(Ephesians 2:1), “And you hath he quickened [made alive], who were dead in trespasses and sins;”
(Romans 5:8), “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”
(John 3:18), “He that believeth on him [Jesus Christ] is not condemned:…”
(I John 1:7), “…the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.”
It is important to study God’s Word, the Bible. It is important to memorize verses and to think upon His Word. The Word of God never changes, even though we live in a world of constant change. Our friends and families change. Circumstances change. Our thoughts and attitudes change. And all around us we experience change every day. But the Word of God remains the same, and is sure and steadfast. We can always depend upon His Word.
(Isaiah 40:8) says, “The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: but the word of our God shall stand for ever.” (Psalm 119:89) says, “For ever, O Lord, thy word is settled in heaven,” and in (I Peter 1:23), we read that the Word of God lives and abides forever.
In uncertain and changing times, we can always depend upon His Holy Word to give us comfort, strength, grace and power for each moment of our lives, regardless of our situations or our circumstances.
The Word of God also helps newborn babies in Christ to grow spiritually. In (I Peter 2:2) we read, “As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby.” We, as believers in Christ, are commanded in God’s Word to grow spiritually. (II Peter 3:18) says, “But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.”
The Word of God has always existed and will always exist. In (John 1:1-2) we read, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God.”
Read the following verses from the Bible: (Psalm 119: 2, 9, 11, 28, 50, 67, 71, 74, 92, 114, 130, 147, 148, 162 and 165).
As you begin these study courses of God’s Word, please begin them with this thought and prayer found in (Psalm 119:18), “Open thou mine eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of thy law.”
And in (Psalm 119:105) we read: “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.” This tells us how to stand with God and how to go with God.
“All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.” (II Timothy 3:16-17)
Introduction to Temptation
The first mention in the Bible of a situation involving temptation is in the book of Genesis, chapter 3, when the serpent tempted Eve. Just nineteen verses earlier, in chapter 2, God created man. With that in mind, temptation is almost as old as man and comes in many forms and fashions. There may be one thing Satan uses to tempt one person and something totally different that he will use on someone else. However, there are only three categories that temptations fall into. These categories are found in the Bible in (I John 2:15-16): (The lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life). If you trace your temptation back to the beginning, I believe you will find that one of these three categories, if not dealt with according to scripture, will lead you to sin. There is one thing that lies between man and his next sin, Temptation!!!
Eve was no match for the serpent, except for one thing; she had the Word of God. Notice the subtleties of the serpent as he approached Eve. He began to question the Word of God. He tempted Eve with her intellect when he told her in verse six “ye shall be as gods.” The word “gods” here is “Elohim,” which means, “Ye shall be as God Himself.” He was trying to put into Eve’s mind the same thought that he once had of being equal with God. Eve’s sin began with looking. The Bible said “she saw.” Her eyes were directed fully upon the forbidden fruit (the lust of the eyes) and the fact that the tree was good for food (the lust of the flesh). It was also a tree to be desired to make one wise (the pride of life). Satan was so successful as he dealt with Eve that he has continued to use those same three ingredients to tempt mankind ever since. He may use different tactics, but the temptation is still the same as it has always been. In this booklet, I want to deal with four points concerning Temptations.
The Subtleties of Temptation
“Now the serpent was more subtle [this word is also spelled subtil, both words mean the same] than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made.” (Genesis 3:1)
The Subtlety of the Serpent
In the process of God’s creation, He gave many animals subtlety. To some He gave the ability to creep and slyly sneak. To others He gave great strength and the art of special cunningness. To man, He gave all these things and more. Even with man’s abilities, he was no match for Satan. Although Adam did have a choice when tempted to sin, he made the wrong choice. The devil has many various methods of attack. He is especially crafty and very subtle. He seldom attacks a person when they are in a position of strength, but he will most certainly attack when they are at their weakest point. He also knows what to use on you, your “besetting sin,” (the sin that so easily besets you) (Hebrews 12:1).
