Friday, June 21, 2013

Seed thoughts: "Where do temptations come from?"

"There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but 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 Cor. 10:13)

The word temptation can mean “trial” and “testing,” but in this study we are focusing more on the idea that temptation is the “solicitation, enticement or the invitation to sin.”  Having said that, the temptation, in and of its own, is not sin (it is an invitation to sin).  The sin is in the yielding to it.  When you yield to temptation then you end up in sin.  When you yield to God, resist the Devil and flee from sin, then the temptation is escaped and you will be able to bear it or endure it.

Where do temptations come from? There are at least three sources of temptations (BTW, if you wish to add or improve upon this article please feel free to leave a comment) - The first two that I will highlight are outward sources and the third is inward or our selves (the flesh or our sinful nature).

1.  Satan himself, as he is also known as "the tempter."

"For this cause, when I could no longer forbear, I sent to know your faith, lest by some means the tempter have tempted you, and our labour be in vain." (1 Thess. 3:5)
The Lord Jesus Himself was tempted by Satan (Matt. 4; Mk. 1; & Lk. 4).  Interesting to note that when the Lord got victory over Satan's temptation, that Satan (or the tempter) departed from Christ only "for a season" (Lk. 4:13).  One victory over temptation does not mean that the temptation (nor the tempter) doesn't return.  Satan tried to get the Lord Jesus to doubt God and God's goodness, to doubt His own identity as God's Son, and he tried to persuade the Lord to fulfill his natural desires in a way that was out of step with the Heavenly Father.  Note: a temptation can also be an invitation to do "God's will" in a disobedient way.

2.  Companions, friends or others.

"My son, if sinners entice thee, consent thou not." (Pro. 1:10)

 "Enter not into the path of the wicked, and go not in the way of evil men.
 15 Avoid it, pass not by it, turn from it, and pass away." (Pro. 4:14-15)

 "A violent man enticeth his neighbour, and leadeth him into the way that is not good." (Pro. 16:29)
We must ever be watchful of who we follow or listen to or allow as friends because of the influence that others may have upon us.  Others can clearly be a source of temptation in our lives.  The best thing to do when others are manifestly the source of temptation is to avoid them.

3.   Self or the flesh.

 "Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak." (Matt. 26:41)

"But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed." (James 1:14)
Certainly the two outside influences of temptation would be greatly hindered if we would take great heed to ourselves!  We must remember that our flesh is weak.  As long as we are living in this world we will always struggle with temptations.  However, we do not need to be defeated by our temptations, we can through God's grace, bear it or endure it.  It is all wrapped up in how we choose to respond to temptations.  We must remember that God is faithful, that He only permits temptations to come our way which He knows that we may able to resist.  He makes a way of escape or deliverance from it so that we maybe able to endure it.  God has given us everything we need to defeat the various sources of temptations in this world of sin.

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