Summary: truths on temptation
Oscar Wilde said, “I can resist anything but temptation.” He also said, “The only way to get rid of temptation is to yield to it.”
As Christians we must learn how to overcome temptation. Josh Billing was right when he said, “One-half the trouble of this life can be traced to saying ‘yes’ too quickly, and not saying ‘no’ soon enough.”
Years ago I came across a spiritual equation that I have never forgotten: “temptation plus opportunity equals trouble.” It is possible for someone to be tempted yet not have the opportunity to fulfill that temptation. On the other hand, someone may have the opportunity, but not be tempted. It is when you get the two together that you have a problem.
I want to deal with a problem that we all face every day. It doesn’t matter whether you’re young or old, rich or poor, intelligent or illiterate, a young Christian or a seasoned veteran.
Our text yields some great secrets to finding victory over the devil and any temptation that we might face.
I. The PROBLEM Of Daily Temptation
The Bible teaches at least two principles related to the problem of daily temptation:
A. It Is A COMMON Problem That We Face (1Corinthians 10:13)
B. It Is A CONTINUOUS Problem That We Face
Temptation is something we will constantly face, so we must learn how to handle it.
There is no person exempt (1,2). If the very son of God was not exempt, your not exempt. There is no period exempt. What period of time was this in which Jesus tempted? Jesus had just been baptized. Jesus had just begun His public ministry. The Holy Spirit of God had just descended upon the Lord Jesus Christ (3:21). There is no kind of a spiritual experience that your going to enter into that’s going to make you immune to temptation either. The Lord Jesus Christ had the approval of heaven, and it was just after this that He knew the assault of hell.
There is no place that is exempt. Continue to read. The Bible says He was lead by the Spirit into the wilderness. Jesus was exactly, precisely in the will of God, and He was tempted. Don’t get the idea that if you are in the will of God, or if your serving God, your not going to be tempted.
There is no point where your not exempt. See Hebrews 4:15.
II. The PATHWAY Of Daily Temptation
The Bible reveals that all temptation follows a predictable pathway. Thus, you can be alert to what avenues temptation will enter into your life. See I John 2:15,16. John describes 3 ways in which tmeptation comes to us.
A. Temptation Comes Through The Of The FLESH (Luke 4:3)
The word "lust" speaks of the cravings and longings of the flesh. The "flesh” is our fallen nature, the old man, that part of us that still longs after the things of this world. By our flesh, the world seeks to get us to fulfill the desires of the flesh in a wrong way. This method involves SHAMEFUL APPETITES.
We will be tempted to satisfy the physical desires of your body. The of the flesh deals with the body, and that’s in the area of appetites. Now what was the devil saying to Jesus? Satisfy your body. Make a god of your appetite, and turn these stones into bread. Now, it’s very obvious that there is nothing wrong with eating bread. Jesus ate bread; he broke bread with His disciples, Jesus fed five thousand men bread. There is nothing wrong with eating bread. But the problem here would have been that Jesus would have been acting independently of the Father if he had turned the stones into bread.
The first temptation that Satan presented to the Lord Jesus in the wilderness appealed to the flesh. Satan challenged Jesus to turn stones into bread and put an end to his gnawing hunger. He tempted Jesus to act in independence of the Holy Spirit to satisfy a desire of the flesh.
Satisfy your cravings, satisfy your physical desires the devil says. Now, do we face those same kinds of temptations? Of course we do. You will be tempted to satisfy the cravings of your physical body.
B. Temptation Comes Through The Of The EYES (Luke 4:5-7)
Satan utilized the eye gate for his next temptation. He revealed to the Lord great wealth and power that is available in the world and offered it to the Lord. Many fall in this manner as they look upon the houses, lands, wealth, etc. of this world. Many sacrifice eternal treasure for temporary earthly treasure.
The second method of the world is the "lust of the eyes." The eyes are a gateway to the mind. The world puts things before our eyes for the purpose of getting us to think about certain things. The of the eyes relates to SHOWY APPEARANCE, that is things to see. The eyes see and flesh longs. The devil knows how to package and merchandise his wares so that they appear attractive.