The Bible often refers to the Christian as a soldier and as being in a spiritual warfare. There is a war going on in the Christian’s life, a war between two men. There is a war between the inward man and the outward man, the spirit and the flesh, and the spiritual man and the carnal man. When fighting this war there are ways to either win or lose. In combat, your enemy will never attack when you are in full strength. He will wait for you to get careless, singled out to yourself or away from reinforcement. He also comes to you when you have had discouragement and seem to be demoralized. Then, very subtly, he will quickly ambush you when you least expect an attack. He wants to catch you off guard when you will be an easy prey.
He also enjoys laying traps for you. The military would call these mines and booby-traps. He knows just where to put such traps so you will surely fall for one of them. There are different mines and booby-traps for different kinds of targets. The military has anti-personnel mines, anti-tank mines, all types of trip mines, etc. Depending on the target — and how reinforced it is — dictates what type of weapon the enemy will use.
Some mines and booby-traps will simply wound you. Many will cripple you, leaving you completely and totally devastated. Others will destroy you, taking you out of the battle.
The devil uses his subtleties in choosing the weapon with which he will attack you. He may bring up your past and remind you of your old lifestyle or days gone by (the past that God has forgiven you for, if you are saved). He will use the old nature (your carnal flesh) to torment your mind. He will remind you of things that you used to enjoy that are no longer fitting for a Christian. When you got saved, the Lord saved your soul, not your flesh, and you will still have to deal with all the things you have stored in that computer called your brain. That’s why it’s so important to renew your mind daily. (Romans 12:2) says, “And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.”
Temptation always begins in the mind. If we could learn to keep our mind on the things of God, we wouldn’t have such problems with temptation. Isaiah 26:3 tells us, “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee:…” (Philippians 4:8) says, “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.” Be careful what you spend time letting your mind think on. Make sure it’s things that are listed in this verse. Think on the things of God, for God knows every thought that enters your mind.
The devil may sometimes use others to tempt you. He doesn’t always do his dirty work himself. For instance, in Judges 16, he faced a man named Samson. Satan set out to destroy Samson and he knew his weaknesses. So, he used a woman named Delilah to tempt him and lead him astray. Samson didn’t give in immediately, but he didn’t flee temptation either. He played with it until it overtook him. The Bible tells us in (II Timothy 2:22), “Flee also youthful lusts: but follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart.” Sometimes it’s simply time to run, to flee from a situation if you find yourself facing a temptation that you know you can’t withstand. When Samson finally gave into Delilah, his temptation became sin and cost him dearly. It cost him his fellowship with God along with all the blessings God had in store for him. You’ll see that the price he paid also cost him his name, his sight, his freedom, and eventually it cost him his very life. Samson could have been the instrument that God used to deliver His people out of bondage, but Satan destroyed him with sin, and it all started with temptation. Temptation that Samson probably thought he could handle, being the strong man he was. He realized too late that it wasn’t Delilah that was trying to kill him, it was Satan. Ultimately he did.
The Seriousness of Temptation
“And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat:” (Luke 22:31). To “sift” Means to “separate.”
Satan sincerely enjoys separating us from our fellowship with God. One preacher said, “Satan doesn’t want us, he just doesn’t want the Lord to have us.” Satan would love nothing better than to cause every person that names the name of Christ to fall into sin and hinder the cause of Christ. Every time a Christian falls into sin it hinders the work of God. It damages the effectiveness of those who are sincerely trying to serve the Lord, and win the lost to Christ.
Many times we want to pass the blame for our sin and temptation to others, even to God. One man once said to me, “God tempted me with this and that. God created everything so it must have been God’s fault that I was tempted.” It’s easy to pass the buck, but the Bible says in (James 1:13-15), “Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man: But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.”
