Swerving the Serpent

What tempts you?

Temptation- noun

the desire to do something, especially something wrong or unwise.

synonyms:

desire, urge, itch, impulse, inclination

I think we all have an immediate thought come to mind when we read that question. To some, it is still a massive pitfall–an area of shame and/or guilt that we think of when we hear the word “temptation.” Things like swearing, lusting, lying, pornography, anger, and self-hate—just to name a few of those sins we are tempted to fall into subconsciously or intentionally.

“For in that He Himself has suffered, being tempted, He is able to aid those who are tempted.” (Hebrews 2:18 NKJV)

Today I want to approach you with a new perspective on this concept of overcoming temptation. I don’t want you and me to fall into that endless black-hole of despair whenever we think of that one sin, but rather I want to challenge your mindset regarding the whole set-up.

So, first things first, temptation is directly connected to sin. As Christians, we should know that we are carrying around invisible targets on our backs; targets set by the enemy. He loves aiming at us and setting up traps to get us tripped up.

Ephesians 6:12 says, “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the principalities, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.” (NKJV)

James 1:13-15 says, “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. But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed. Then when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin; when it is full-grown, brings forth death.” (NKJV)

So, here are a few points for you:

  1. Our own desires cause us to be tempted/sin
  2. Temptation leads to sin

 

We need to remember that sin is always serious. I think we often fall into the mindset that we have Jesus’ grace and forgiveness whenever we fall, but do we realize that to fulfil His Word we must change? You cannot just be content to stay the way you are; you cannot just be okay with saying a quick prayer whenever you fall; you cannot feel comfortable in your habitual sins. When you accepted Christ into your life He gave you a new nature, one that does not just accept the fact that we have been born into sin with a sinful nature, but rather one that calls us God’s children. Thus, it requires us to live as such; to act like our Father. In Jesus, there is no sin. Sin separates us from God, but Jesus came to take away the power of sin over us.

1 John 3:1a says, “Behold, what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God!” (NKJV)

  1. Sin is always serious; sin separates us from God
  2. Jesus came to set us free from the power of sin over us

Abiding in God means that we cannot be okay with our sin. We cannot just cover it with a white cloth and lightly say we are forgiven. Do we ever truly realize the extent of God’s sacrifice for us?

Hebrews 10: 26-27 says, “For if we sin willfully after we have received the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a certain fearful expectation for judgement and fiery indignation which will devour the adversaries.” (NKJV)

We weren’t bought with corruptible things like silver and gold, or things that perish. Instead, we have been purchased with the blood of Jesus, the only sinless and perfect man that ever lived. A man who was fully God and fully man and Satan even tried to tempt Him!

We are not alone in this, but unlike us, He never fell. And get this: the same power that He had to refuse Satan, which is the Holy Spirit, has been given to us.

1 Peter 1:18-19 says, “Knowing that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver or gold, from your aimless conduct received by tradition from your fathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot.” (NKJV)

  1. Sinning is not okay
  2. We can overcome! (We have the Holy Spirit)

The more you grow in your relationship with the Lord, the better you get to know Him. The better you get to know Him, the more you want to please Him. And not just in your heart, but it will start to show in your actions and the way you live your life. It is inevitable. You will look like His child. You will act like your Father. And how exciting is that? But take it from me personally: stay in His word, stay in His presence. Seek His face. I can testify that the further you stray from His will and the more “cold” you get in your relationship with Him, the more vulnerable you are to the attacks of the devil. You are a perfect target far from your Commander and Shield. When you remain close to your Father’s side, you hear His voice. You’ll know when to run away from a situation that will draw you away from Him. Fight this war for your relationship with the Lord. Satan wants to attack it, wants to draw you away, wants you to fall into temptation and sin; don’t allow him to do that!

John 15:3-4 says, “You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you. Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me.” (NKJV)

  1. Abide in Him
  2. Fight this battle with a fierce determination

So in essence, because we are God’s children, we know that we are loved.  Loved so much that Jesus paid our price and took our place of punishment; He made us His children. We are adopted. We strive to please our Father, we grow to be more like Him, and He gives us His Spirit to discern right from wrong, to resist temptation because we know His will for us is to remain in Him, not to be separated by sin.

Here are all the points again:

  1. Our own desires cause us to be tempted/sin
  2. Temptation leads to sin
  3. Sin is always serious; sin separates us from God
  4. Jesus came to set us free from the power of sin over us
  5. Sinning is not okay
  6. We can overcome! (We have the Holy Spirit)
  7. Abide in Him
  8. Fight this battle with a fierce determination

So, temptation is not just supposed to be an area of failure and fall-outs, but rather a battlefield. The game-plan is simple: stay close to Christ and be reminded of the power to overcome, stray and you’ll fall. The reward is a deepening of your relationship with Him and the joyous prize of standing before Him blameless one day.

“No temptation has overtaken you except that which 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.” (1 Corinthians 10:13 NKJV)

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One Comment

  1. Hannah
    November 18, 2016
    Reply

    Thanks Annesti!

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