How is a man tempted? A man is tempted when he is drawn away of his own desires, and enticed. The truth is God cannot be tempted because God in His very nature is holy; there is nothing in Him for sin to appeal to. Nor does He tempt anyone. Angels are also different, but man can be tempted. So no matter who you are, how you are, where you are, what you are, you are capable of being tempted. Heb 2:14, “since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity…” we are tempted because of our very nature.
A desire is a strong wish to have or do something. We all desire health and happiness; we want enough money to satisfy all our desires. There may be someone special our hearts desire to marry. The job, cars, houses, etc. You have yours, I have mine. The fact of the matter is we are tempted when we are drawn away of these desires; James 1:14. The more we spend time thinking about ways and means to get those things we desire in life, the higher the opportunity we offer Satan to tempt us. That is why God wants us to be anxious for nothing, but by prayer and supplications, with thanksgiving we should make our request known to God; Philippians 4:6. Satan will be paralysed if we cast all our cares on Jesus, knowing that He is more than able to perform.
Who tempts us? Most people think or believe that God is responsible. They blame God for that. God knows our weakness and He understand we are only flesh and blood. There is no way He is going to do that. He only tests our faith in Him. That is why “…the Holy Spirit helps us in our weakness…” Romans 8:26.
Satan tempts us; “…so that Satan will not tempt you…” I Corinthians 7:5. “…to be tempted by the devil.” Mt 4:1. A friend asked me that “God knows all things; He knows the end from the beginning. So why doesn’t He stop us from being tempted?” I told him God rejoices when we win. He brags on us (what He said to Satan about Job), just like what every father will do when his son achieves something. The world is ruled by two forces; The Power of Light, and the Power of darkness. When the spirit dominates the flesh, the Power of Light will rule. On the other hand, when the flesh dominates the Spirit, the power of darkness will find its way into our lives.
When does temptation come? In 1 Peter 5:8 the Holy Spirit spoke through Peter saying “Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” Satan is always searching for ways to get us. Here are some avenues;
- When we receive the Word of God:
In Mark 4:14-15 “The sower soweth the word. And these are they by the way side, where the word is sown; but when they have heard, Satan comes immediately, and taketh away the word that was sown in their heart” the response is spontaneous. In chapter 1 of the same Mark, verse 11 to 13 “And there came a voice from heaven, saying, Thou art my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. And immediately the spirit driveth him into the wilderness. And He was there in the wilderness forty days, tempted of Satan…” surprisingly, the first words that came from Satan was “…if thou be the Son of God…”
Friends, Satan doesn’t wait at all. He knows if he waits, we will use the same Word against him. Hence, he tempts us immediately the Word comes to us.
- When we receive answers to our prayers:
From the above, we now know that this guy doesn’t wait. He comes immediately. Many at times, when God grants us our request, this guy will find ways to use that same answer to push us away from God. I remember some time ago, I prayed to God for job. He gave me a very nice one within a short time. I really loved that job. A week later, the manager called me into his office; he told me they needed someone to work on Sunday. The person will receive double pay per an hour. I accepted the offer but later, the Word of God came to me that “what shall it profit you, if you get all the monies, in all various currencies and lose your own soul?” I regretted that decision and asked God for forgiveness. That is how Satan works; he will use what you have received from God to push you away from Him.
Another experience was when I asked God for a specific amount of money. God was so faithful, in that He gave me the exact amount I asked for. The next was for me to do my part, which is to pay my tithe. And this is where Satan gets most believers. If you are a Christian and you don’t pay the exact amount (I mean the tenth of your first fruits and your increase), you are on the wrong path. It is a must for us. Immediately I finished calculating 10% of the amount God gave me, the first voice that came was “this is too much. God knows you are a student. Give part of what you have calculated as tithe, and keep the rest.” I thank God I saw myself as a child of God, not as a student, and paid the 10% as tithe. Satan is always around to work against God’s children. Remember there has been only One God from the beginning of this world. So is Satan. He has been around since. He is wise. He turned Solomon’s heart against God, he used David, and he threatened Elijah through Jezebel. Sampson, Adam, Joseph, etc. He even tempted Jesus. I always tell people that Satan laughs at us when we make certain decisions. And he knows what he can use, when he can get, who he can get, and how he can get. But thank God we have the Blood of Jesus, and the Holy Spirit which works in us.
- When the flesh dominates the Spirit:
When we allow our physical senses to dominate the Spirit in us, Satan gets opportunity to tempt us. “He that spareth not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?” Romans 8:32. God is ever ready to give us all things, but the problem is we worry and focus more on the problem instead of what God has promised. When you focus on something long enough, it magnifies. The problem gets bigger and bigger as we spend time, worrying about ways and means to get them solved. Remember, we are tempted when we are drawn away of our own desires. God doesn’t want us to be tempted that is why He has given us His infallible Word. He said in Roman that if we stay in the flesh, we cannot please Him.
How can one resist temptation? Yielding to the temptation is sin which produces death. God understands our weaknesses. He knows we are flesh and blood. And He knows we are from the dust of the earth. The physical body is from the world so it will always seek things from the world. The spirit, on the contrary, is from God. That was why Paul said “For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the Flesh; and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would” Gal 5:17. In order to effectively resist temptation, take time to feed the Spirit. Study more of God’s Word “Let the Word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom” Col 3:16 and Pray always. Jesus said “Pray that you will not fall into temptation” Luke 22:40, 46. Pray without ceasing. I Thess 5:17. And each time you Pray, don’t forget what Jesus said in the Lord’s Prayer “…And lead us not into temptation…” Ma 6:13.
Whenever we have a need, or have a desire for something, there is a high possibility that we will be tempted. And the temptation that will come is common to man, according to I Corinthians 10:13. God is faithful; He will not let us be tempted beyond what we can bear. But when we are tempted, He will also provide a way out so that we can stand up under it.
My final Word:
For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weakness, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are, Yet was without sin. Let us then approach the throne of Grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find Grace to help us in our time of need. Heb 4:15-16