God doesn’t tempt anyone and never will. He may test us to try our faith, but he will never tempt us with evil. Temptation is real and there’s no need to tell yourself it doesn’t exist. Giving into temptation is a very serious thing. The pleasure of sin is only for a season. (Hebrews 11:25), “Choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season;” What you need to remember is the end result of sin (Romans 6:23), and that Satan is trying to sift you. Of course, if you are saved, you never have to worry about being eternally separated from God. However, your fellowship can be broken with God because of sin. Also remember that being saved is not a license to sin. (Romans 6:1-2) “What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?” A saved, born again Christian has no excuses for committing sin. God has given us everything we need to escape temptation, which we will discuss later in this booklet. Within ourselves there’s nothing we can do to withstand an attack from the devil. The Bible speaks of Michael the archangel (Jude verse 9) contending with the devil. Even an archangel was no match for Satan, but he knew one that was. He said, “The Lord rebuke thee.” So, when the devil comes to us, and we can’t seem to resist his temptations, we can either give in or we can say, “The Lord rebuke thee, Satan.” The good news for a Christian is that God is only a call away. God said in (Jeremiah 33:3), “Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and shew thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not.” God wants to help us with our weaknesses, but we must call for His help.
The Seasons of Temptation
Temptation always seems to come in seasons. If a person is able to realize what is taking place as the devil is trying to sift him with temptation and he resists, the devil will seemingly leave him alone for a little while. In (James 4:7-8) the Bible says to: “Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded.” Personally, it seems the devil will attack me when I am either weak spiritually or have just come through a great victory. Maybe, because after a great victory, it is easy to let your guard down and become relaxed. He attacks when your prayer life is lacking or when you have failed to read the Word of God faithfully. He attacks in seasons of discouragement, or when you are depressed by the daily circumstances of life. He can come to you when you feel someone has done you wrong, or that your friends have forsaken you. Keep in mind what (I Peter 5:8) says, “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:”
Satan, as a roaring lion, is always seeking his prey. Satan is not a lion, he just walks about like one, trying to bring fear upon all whom he meets. If you have ever seen a lion attack, you will have noticed that he usually goes for the slowest, weakest prey or those who allow themselves to become singled out. You can single yourself out in many different ways. Spiritually speaking, he awaits a time in your life when you are away from God. Just as he did with Adam and Eve in Genesis 3, he knew that God came in the cool of the day. So, he attacked when they were away from God. I know the Bible says that God will never leave us nor forsake us, and He won’t. However, it is possible for us to walk away from Him. That makes us weak and vulnerable. I’m not talking about getting deeply involved in sin, just simply allowing yourself to slip in your personal devotions and fellowship with God. For example, entertaining the wrong thoughts, looking at the wrong things, listening to the wrong manner of conversation or music, or staying out of church when you know you ought to be there. These simple inconsistencies can lead you away from God, until you are singled out for an attack.
You may thing you are safe if you are faithful to God and do all the right things that would make you strong spiritually. Even the strong aren’t safe from temptation if they don’t guard their weaknesses.
If you don’t know what your weaknesses are, you had better find out and guard yourself against them. In (Proverbs 7), the Bible speaks of a harlot tempting the weak and the strong. (Verse 26) says, “Many strong men have been slain by her…” The secret of withstanding an attack of temptation is to know your weaknesses and guard yourself with the right tools.
The Strength to Withstand Temptation
God has given us the means of resisting temptation. Many people want to say that the temptation was too strong and there was no way that they could resist it. That may be true for a lost person that doesn’t know the Lord as Saviour. If a person is not saved there is nothing within him to restrain him, but for a Christian who has the Holy Spirit living within his heart, that excuse is just a cop-out. (I Corinthians 10:13) tells us, “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.”
When temptation comes to a Christian there is always that still small voice from inside that says “Don’t do that, it’s wrong,” which is a warning from the Holy Spirit. Then we have a decision to make. At that very point it is a very critical time in which we decide whether we are going to only be tempted or if we are going to give in allowing our temptation to become sin. With the help of the Holy Spirit who lives within us, we can make the right decision. We only need to be obedient to His leading.
