What is temptation?
Temptation is when you feel pulled away from doing the right thing. Lots of times we would like to blame the devil, but the Bible tells us in James that people are drawn away by their own desires.
James 1:14 – But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed.
Note: “Lust” simply means a “longing” — not necessarily a sexual desire.
Temptation is the devil turning your own desires against you so that you feel pulled to do something you know is wrong or not do something you know you should.
Lies about temptation…
1) You are a bad person if you are tempted… Answer: Wrong.
Even Jesus was tempted.
Hebrews 4:14,15 – Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin.
Temptation just proves that you are human. Different people are more susceptible to different temptations depending on what they have been through in life — or possibly even the chemical balances (or imbalances) in their bodies. It’s important not to judge people as being “bad” just because they are tempted by something that doesn’t tempt you right now. An alcoholic has different cravings than a person who doesn’t ever drink alcohol. Those cravings don’t make him an evil person. They do make it harder to resist the temptation to get drunk again.
For example: There was a personal trainer that decided to eat all kinds of junk food and put on extra weight. He did. Then he worked hard to take it back off again. His body returned to the way it was, but he found that he now had a craving for sweets that he didn’t have before. He had never understood when people would tell him that they craved chocolate or other sweet things. Once he gave in to eating lots of it, even after losing weight, the craving hung on.
Many, if not all, temptations are like that… the more you give in to them, the stronger they get. However, the opposite is true too… the more you resist them, the weaker they get.
2) Nobody else deals with this temptation over and over again like you do… Answer: Wrong.
The Bible tells us that there are no temptations except ones that are common to mankind.
Everyone deals with temptation. This lie tries to isolate you so you think that you are unique — and therefore have a unique problem that can’t be fixed. Maybe it’s not exactly presented to you that “no one else” deals with it, but that no one who is the kind of Christian you claim to be has to deal with it.
1 Cor 10:13a – There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: …
There is nothing new under the sun. People — including children of God — a thousand years ago were tempted to do the same kinds of sins that children of God are tempted to do today.
We may have more opportunities to sin, or easier access to certain types of ungodly things — right from your living room, but there are only so many types of bad things you can be tempted to do.
3) The temptation was just too strong for me, so I sinned… Answer: Wrong.
The Bible also tells us that with every temptation The Lord has made a way of escape. God wants us to overcome, so He made a way out. Here’s the good news… if a temptation comes knocking on your door — whatever it may be — God has already made a way for you to escape.
1 Cor 10:13b – …but God is faithful, who will not suffer (allow) you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.
What do we do if we are tempted?
The next time temptation comes… and it will… try this…
When temptation comes, don’t think, “Oh no! I’m going to sin again!” Instead, start looking for the exit. Ask The Lord for help… talk to Him like you would a trusted friend. He knows you are being tempted. “Lord! I’m being tempted to _____.” Yeah, just say it and fill in the blank. (Maybe even out loud if you are in private.) He knows it’s there … and you are not “in sin” because the temptation came. Say, “Lord! I’m being tempted to ______. Where is the way of escape? Show me how to get out!” … and He will.