will have nothing to tempt you with because, remember, temptation is due to an internal desire.
What if you already yielded to the temptation? Repent. “My little children, these things I write to you, that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous: And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only, but also for the whole world” – 1 John 2:1-2 (NKJV)
Once you repent, do not walk in condemnation. Remember that “There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit” – Romans 8:1 (NKJV)
Repentance is a chance to start over; condemnation is the devil’s tool to hinder you from starting over. It keeps you burdened by the weight of your mistakes, which causes you to be continually enslaved by them. Whatever you are going through right now, seek God in prayer, pronounce the word on the situation and resist the devil.
My prayer for you today is that God will grant you the grace to identify the internal void or issue that is causing you to yield to temptations and that He will empower you, by the Spirit and His word, so that you can resist the devil as you build His business for His glory. We will continue our series on 12 Leadership Defining Moments next week.
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