My absolute favorite dessert in the world is ice cream. I could eat a container of ice cream and not even bat an eye…it is incredibly tempting. I see ice cream and I think of the Borg from Star Trek…resistance is futile. But, I have been resisting, I don’t eat ice cream nearly as much as I used to, or as much as I’d like. Anybody want to share a temptation they have?
Temp`ta ́tion (Webster)
n. 1. The act of tempting, or enticing to evil; seduction.
When the devil had ended all the temptation, he departed from him for a season. – Luke iv. 13.
2. The state of being tempted, or enticed to evil. Lead us not into temptation.
– Luke xi. 4.
3. That which tempts; an inducement; an allurement, especially to something evil. Dare to be great, without a guilty crown;
View it, and lay the bright temptation down.
1.temptation ‐ something that seduces or has the quality to seduce
2.temptation ‐ the desire to have or do something that you know you should avoid; “he felt the temptation and his will power weakened”
3.temptation ‐ the act of influencing by exciting hope or desire; “his enticements were shameless”
Funny how the definitions are different in both of those dictionaries. Webster defines temptation as something evil, the free dictionary just says that temptations are “seductions, hopes, desires…” wow, what a difference. Unfortunately for the world, I think the free dictionary is what the world believes.
The scripture verse that stands out in my mind about temptation is when Jesus was baptized and fasted for 40 days in the wilderness.
Luke 4:1-14 (King James Version)
1 And Jesus being full of the Holy Ghost returned from Jordan, and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness, 2 Being forty days tempted of the devil. And in those days he did eat nothing: and when they were ended, he afterward hungered. 3 And the devil said unto him, If thou be the Son of God, command this stone that it be made bread. 4 And Jesus answered him, saying, It is written, That man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God. 5 And the devil, taking him up into an high mountain, shewed unto him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time. 6 And the devil said unto him, All this power will I give thee, and the glory of them: for that is delivered unto me; and to whomsoever I will I give it. 7 If thou therefore wilt worship me, all shall be thine. 8 And Jesus answered and said unto him, Get thee behind me, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve. 9 And he brought him to Jerusalem, and set him on a pinnacle of the temple, and said unto him, If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down from hence: 10 For it is written, He shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee: 11 And in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone. 12 And Jesus answering said unto him, It is said, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God. 13 And when the devil had ended all the temptation, he departed from him for a season. 14 And Jesus returned in the power of the Spirit into Galilee: and there went out a fame of him through all the region round about.
Being forty days tempted by the devil. And not once did Christ give in to Satan’s temptations. Notice that each time Satan tempted Christ, the things he tempted Christ with changed: Food, Power, Pride. Satan changes his tactics as he runs into resistance, but it’s all the same, he wants us to sin, he wants us to fall short, he wants us to question our faith and our God. He has done this from the beginning.
1 Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?” 2 The woman said to the serpent, “We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, 3 but God did say, ‘You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.’” 4 “You will not certainly die,” the serpent said to the woman. 5 “For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” 6 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. 7 Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves. 8 Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the Lord God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the Lord God among the trees of the garden.9 But the Lord God called to the man, “Where are you?” 10 He answered, “I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid.” 11 And he said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from?” 12 The man said, “The woman you put here with me—she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it.” 13 Then the Lord God said to the woman, “What is this you have done?” The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.”
Satan tempted Adam, and Adam gave way to temptation and chose sin over God. How many times have we done the exact same thing in our lives? How many times have we chosen sin over God? The Israelites did it in the desert, not just once, but over and over again…constantly falling into what the Lord promised in
Judges 2:2-4 (New Living Translation)
2 For your part, you were not to make any covenants with the people living in this land; instead, you were to destroy their altars. But you disobeyed my command. Why did you do this? 3 So now I declare that I will no longer drive out the people living in your land. They will be thorns in your sides,[a] and their gods will be a constant temptation to you.”
4 When the angel of the Lord finished speaking to all the Israelites, the people wept loudly.
God told them what was going to happen if they failed to listen to His instructions, just as He tells us what is going to happen if we fail to listen to His instructions.
Christ talks about temptation a number of times
5 “And anyone who welcomes a little child like this on my behalf is welcoming me. 6 But if you cause one of these little ones who trusts in me to fall into sin, it would be better for you to have a large millstone tied around your neck and be drowned in the depths of the sea.
7 “What sorrow awaits the world, because it tempts people to sin. Temptations are inevitable, but what sorrow awaits the person who does the tempting. 8 So if your hand or foot causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. It’s better to enter eternal life with only one hand or one foot than to be thrown into eternal fire with both of your hands and feet. 9 And if your eye causes you to sin, gouge it out and throw it away. It’s better to enter eternal life with only one eye than to have two eyes and be thrown into the fire of hell.
So why, and how are we tempted? And what do we do about it?
12 Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him.
13 Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man:
14 But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed.
God does not tempt us…Satan tempts us, in fact, he is called the “Temptor” in scripture:
2 And when he had fasted forty days and forty nights, he was afterward an hungred. 3 And when the tempter came to him, he said, If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread. 4 But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.
And we tempt ourselves with our own desires as we read in James. We are tempted by our own desires…I keep saying that…hoping it will change, knowing that it’s not going to. We have to endure temptation, and through enduring, become better Christians.
So how do we do that? How do we endure temptations?
When His disciples asked Jesus to teach them to pray, He taught them a short prayer, it covered everything that Christ knows is important.
9 In this manner, therefore, pray:
Our Father in heaven,
Hallowed be Your name.
10 Your kingdom come.
Your will be done
On earth as it is in heaven.
11 Give us this day our daily bread.
12 And forgive us our debts,
As we forgive our debtors.
13 And do not lead us into temptation,
But deliver us from the evil one.
For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.
And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one. Other translations say “deliver us from evil” however, I don’t think there is much difference between Evil and Evil one. Satan is evil.
So again, how do we deal with temptation?
1 Corinthians 10:12-16 New King James Version (NKJV)
12 Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall. 13 No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.
God gives us a way out, He always does. Do we choose to take it? Do we choose to continue in our sin or do we choose to walk away?
When we walk away, we glorify God, and He recognizes us, and knows that we continue to grow in our relationship with Him.
James 1:12-13 New King James Version (NKJV)
12 Blessed is the man who endures temptation; for when he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him. 13 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 1:2-4 New King James Version (NKJV)
2 My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, 3 knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. 4 But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.
Blessed is the man who endures temptation, count it all joy when you fall into various trials. These are the things that build our character, that show God that we can put ourselves second and put Him first.