Life usually doesn’t fit into nice neat little lists, but that doesn’t keep me from trying. Welcome to my Tuesday 10, where I try to fit the messiness of life into a list of ten.
Temptation is real. We all deal with it. Some of us deal with it poorly, and some of us think we deal with it not-so-poorly, but we all could use a little, or a lot of, help. Temptation is like bait on a hook. Something used by the enemy of our souls to drag us away from all that God has for us. It’s a fight. These ten things are some things we discussed in my Sunday School class this past week. For more, and better, insight go read Luke 4:1-13.
1. Satan is a real enemy. We are born into a real war and he is a subtle, crafty, and sly joker.
2. Satan will hit you. He’s not going to leave you alone. He will attack when you’re physically weak whether it’s when you’re tired, hungry, or alone. Solitude is good, but isolation is dangerous. Being connected to God’s people helps. Sometimes we create the atmosphere for our own temptation by doing something that might not be outright sinful but puts us in a physically, spiritually, or mentally weakened condition. Staying up too late, excessive time on the computer, time with people we would be better off not being with–these are all things that set us up for temptation, but might not be sinful in and of themselves. It’s better to be preventative than reactive. Take measures not to get in a precarious place, circumstance, or state of being.
3. Jesus is our victorious warrior King. Society teaches us to be proud, to have esteem, because we’re all winners. We’re not. We’re all losers. All of us. Yes, you’re a loser. We’ve been programmed to believe that we’re the best thing since gravity, but we’re not. We’re wretched sinners by acts of willful commission and/or omission.Pride doesn’t give us high esteem, it makes us a proud loser. It causes us to ignore our need for God because we think we’re awesome. We’re not our own hope. Christ in us is our hope for glory. He triumphed over Satan at the cross, we triumph over Satan through His resurrection. Condemnation is debilitating, but conviction is liberating. There is conviction in Christ, but there is no condemnation.
And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross. He disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to open shame, by triumphing over them in him. – Colossians 2:13-15
4. The Holy Spirit is your Power. Jesus resisted temptation for 40 days through the power of God the Holy Spirit. You can live as He did, full of the Spirit of God.
5. The Bible is your counter punch.Just stop making excuses. Read your Bible. We take it for granted.
Every word of God proves true; he is a shield to those who take refuge in him. Do not add to his words, lest he rebuke you and you be found a liar. – Proverbs 30:5-6
6. Christ is your identity. Sometimes temptation is much less about sin, and a lot more about Satan trying to deceive you about who you are and who you belong to. Whatever your issue, be it promiscuity, perversion, or pride, it is not who you are. It does not define you. Relationship with Jesus renews in you a new identity. His identity.
7. Escape is always possible. There is always a way out. God makes the way. We have to pick whether we want the hook or the door. When temptation comes keep your senses. Look for the way out.
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. Therefore, my beloved, flee from idolatry. – 1 Corinthians 10: 13-14
8. Satan eventually taps out. He’s a quitter. It’s his nature. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.
9. Repent when you tap out and fight again. Repentance is acknowledging that you bit the hook instead of running out of the door. It happens. There are a lot Christians who have let Satan trick them into thinking that’s not true. Don’t let religious pride blind you to your own inadequacies. But don’t beat yourself up about them either. Take them to Jesus, that’s where they belong.
10. Life is a battle with many rounds. Discipleship and sanctification take time. You will win against the devil. Some things that used to be serious temptations are no long even remotely an issue. He’ll bring some new temptations to the fight. He’ll find new bait. Keep your head and your heart firmly at the feet of Jesus.