Summary: How do we handle temptation, a better question may be how do we escape temptation, This message looks at the temptation Adam and Eve faced in the garden and gives practical ways we can escape temptation. This message is #2 in a 6 part series, Life.com
No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it. 1 Corinthians 10:13
Those are comforting words for everyone who struggles with temptation. The apostle Paul was writing to a group of Christians who were surrounded by various temptations and enticements for sin. Therefore, with pen in hand he reminds them that when tempted there is a way of escape.
There is not a person who has cast his shadow across this earth, including Jesus Christ, who has not faced temptation. Moreover, there is not a single person who has ever lived, except Christ, who has not yielded to it at one time or another and suffered the consequences. Temptation is an inevitable part of our fallen world.
Temptation has many faces, for example:
• Material temptation, which can be defined as the lust for things.
It might be as big as a house or as small as a ring. It might be as bright and dazzling as a brand-new car or as dull and dusty as an antique roll-top desk. Yet, who has not felt the burning passion of lust for things? Moreover, who has not at times yielded to it unwisely? Discipleship Journal says materialism is the #1 temptation in America today.
• Then there is what we call personal temptation, which is the lust for fame, for authority, for power, or control over others.
It might be as simple as lust for a title like "CEO" or "President" or "Doctor" or "Professor’ or "Admiral." There is nothing wrong with those titles or those positions, until lust comes and says, "You deserve that, for what it will mean to you”.
• Finally, there is sensual temptation, which is lust for another person or in reality, lust for the person’s body.
I am referring here to the hedonistic desire to have and enjoy that, which is not one’s own, either legally or morally.
All temptation falls into one of these three areas – MATERIAL, PERSONAL or SENSUAL.
Temptation is a strong for in our battle of our two natures, That is why Jesus prayed in the model prayer; And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one (Matthew 6:13)
St. Anthony – "Expect temptation with your last breath."
Edward Sanford Martin said, “Within my earthly temple, there’s a crowd;
There is one of us that’s humble, one that’s proud;
There is one that’s broken-hearted for his sins;
There’s one that, unrepentant, sits and grins;
There is one that loves his neighbor as himself,
And one that cares for naught but fame and self.
From much corroding care I should be free
If I could once determine which is me”.
Source "My Name IS Legion," in Masterpieces of Religious Verse, ed. James Dalton Morrison (New York: Harper, 1948), 274.
Everyone struggles with Temptation – I heard about three preachers who spent a day on the lake fishing, after a while each decided to share the temptation each struggled with most as a way of confessing their sins to one another. The first preacher said – my sin is Greed, and I struggle every week with that temptation in fact a few weeks ago, I took some of the collection and used it for personal gain. The second preacher said each week I face the temptation of drinking and from time to time, I dip into the sacramental wine at the church. The Third preach said, boy, I am in trouble – I struggle with gossip and I cannot wait to get this boat back to shore.
How do we escape temptation? The Bible gives us an example of a woman facing temptation her failure will give us several lessons on how to escape the trap of temptation.
Let us look at the temptation of Eve and draw out some lessons for us today
READ TEXT GENESIS 3:1-7
Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the LORD God had made. He said to the woman, "Did God really say, ’You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?" The woman said to the serpent, "We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, but God did say, ’You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.’" "You will not surely die," the serpent said to the woman. "For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil." When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it. Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves.