Temptation

Facts about temptation
Temptation itself is not a sin

Hebrews 4:15 (NIV) For we do not have a high priest (ie Jesus) who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are­­yet was without sin.

It is Satan who tempts us, not God

James 1:13­14 (NIV) When tempted, no one should say, "God is tempting me." For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; 14 but each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed.

Why God allows us to be tempted

God allows us to be tempted for two reasons. Firstly, temptation is a test of our faithfulness. How can we prove ourselves faithful except when we are tempted and still say no to sin. Secondly, God knows that temptation will help us to develop perseverance. Perseverance is achieved when we are repeatedly tempted and still say no to temptation.

James 1:2­4 (NIV) Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials (or temptations) of many kinds, 3 because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. 4 Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.

Why Satan wants to tempt us

Satan tempts us to destroy us.

1 Peter 5:8 (NIV) Be self­controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.

Temptation need not overcome us

For every temptation, God will provide a way out.

1 Cor 10:13 No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it. (NIV)

He set us free from the dominion of sin.
Romans 6:18 You have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness.

Sin has no dominion over us. However, it wages some kind of guerrilla warfare to lead us to sin.

Galatians 5:17 For the sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature. They are in conflict with each other, so that you do not do what you want.

When we sin as Christians, we sin because we choose to, not because we have to. We sin because we choose to let sin reign again after it has been usurped.

Romans 6:12 Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires.

How do we end up in sin
We are tempted by our own evil desires.

Jas 1:13­14 13 When tempted, no one should say, "God is tempting me." For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; 14 but each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed. (NIV)

We are lured by the world

1 John 2:15-17 Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. {16} For everything in the world--the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and does--comes not from the Father but from the world. {17} The world and its desires pass away, but the man who does the will of God lives forever.

External factors play in part in causing us to sin. Our lustful desires may be stimulated by something we see. Our materialistic obsession may be caused by the bombardment of advertising.

We are tempted by the devil.

Genesis 3:1-5 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 surely die," the serpent said to the woman. {5} "For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil."

Another way to look at it:

Satan is the ultimate source of our temptation. The flesh and the world are channels through which Satan causes us to sin.

How do we ward off temptation?