When it comes to facing temptation each day, we need to consider the source of that temptation. Who is trying to tempt us to sin and why is he doing it? We also need to look at how he is trying to entice us.
The Apostle James wrote:
“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 NKJV)
James didn’t tell us who is the source of temptation, but he did tell us who isn’t. It isn’t God! Some people today claim that the reason they do certain things is because God made them that way. However, James made it clear that God is not the source of our failures.
The Apostle Matthew told us who the tempter is, when wrote:
“Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil.” (Matthew 4:1 NKJV)
The devil is the source of all temptation. He even tried to tempt Jesus in the wilderness.
“Now when the tempter came to Him, he said, ‘If you are the Son of God, command these stones to become bread.’ ” (Matthew 4:3 NKJV)
Notice that Matthew called the devil “the tempter.” That is who he is, and we must always be aware of what he is doing.
Jesus had just completed a forty day fast. His flesh was feeling weak from lack of food. It was at this moment that the enemy swept in and said, “If you are really the Son of God, then command these stones to become bread.” Satan tried to tempt Jesus by appealing to the desires of His flesh. This is often the way that he tries to tempt us. He does everything he can to appeal to what we see, hear, taste, smell and touch. No doubt to Jesus those stones looked like loaves of warm bread fresh from the oven.
When the devil tempts us, he tries to get us to set our minds on the desires of the flesh. He wants us to focus on those things that appeal to our physical senses. Even in His weakened state, Jesus did not fall for this scheme of the devil.
“But He answered and said, ‘It is written, “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.” ‘ ” (Matthew 4:4 NKJV)
Jesus resisted the devil by speaking the Word of God. Notice that He didn’t run to His Bible to find the right Scripture to read. He had God’s Word treasured in His heart. We have to do the same thing. We need to feed on God’s Word and meditate on it, until it becomes a living reality in our spirits. When the tempter comes, we can defeat him by using the Word of God against him.
No where in the Bible are we told to resist temptation. Does that surprise you? We are told to resist the devil. The Apostle James wrote:
“Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.” (James 4:7 NKJV)
We should not submit to the devil, we need to submit to God. Then we can stand against the enemy and put him to flight, in Jesus’ name!
Jesus faced the tempter without any fear. We must do the same. The One who is on our side is greater than the one who is tempting us. The Apostle John put it this way:
“You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.” (1 John 4:4 NKJV)
The devil is the spirit of this world. Every temptation to sin is a scheme from the enemy to draw us back into the world. How often have we seen people who have been faithfully serving God, slip back into a lifestyle of sin? It isn’t long before they stop going to church, read their Bibles or even pray. Sadly, they end up looking like the rest of the world.
This is why we need to feed on God’s Word every day, and stay in close fellowship with Him. We need to keep our lives air tight, so that the devil has no place in us to gain a foothold. The Apostle John wrote:
“We know that whoever is born of God does not (practice) sin; but he who has been born of God keeps himself, and the wicked one does not touch him.” (1 John 5:18 NKJV, word in parentheses mine.)
We have the authority in Christ to keep ourselves free from the devil and free from sin. If we do sin, we need to confess that sin immediately and keep our garments pure, clean and white. That is how we can keep ourselves unspotted from the world, and remain holy in God’s sight.
You are holy, dear saint!
[All Scripture quotations have been taken from The Holy Bible, New King James Version, copyright 1982, Thomas Nelson Inc.]