Probably some of the most useful teachings needed in the Body of Christ are those that help us to live right with God and those that help us to understand and overcome the schemes of the evil one, Satan. I find great comfort in realising that God has set strict limits upon what the devil can and can't do in peoples everyday lives, and that He has provided His children with a way of escape from temptation, and a pathway to victory in Jesus Christ.
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.
(1 Corinthians 10:13)
Temptation's Entrance Into The World
Eve's Temptation in the Garden of Eden
In the first book in the Old Testament, God made sure that we had a detailed and clear description of the tactics Satan used to deceive Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden.
(Genesis 3:6) So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food (Lust of the Flesh), that it was pleasant to the eyes (Lust of the Eyes), and a tree desirable to make one wise (Pride of Life), she took of its fruit and ate. She also gave to her husband with her, and he ate.
Jesus Temptation in the Wilderness
1,000's of years later, in the first book in the New Testament we see Satan deploying the very same tactics to try to ensnare Jesus!
(Matthew 4:1-11) Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. And when He had fasted forty days and forty nights, afterward He was hungry. Now when the tempter came to Him, he said, “If You are the Son of God, command that these stones become bread.” (Lust of the Flesh) But He answered and said, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.’ ” Then the devil took Him up into the holy city, set Him on the pinnacle of the temple, and said to Him, “If You are the Son of God, throw Yourself down. (Pride of Life) For it is written: ‘He shall give His angels charge over you,’ and, ‘In their hands they shall bear you up, Lest you dash your foot against a stone.’ ” Jesus said to him, “It is written again, ‘You shall not tempt the Lord your God.’ ” Again, the devil took Him up on an exceedingly high mountain, and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. (Lust of the Eyes) And he said to Him, “All these things I will give You if You will fall down and worship me.” Then Jesus said to him, “Away with you, Satan! For it is written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God, and Him only you shall serve.’ ” Then the devil left Him, and behold, angels came and ministered to Him
*Here we see Satan had to use the very same temptations against Jesus as he did against Eve in the Garden of Eden. Why?
Because God has restricted Satan's influence to those things that are common, ordinary and familiar to man. God has not allowed Satan to use secret weapons that we could not possibly understand or defend against successfully.
(1 Corinthians 10:13) 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
Temptation is Restricted
The devil does not have unlimited access into every area of your life, but has been restricted to operate only within the parameters God has allowed. Understanding how Satan operates in areas such as temptation is the first step toward being able to overcome his plans and schemes for your life.
(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.
*There are only 3 ways of temptation that God has allowed into the world.
Lust of the Flesh
Lust of the Eyes
Pride of Life
Where does temptation come from?
The sinful nature that entered into mankind through our fall from grace in the Garden of Eden, brings forth sinful thoughts and desires within us when we are tempted. These temptations are designed to lure and trick man into areas of sin and rebellion against God.
(James 1:12-15) 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. 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. But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed. Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death.
(Romans 6:23) For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Understanding The Process of Temptation
The Principle of Seed and Harvest
(Mark 4:26-29) And He said, “The kingdom of God is as if a man should scatter seed on the ground, and should sleep by night and rise by day, and the seed should sprout and grow, he himself does not know how. For the earth yields crops by itself: first the blade, then the head, after that the full grain in the head. But when the grain ripens, immediately he puts in the sickle, because the harvest has come.
Thoughts come as seeds into the ground of our heart and mind!
What type of seed is it?
Seeds can Birth Either Sin or Righteousness
Both God's (Bible) promises and Satan's temptations come initially as seeds planted in our heart and mind. If we continuously think about God's promises then they grow inside us and eventually will bring forth a harvest, that being the fulfilment of God's promises in our lives.
In the same way if we allow the seeds of temptation to stay in our mind and heart they also will bring forth a harvest in our lives, this time of sin and eventually spiritual death.
(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
Choose the seeds you want to keep carefully!
*"Thoughts come as seeds, seeds grow into plants if you water them, plants eventually yield a harvest"
Thoughts lead to Desires, Desires lead to Actions:
Righteous thoughts lead to Righteous Desires, Righteous Desires lead to Righteous Actions
Sinful thoughts lead to sinful Desires, Sinful Desires lead to Sinful Actions
(2 Timothy 2:22) Flee also youthful lusts; but pursue righteousness, faith, love, peace with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart.
Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death.
Walking in the Spirit or in the Flesh
When we walk in obedience to and fill our heart with God's word we are enabled to walk with God and be led by the Holy Spirit in life! But if we walk and live contrary to God's word we are left under the control of our sinful nature and it's fleshly desires, which result in sinful actions and ultimately lead to spiritual death.
(Galatians 5:16) I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh
(John 8:34) Jesus answered them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, whoever commits sin is a slave of sin.
Rebellion or Submission?
Satan is in Rebellion against God, and because of his rebellion he lost his former glory and was cast out of heaven. Temptation is designed by Satan to lead mankind away from God and to hold us in the bondage of rebellion.
Jesus taught us that God is our loving Heavenly Father, and that by choosing to humble ourselves and submit to His will in our lives, we can be assured of His mercy, blessing and protection forever.
So we see that just as Rebellion and Sin will keep us away from God's blessing and protection, in the same way Submission and Humility before God will ensure our eternal salvation by keeping us safe under God's protection.
(1 Samuel 15:23) For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, And stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. Because you have rejected the word of the Lord, He also has rejected you from being king.”
Humility and Submission are God's Way of Escape!
But He gives more grace. Therefore He says:
“God resists the proud, But gives grace to the humble.”
Therefore submit to God.
Resist the devil and he will flee from you.
Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Lament and mourn and weep! Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up
*Its no use trying to resist the devil if you are not fully submitted to God!
The devil flees from YOU only when you are in submission to God, then GOD's grace and authority flow through you in Holy Spirit power!
But if we continue thinking about and desiring things that are sinful then the Devil will continue to have access into our lives.
Satan could not overcome Jesus when He was tempted because Jesus was always led by the Holy Spirit, and did not allow the seeds of sin in His heart or mind!
Therefore the devil had no area of control in Jesus life!
(John 14:30) I will no longer talk much with you, for the ruler of this world is coming, and he has nothing in Me
(John 8:29) And He who sent Me is with Me. The Father has not left Me alone, for I always do those things that please Him.”
So How Can We Successfully Resist Temptation and use God's Way of Escape?
We Submit to God:
By humbling ourselves before Him,
By filling our heart and mind with the truth of God's Word
By yielding our own will and seeking first God's Will for our lives
By allowing God's Love and Kindness to flow through us in service to others
(2 Corinthians 10:4-5) For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ
(Matthew 4:4) But He answered and said, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.’ ”
(Matthew 6:10) Your kingdom come. Your will be done On earth as it is in heaven
(1 Timothy 1:5) Now the purpose of the commandment is love from a pure heart, from a good conscience, and from sincere faith
The How To: Series
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