Summary: Everyone gets tempted. Where does it come from, how does it work, what can we do?
I remember back in 1977, when I got my first new car, the price of unleaded gasoline was .60 per gallon. There was speculation in the media that the price would soon top $1. Well, being 20 years old and believing that I knew everything there was to know (like every 20 year old) I proudly stated, with all the boldness of a prophet, “Gas will never go over $1 per gallon, because no body will pay that much for it.”
How many of you today would drive 10 miles out of the way to fill up at $1?
Well, I knew quite early on, I am no prophet. I don’t think many of you are prophets either. Here is a test.
How many of you, could have prophesied 25 years ago that in 2003:
The greatest golfer in the world would be a black man
The #1 rapper would be a white guy
One of the basketball superstars would be Chinese
And France and Germany would not want to go to war
I’ll bet you failed that test.
Well, as we begin 2004, I still am not a prophet. I still can’t say what gasoline will cost, what will happen with the DOW, who will win the Presidential election, or who will be this year’s national champion in football.
But there is one prophesy I can make… absolutely, positively, 100% guaranteed.
EVERYONE OF US WILL BE TEMPTED THIS YEAR
Duh!! Wait a minute; I can do better than that. I can tell you how to handle temptation.
II. HOW TO OVERCOME TEMPTATION.
1. REALIZE: Every Christian no matter how spiritual or how carnal: no matter how long they’ve been saved or short they’ve been saved; will be tempted.
"There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man" (I Corinthians 10:13).
Temptation falls into two categories. First, the desire to do wrong things. Second, the temptation not to do right things. "Therefore, to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin" (James 4:17).
The first temptation involves wanting to get drunk, commit adultery, or steal. The second temptation involves staying home from church, not tithing, or not winning souls.
2. KNOW: It is never directed by God. (James 1:13)
God is never effected by sin, doesn’t make any decisions effected by sin and cannot cause or lead a person to sin because he is totally pure and holy.
3.) It is an individual matter (James 1:14) “But each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full grown, gives birth to death.”
4.) It will always follow the same pattern. A thought enters, we pamper it; it germinates and grows into an evil act. The devil has a pattern of attack… an M. O.
5. DON”T CONFUSE TEMPTATION WITH SIN.
Temptation is natural… and supernatural.
Satan is the author of all lies… and thus all temptation.
All temptation comes from Satan to get us to…
Lose fellowship with God
Lose power from God
Lose blessings from God
BUT TEMPTATION IS NOT SIN.
Being tempted to steal a toy is not stealing a toy.
Temptation … the impulse to do wrong… will come to us because Satan will cause it.
But being tempted is not sin.
Jesus was tempted.
Don’t give us and think… well, I was tempted, so I am guilty, I might as well do it.
THAT IS STRAIGHT FROM HELL
Satan uses that lie to get you to give up before you even start to fight.
6. TRUST GOD’S WORD that temptation will not be greater than the Christian can handle. "Who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able" (I Cor. 10:13).
Some think… “Well, even if I resist, the temptation will just get stronger and I will eventually give in, so I might as well give in now.
Another one of Satan’s lies to get you to surrender before the battle.
God has promised that no temptation will be greater than our resistance to bear it. "God is faithful who will not suffer 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" (I Corinthians 10:13).
It may get stronger… but IT WILL NEVER EXCEED YOUR RESOURCES TO COMBAT IT OR YOUR WILL TO SAY NO.
7. USE THE BIBLE WHEN TEMPTED.
The only person to ever live without sin was Jesus Christ. When Jesus was tempted He always quoted the Scriptures.
Jesus was tempted to make rocks into bread, to throw Himself off of the pinnacle of the temple, and to fall down and worship Satan. Jesus answered, "It is written . . ." (Matthew 4:4).