TEMPTATION

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LEARN:  WHAT ARE THE TWISTED TRUTHS ABOUT TEMPTATION?

   

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PROMISE OF PLEASURE - LURED BY A LIE

“No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. 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 endure it.”

1 Corinthians 10:13

On a rough wooden pier, the seasoned fisherman tediously fastens his hook on a line, then baits the hook with what he suspects will lure the fish to bite. This old angler knows that certain fish can be caught only with certain bait … a dry fly for trout, worms for bass, stink bait for catfish. What the fish doesn’t know is, “All is not what it appears to be.” Within a tempting moment there’s a bite—a fight—and then a skinned fish fillet! 

We all know too well what it’s like to be lured by a lie. Something offers a promise and in the end it doesn’t pay. Temptation is that attractive lure hiding the deadly hook.  Take heart, you don’t have to take a bite.

 “There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death.” 

Proverbs 14:12

 

What Is Temptation?

The most common meaning of the word temptation is “an enticement to do wrong.”— The word entice comes from an old Greek hunting and fishing term deleazo, which means “to lure by a bait.”— No bait will tempt everyone and everyone is tempted by some type of bait. What will tempt you depends on the desires within your heart.

“Each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed.”

James 1:14

The Old Testament Hebrew word nasah means “an attempt to prove the quality of something.”  Nasah is most often translated in the Bible as “test, prove, tempt or try.” God permits us to be tested (tempted) in order to reveal our strengths and our weaknesses.Temptation is of the devil (Matthew 4:1–11).

  • Nasah is most often translated in the Bible as “test, prove, tempt or try.”
  • God permits us to be tested (tempted) in order to reveal our strengths and our weaknesses.Temptation is of the devil (Matthew 4:1–11).
  • Temptation itself is not sin, but succumbing to it is.God does not personally lead us into temptation:  “Let no one say when he is tempted, ‘I am tempted by God’; for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone.” (James 1:13)
  • But God does permit us to be tempted (Job 1:6–12) so that we can face temptation, overcome it, and become stronger:  “I have written to you, young men, because you are strong, and the word of God abides in you, and you have overcome the wicked one.”(1 John 2:14; see James 1:12)
  • No temptation is irresistible: “You can trust God to keep the temptation from becoming so strong that you can’t stand up against it, for he has promised this and will do what he says. He will show you how to escape temptation’s power so that you can bear up patiently against it.” (1 Corinthians 10:13)
  • Whatever we experience, Jesus has been there before us. He “was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin” (Hebrews 4:15).
  • Temptation is common to all Christians: “But remember this—the wrong desires that come into your life aren’t anything new and different. Many others have faced exactly the same problems before you” (1 Corinthians 10:13).  Paul describes the Christian as having two natures, the old and the new, which constantly compete for supremacy. The Christian must understand this, and learn to confront this “magnetic pull” of his or her own sinful nature and Satan’s wiles.

Biblical Example: 

God tested Abraham by asking him to sacrifice his beloved son, Isaac, as a burnt offering. Isaac was the apple of Abraham’s eye. Though he could have refused, he obeyed. When Abraham proved his faithfulness, God spared Isaac’s life. (Read Genesis Chapter 22.)

 

 “Some time later God tested Abraham. He said to him, ‘Abraham!’ ‘Here I am,’ he replied. Then God said, ‘Take your son, your only son, Isaac, whom you love, and go to the region of Moriah. Sacrifice him there as a burnt offering.’ ” Genesis 22:1–2 

 

The New Testament Greek word peirasmos means “a temptation to sin” or “a trial with a beneficial purpose.”

  • This same Greek word is also translated “test” or “trial.” 
  • When you are tempted, you are in a trying situation that reveals your character and tests your commitment. 
  • When you are tested by temptation, you are being refined by fire. “In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.” 1 Peter 1:6–7

Temptation was experienced by Jesus.  Therefore, He is fully able to help you in your temptation. Because he himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are tempted...

 

Twisted Truths about Temptation? 

Twisted Truth #1: “Temptation is sinful.” 

Truth: Temptation is not sin. Jesus was tempted in every way, yet He did not sin. (Hebrews 4:15) 

 

Twisted Truth #2: “God is tempting me!” 

Truth: Temptation is not from God, but it is allowed by God.  (James 1:13) 

 

Twisted Truth #3: “The devil made me do it!” 

Truth: Temptation is Satan’s attempt to lure you into sin, but he can be resisted. (James 4:7) 

 

Twisted Truth #4: “Somebody else made me do it.” 

Truth: No one can make you kill, steal, lie, cheat, or commit any immoral act. You have a choice as to whether you give in to temptation or not. (Proverbs 1:10) 

 

Twisted Truth #5: “A thought can’t be sinful.” 

Truth: An initial impure thought is not sinful, though it is a temptation. However, continuing with an unholy thought can make you captive to sin. (Acts 8:22–23) 

 

Twisted Truth #6: “God is angry at me when I’m tempted.”

Truth: God does not disapprove of you because you are tempted. He can use the temptation as a tool to develop your character.(James 1:2–4)

 

Twisted Truth #7: “What’s the use? I’ve already blown it!”

