Temptation Is Not the Problem

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A Nugget from New Life Network

(by Dr. Larry Ollison, The Cutting Edge)

Scripture for the Day (July 22, 2015)

For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds; Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ; (II Corinthians 10:4-5)

Once a man came to me for counseling and was very upset because of some great sins he had committed. The more he talked, the more I began to realize that he hadn’t actually sinned, he had just been tempted to sin. Hebrews 4:15 tells us that Jesus was tempted just like we are, but He was without sin: “For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin.”

You may ask, “How could He be tempted and not be in sin?” Well, actually the answer is quite simple. It’s not temptation that is a sin. It’s the yielding to temptation that is the sin. Now don’t take me wrong. Although temptation is not a sin, we cannot dwell on these temptations, because meditating on those thoughts will quickly lead into sin. Imaginations will come to mind, but we must cast them down immediately. Playing with explosives is dangerous! James 1:14 to 16 says, “But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed. Then, when desire, or lust, has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death. Do not be deceived.”

The Bible says that Jesus as a man was tempted by all the things that any other man has been tempted with; however, He did not give the temptation any place in His life. He overcame the temptations and did not sin. Jesus is our example! He defeated Satan and gave Christians authority over the devil. We can resist temptation the same way He did. Over the years, I’ve counseled many people who have yielded to temptation. They said they had no choice. They said the pressures of the temptation were just too great. They couldn’t help it. They had to yield; they had no other option. Once a man told me he just fell into adultery. No, with the secret phone calls and all the sneaking around and all the lying, he didn’t just fall into adultery. He planned it all. He claimed he fell into it when he got caught. He had a choice and he chose poorly.

First Corinthians 10:13 offers us hope regarding temptation: “No temptation has overtaken you except such as 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.” If you have been tempted by greed, lust, adultery, hatred, or any other evil thing, then today I have good news. God’s Word has clearly given us a method to overcome temptation.

In Luke 4, Satan tempted Jesus three times. All three times, Jesus overcame the temptation using one weapon-the Word of God. Each time Jesus spoke to Satan, the tempter, He quoted the Word. Satan, with all his temptation, could not overpower the Word of God. As Christians, we are to be like Jesus. When Satan comes against us with temptation, we say, “It is written” and he will flee. For example, if you are tempted to hate someone who has hurt you, say, “It is written, You shall love your brother as yourself'” (Luke 10:27). If you are tempted by Satan to be unfaithful in your marriage, then say out loud, “It is written, ‘You shall not commit adultery'” (Matthew 5:27). Whatever the temptation, find the scripture that stops it. Quote it out loud. Speak the Word and the tempter will flee.

 

Behold, I give unto you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall by any means hurt you. (Luke 10:19)

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