Not only will this world resist you, but this world will also tempt you. The culture will oppose you, and if that doesn’t work, it will try to lure you away from following Jesus by enticing you to sin. Jesus experienced both.
Those who opposed Jesus resisted Him outright, but He also was tempted. In both Matthew 4 and Luke 4, we see Jesus facing temptation from Satan himself. We will take a deeper look at these passages tomorrow, but know this… if Jesus faced temptation, you will too. Where do these temptations come from? We know that temptation to do evil does not come from God. “God never tempts us to do what is wrong” (James 1:13; Luke 11:4 ESV).
Look at how James answered that question: “Temptation comes from our own desires, which entice us and drag us away. These desires give birth to sinful actions. And when sin is allowed to grow, it gives birth to death,” (James 1:14-15 NLT).
Satan tempts by stirring up our own wayward and wicked desires to do wrong. Notice the aggressive language. When you give in to temptation, you are “dragged away.” You are no longer in control, but you are under sin’s control and that one temptation can lead to devastating results. Thoughts lead to actions. Actions become habits. And habits destroy lives.
You probably know people who thought they could play with temptation only later to be consumed and destroyed by it. There are three main areas where temptation strikes. “Do not love this world nor the things it offers you, for when you love the world, you do not have the love of the Father in you. For the world offers only a craving for physical pleasure, a craving for everything we see, and pride in our achievements and possessions. These are not from the Father, but are from this world,”(1 John 2:15-16 NLT).
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The areas in which we are most vulnerable to temptation are physical pleasure, the constant craving for more things, and pride for what we have and what we’ve done. John is saying, “these longings don’t come from God, but are shaped by the culture around us.” Behind it, all is an intentional plan to destroy you and draw you away from Jesus.
Peter warns, “Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour,” (1 Peter 5:8 NLT). The struggle is real. The enemy is resolute and determined, but you can stand under temptation because God has provided you a way out.
Notice what Paul says about every temptation you face: “The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you can endure,” (1 Corinthians 10:13 NLT).
The temptations you face are common to everyone. Your enemy is not very creative. He uses the same temptations over and over. We all face them, but notice – God is faithful. Faithful means 100 percent. That means that God is faithful 100 percent of the time!
Faithful to do what? God is faithful to ensure that you are never tempted beyond what you can handle in His power. He is faithful to show you a way out every time you are tempted. There will always be an exit sign; you just have to take it.
By Craig Etheredge of discipleFIRST. Used by permission.