Truth: Failure is overcome by a change of focus: putting the past behind you and focusing on God’s goal for you—Christlikeness. Paul shared how he appropriated this truth in his own life. (Philippians 3:13–14)

“Because he himself [Jesus] suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.”

(Hebrews 2:18)

 Tracking Temptation - Facing Temptation 

  • Temptation is experienced by everyone. 
  • Temptation often occurs in an area where you have been previously ensnared. 
  • Temptation begins in your mind. 
  • Temptation takes advantage of your attractions and fears. 
  • Temptation appears to meet a legitimate need but does so illegitimately, in the wrong way or at the wrong time. 

“In the paths of the wicked are snares and pitfalls, but those who would preserve their life stay far from them.” 

(Proverbs 22:5) 

 

Falling into Temptation

  • Temptation strikes when your heart is “off guard.” 
  • Temptation is entered into by allowing your imagination to dwell on the tempting thoughts. 
  • Temptation uses rationalization to numb your conscience.
  • Temptation becomes relentless and urgent.
  •  Temptation provides highly unusual opportunities to enter into sin.

“Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.”

(Matthew 26:41)

Sin will make you stray further than you thought you’d stray, Sin will make you stay longer than you thought you’d stay, Sin will make you pay much more than you thought you’d pay. —June Hunt

 

The Freedom Formula for Self-Control 

A New Purpose + A New Priority + A New Plan = 

A Transformed Life 

  • Choose to reflect the character of Christ. 

“For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son” 

(Romans 8:29). 

  • Choose to exchange your old habit for a new habit. 

“Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind” 

(Romans 12:2)

  • Choose to rely on Christ’s strength, not your own strength. 

“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” 

(Philippians 4:13). 

  • Choose to appropriate God’s Gift of self-control.

“Therefore, with minds that are alert and fully sober, set your hope on the grace to be brought to you when Jesus Christ is revealed at his coming”

(1 Peter 1:13)

“We know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body ruled by sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin— because anyone who has died has been set free from sin.”

(Romans 6:6–7)

 Resisting Temptation 

  • Recognize the source. (Ephesians 6:12) 
  • Expect to win the war. (Romans 8:37) 
  • Search your heart. (1 Peter 5:6) 
  • Imagine the consequences. (Psalm 38:3) 
  • Sense God’s presence. (Hebrews 4:13) 
  • Transform your thoughts with truth. (2 Corinthians 10:4–5)

“In your struggle against sin, you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood.” 

(Hebrews 12:4) 

 

 Turn from Temptation 

When tempted to... 

  • Blame God 

“When tempted, no one should say, ‘God is tempting me.’ For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone”

(James 1:13). 

  • Complain 

“Do everything without grumbling or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, ‘children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation.’ Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky”

(Philippians 2:14–15). 

  • Doubt God 

“What is impossible with man is possible with God”

 (Luke 18:27). 

  • Give Up

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us”.  

(Hebrews 12:1).

  • Lie 

“Truthful lips endure forever, but a lying tongue lasts only a moment”

(Proverbs 12:19). 

  • Lust 

“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart”

(Matthew 5:27–28). 

  • Quarrel 

“Keep reminding God’s people of these things. Warn them before God against quarreling about words; it is of no value, and only ruins those who listen”

(2 Timothy 2:14).

  When tempted to be ...

  • Angry

My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires”

(James 1:19–20).

  • Discouraged

“We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed”

(2 Corinthians 4:8–9).

  • Disobedient 

“This is love for God: to keep his commands. And his commands are not burdensome”

(1 John 5:3). 

  • Self-sufficient 

“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing”

 (John 15:5). 

  • Unforgiving

“Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you” (Colossians 3:13).

  • Vengeful

“Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: ‘It is mine to avenge; I will repay,’ says the Lord. On the contrary: ‘If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.’ Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good”

(Romans 12:17–21).

 

“I have hidden your word in my heart that I might notsin against you.”

(Psalm 119:11)

 

The Road Back Home

Isaiah chapter 30 pictures God’s relationship with His Hebrew children. They had been rebellious, deceitful, and disobedient. In spite of their rebellion, God reveals His compassion and His provision for their way back home. (Read Isaiah 30:15–26.)

  • Repent (Isaiah 30:15) — Repentance requires total honesty before God, acknowledging your responsibility and turning from temptation. 
  • Rest (Isaiah 30:18) —Accept God’s grace toward you as He offers His forgiveness. 
  • Return (Isaiah 30:19) — Although you have suffered, your pain will be eased as you allow God’s grace to comfort your heart. 
  • Receive (Isaiah 30:21) — Once you return to God, you must learn His path for your life. 
  • Recover (Isaiah 30:22) — As you yield yourself to God’s power, sin’s power will lose its hold on you. 
  • Rejoice (Isaiah 30:23-26) — God will always bring blessing to the prodigal heart that returns home.

 

Key Verse to Learn

“No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. 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 endure it.” 

(1 Corinthians 10:13)

 

Key Passage to Read

Romans chapter 6

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