That’s nice right there, real nice………
It doesn’t seem to me we are tempted to do what is right, but we are sure tempted to do that which is not right. That little voice in your head telling you to go ahead and take the item you want, they have more than they need, they’ll never miss it, you deserve it versus the voice in your head saying, you have more than you need, you should give something to someone else.
Do you ever have to fight the temptation to give to others instead of take? to love others instead of lust? to go above and beyond instead of cut corners? to be humble and meek instead of proud and boastful? to remain sober instead of becoming drunk? to worship and praise God instead of idols? No? Me either!
Do Not Love The World
1 John 2:
15 Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16 For all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not of the Father but is of the world. 17 And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever.(NKJV)
For whatever reason we just aren’t tempted to do the good, noble, just, honest, upright thing. Temptation is like weeds in our lives. We have to demonstrate discipline and self-control in consistently doing what is right and we have to resist temptation to do that which is wrong. As with everything, Jesus provides us a model of how to handle temptations.
Matthew 4: Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. 2 And when He had fasted forty days and forty nights, afterward He was hungry. 3 Now when the tempter came to Him, he said, “If You are the Son of God, command that these stones become bread.” 4 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.’” 5 Then the devil took Him up into the holy city, set Him on the pinnacle of the temple, 6 and said to Him, “If You are the Son of God, throw Yourself down. For it is written:‘He shall give His angels charge over you,’ and, ‘In their hands they shall bear you up, Lest you dash your foot against a stone.’”
7 Jesus said to him, “It is written again, ‘You shall not tempt the Lord your God.’” 8 Again, the devil took Him up on an exceedingly high mountain, and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. 9 And he said to Him, “All these things I will give You if You will fall down and worship me.” 10 Then Jesus said to him, “Away with you, Satan! For it is written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God, and Him only you shall serve.’” 11 Then the devil left Him, and behold, angels came and ministered to Him.(NKJV)
How did Jesus handle satan’s temptations? Jesus fasted, prayed, and quoted scripture.
The Model Prayer
Matthew 6: 13 And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.(KJV)
The last instruction Jesus gave in the model prayer to His disciples was to pray for God’s help in resisting temptation. Later, Jesus instructed His disciples to watch and pray that they might not fall to temptation and this instruction came immediately prior to Jesus’ crucifixion which would test their faith.
In The Garden of Gethsemane
Matthew 26: 40 And he came to the disciples and found them sleeping. And he said to Peter, “So, could you not watch with me one hour? 41 Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.”(ESV)
Why did Jesus single out Peter? Was it because He already knew the trials and temptations Peter would soon be facing?
Luke 22: 31 And the Lord said, “Simon, Simon! Indeed, Satan has asked for you, that he may sift you as wheat. 32 But I have prayed for you, that your faith should not fail; and when you have returned to Me, strengthen your brethren.” 33 But he said to Him, “Lord, I am ready to go with You, both to prison and to death.” 34 Then He said, “I tell you, Peter, the rooster shall not crow this day before you will deny three times that you know Me.”(NKJV)
Jesus knew the testing, temptation, and trial Peter was about to face and had admonished him to pray that he wouldn’t fall to the temptation but Jesus also knew the weakness of our flesh and had prayed for Peter while He was praying for Himself in the garden. What incredible love Jesus had for Peter and has for us!
Flee From Temptation
1 Corinthians 10: 12 Therefore let anyone who thinks that he stands take heed lest he fall. 13 No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.(ESV)
Cling to this verse during times of temptation and know that God has said He will not allow you to be tempted or tested beyond your ability to handle it. Give the temptation over to the Lord as a praise offering. Thank you Lord Jesus for counting me worthy to be tested, I lay this temptation at your feet for you are worthy!
Joseph and Potifar’s Wife
7 And it came to pass after these things that his master’s wife cast longing eyes on Joseph, and she said, “Lie with me.”
8 But he refused and said to his master’s wife, “Look, my master does not know what is with me in the house, and he has committed all that he has to my hand. 9 There is no one greater in this house than I, nor has he kept back anything from me but you, because you are his wife. How then can I do this great wickedness, and sin against God?”
10 So it was, as she spoke to Joseph day by day, that he did not heed her, to lie with her or to be with her.
11 But it happened about this time, when Joseph went into the house to do his work, and none of the men of the house was inside, 12 that she caught him by his garment, saying, “Lie with me.” But he left his garment in her hand, and fled and ran outside.(NKJV)
We should heed Joseph’s example and literally run from temptation. Problem is we generally try to see how close to sin we can get without succumbing but that’s not Biblical, the Bible says to flee!
Testing Your Faith
2 My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations;3 Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience.4 But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.(KJV)
7 Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. 8 Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.(ESV)
We’ll Understand It Better By And By ~Lyrics and Composer: Charles A. Tindley, 1905
Trials dark on every hand, and we cannot understand all the ways that God would lead us to that blessed promised land; but he guides us with his eye, and we’ll follow till we die, for we’ll understand it better by and by.
Temptations, hidden snares often take us unawares, and our hearts are made to bleed for some thoughtless word or deed; and we wonder why the test when we try to do our best, but we’ll understand it better by and by.
By and by, when the morning comes, when the saints of God are gathered home, we’ll tell the story how we’ve overcome, for we’ll understand it better by and by.