“Every time you defeat temptation you become more like Jesus.” Rick Warren
Temptations come in various shapes and sizes, and what may be a temptation to you, may not be to me. We all have different Achilles heels, weaknesses, and points where we are vulnerable. No one though, is exempt from temptations. While temptations are not sin, when we give in to them, sin is birthed.
A temptation is “a desire or craving for something.” Genesis 3:6 describes the first temptation. “When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it.” This verse points to three areas the enemy can tempt us: provision, pleasure, and power.
Eve saw that the fruit from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil was “good for food.” Temptations may come under the guise of provision, or meeting our needs, which deceives us into thinking they can do no harm. Just because we can do something, doesn’t mean we should. Temptations are also “pleasing to the eye;” they tug on our desire for pleasure. Lastly, Eve saw this fruit was also “desirable for gaining wisdom.” Wisdom empowers those who have it.
Temptations center around our lusts; what we long for. We need to watch out for anything we have to have or covet. When we have an inordinate desire for the gratification of our senses, or when we want something that God does not allow, we are being tempted. Temptations are also the ways we comfort ourselves, instead of allowing God to comfort us when we’ve been hurt.
Some of our appetites may be God-given, but if we take things into our own hands to get our own way or they’re not met or fulfilled by God, then they all too often become sin. God doesn’t want anything or anyone to usurp His rightful place on the throne of our hearts.
Even though temptations are enticing, God is faithful and will provide us with a way of escape. (I Corinthians 10:13) Jesus quoted Scripture to Satan when He was tempted in the wilderness, and we can do the same. As we’re aware of our personal fault lines, we can set up hedges of protection and decide ahead of time what we will or will not do. Remember, God is on our side; He wants us to not sin, more than we do!
“Temptation is not a sin; it is a call to battle.” Erwin W. Lutzer
Relevant Reflections: 1. In which area do you most struggle with temptation: provision, pleasure or power? 2. Create a God-given game plan to have victory over temptations which are common to you.