The lessons learned from the previous writing: (1) Our temptations are derived out of our own lusts (desires). (2) Satan does not force us to do wickedness. Instead, he entices us. His bait is our own lust (desire). (3) Each human is housed within a physical body. Satan commonly uses the natural desires of the physical body to tempt. Brother Kerry Duke has written, “We are always housed in a physical body; from the moment of conception our spirit has been bound to it. Physical existence is the only life we have experienced, and only after death will we know existing apart from a physical world is like… our awareness of the physical world is sufficient to provide a constant challenge to the will. This awareness is immediate; we do not have to make a special effort to become aware of it. But just to think about the spiritual requires special effort. Our physical surroundings continually draw our attention. This is why so few become truly spiritually minded. For those who do, over coming the tendency to think only of the physical demonstrates a genuine commitment of the will.” (God at a Distance, page 84-85). Satan uses the distractions of this world, and the natural desires that we have to lead us away from God’s will. [For example – hunger is an involuntary desire. God wants us to work for our food (2 Thessalonians 3:10). Satan may tempt us to take a short cut (Proverbs 30:8-9)].
But, how do we keep ourselves from falling for Satan’s lures?
1. 1 John 2:17: “The world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth forever.”
The question comes up whether the term “world” refers to the material world, or the evil of this world. It is, of course, true that this material world will not last forever (Heb. 1:10-11; 2 Peter 3:10-12). Moreover, it is certainly true that we cannot take our material possessions with us (Psalm 49:16-17; Ecclessiates 2:18-19; Ecclessiates 5:15; cf. Job 1:21; Matthew 6:19-20; Luke 12:20; John 6:27; 1 Timothy 6:7). Too often we put all our energy laboring for and accumulating things which will not last. However, it is my belief that the reference is to the evil things of this world. The pleasures of sin are but for a season (Hebrews 11:24-25).
In order to successfully handle temptation, we must keep focused. The pleasures of sin are but for a season (Hebrews 11:24-25). Colossians 3:2 urges us “set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.” 2 Corinthians 4:18 encourages, “The things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.” Mark 8:36-37 asks, “What shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?”
By the way “doeth” represents continuous, not one time, action. Let us keep on doing His will (1 Corinthians 15:58; Galatians 6:9).
2. Psalm 119:11: “Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against Thee.”
Jesus when he was tempted responded by saying, “It is written.” Three times He so responded (Matthew 4:4, 7, 10).
The more we know the scriptures and meditate upon them the better we will be prepared to resist temptation. Saturate your mind with the Word of God. That Word will “effectually” work within us. (1 Thessalonians 2:13).
3. Mark 14:38: “Watch ye and pray lest ye enter into temptation.”
We need to watch, that is, stay alert to the “wiles of the devil” (Ephesians 6:11)… “for we are not ignorant of his devices” (2 Corinthians 2:11). 1 Peter 5:8 warns, “Be sober, be vigilant: because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour.”
We also need to remember to pray. The Bible says, “Men ought to pray, and not to faint” (Luke 18:1). Colossians 4:2 says “continue in prayer.” Let us “pray without ceasing” (1 Thessalonians 5:17). The Christian may “come boldly unto the throne of grace… and find grace to help in time of need” (Hebrews 4:16). It’s hard to sin if you’re praying about it! Prayer can even eliminate some temptation (Matthew 6:13; Proverbs 30:8-9).
4. 3 John 11-12: “follow not that which is evil, but that which is good… Demetrius hath a good report of all men, and of the truth itself: yea, and we also bear record; and ye know that our record is true.”
Following the wrong people will get one in many tempting circumstances (Proverbs 13:20; 1 Corinthians 15:33; see also Psalm 1:1; Proverbs 1:10-15).
Find godly examples. Such will help you to resist the wrong (1 Corinthians 11:1; 1 Peter 5:3; Hebrews 13:7). 3 John 9-12 urges Gaius to not follow Diotrephes, but Demetrius. Find those who want to do right and live holy lives and befriend them. The Psalmist wrote, “I am a companion of all them that fear thee, and of them that keep thy precepts” (Psalm 119:63).
5. Proverbs 15:3: “The eyes of the Lord are in every place, beholding the evil and the good.”
As you conduct your life remember that whether anyone else sees what you do or not – God does. Even things we hide from others He knows (Ecclesiastes 12:14; Romans 2:16; 1 Timothy 5:24-25). Remembering that we’re always being watched and are accountable is a great motivation to resist temptations.
The methods of temptation have not changed. In the garden, Eve saw the fruit was: (a) good for food (lust of the flesh); (b) pleasant to the eyes (lust of the eyes); (c) to be desired to make one wise (pride of life) see Genesis 3:6. In the wilderness, Jesus was tempted with (a) turning stones to bread (lust of the flesh); (b) offer of kingdoms (lust of the eyes); (c) challenge to prove that He was under God’s protective care (pride of life) see Matthew 4. These are still the three avenues of temptation for us today (see James 1:14-15; 1 John 2:15-17).
It is my hope that we’ve set forth some ways that will help you deal with the temptations of life in a godly, productive way.