Many times in the Bible, the devil came to Jesus while he was on earth. He tried to tempt Him and cause Him to fall into sin. Jesus always fought the devil with scripture. Someone once said, “Jesus never had to face what we do.” Even though he was man, He was also God. That’s just another excuse. (Hebrews 4:15) says, “For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.” All the many times that Jesus faced the devil, He came out victorious and sinless. In (Matthew chapter 4), Jesus was faced by the tempter. Satan tried to get Jesus to turn the stones into bread, after He had been fasting for forty days and forty nights. Jesus answered the tempter by saying, “It is written” (verse 4). Then again He answered the devil, “It is written” (verse 7). The devil then took the Lord up into an exceedingly high mountain to try once again to tempt Him. Jesus answered for the third time, “It is written” (verse 10).
You will see in the same chapter, He resisted and the devil fled, as (James 4:7) tells us he will do. Not only did Satan flee, the angels came and ministered to Him. (Matthew 4:10-11) tells us, “Then saith Jesus unto him, Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve. Then the devil leaveth him, and, behold, angels came and ministered unto him.” Imagine that, resisting the devil and God sending angels to minister to you. There are great rewards for those who overcome temptation and sin. (Revelation 3:21) “To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne.”
The Lord tells us in (Matthew 26:41), “Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” (Mark 14:38) states, “Watch ye and pray, lest ye enter into temptation. The spirit truly is ready, but the flesh is weak.” These verses tell us that if we pray, God will give us the strength to resist temptation. Many, many references in the Bible will help us withstand temptation.
“Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations: That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ:” (I Peter 1:6-7).
“Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you: But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy.” (I Peter 4:12-13).
“The Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptations, and to reserve the unjust unto the day of judgment to be punished:” (II Peter 2:9).
“The eyes of the LORD are upon the righteous, and his ears are open unto their cry. The face of the LORD is against them that do evil, to cut off the remembrance of them from the earth. The righteous cry, and the LORD heareth, and delivereth them out of all their troubles.” (Psalms 34:15-17).
Temptation seems to be such an awful thing to think about facing and fighting. How can we possibly stand against it? Sometimes the devil wants us to think we are alone in trying to fight against him, or even trying to fight against our own flesh. To think that Satan wants to sift you may be a thought that utterly scares you to death. Well, the good news is that the Lord is praying for you. Notice in (Luke 22:31) “And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat:” Now notice what the Lord said to Simon Peter in the next verse, “But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not…” Think about this, the Lord praying for you. What strength that should give you. It’s like being in a race and the Lord is at the finish line cheering you on. He is praying that you will finish this race with victory. In (Romans 8:31) the Bible asks, “What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?”
In (I John 4:4) the Bible states, “Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world.” God is on our side and with Him there’s no way we can lose, if we will lean and depend on Him. Most importantly, be obedient to the voice of God. He tells us at least 365 times in His Word, to “Fear not,” in one form or another. We have nothing to be afraid of as long as we are living for God and trusting Him. (II Timothy 1:7) says, “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.”
To those of you who are saved, you may have grown weary in the fight. After reading this booklet, maybe you’ve realized that Satan has tried to sift you. The good news is that you don’t have to continue in sin and discouragement.
(I John 1:9) says: “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
“My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous: And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.” (I John 2:1-2).
Confess your sin today and receive the forgiveness of God and allow Him to restore the joy of your salvation.
If you are not saved, and have never accepted Christ as your personal Saviour, you will never be able to overcome the wicked one alone. First, you must realize you are a sinner and need to be saved. Until you get saved, you will never be able to resist sin within yourself. You must have the help of God. If God has convicted your heart of sin, and you realize you are a sinner, please bow your head now and repent of your sin, and by faith accept the Lord Jesus Christ as your Saviour. He will save you now if you will trust Him.
“That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” (Romans 10:9-11, 13).
I pray this little booklet will in some way help you to realize that temptation is of the devil. It is a tool he uses everyday and a battle you must fight every day. Stand strong in the faith. God, the Holy Spirit, will help you come out victorious over temptation.