PRESSURE POINTS – Temptation
This week we continue talking about pressure points in our lives, specifically temptation. Temptation is defined as a strong urge/desire to have something or do something, especially something that is bad, wrong, or unwise. Temptation is one of the first pressures mankind had to face.
The most notorious account of temptation lies with Adam and Eve, God’s first human beings. [Genesis 3]. Their world was perfect. The Bible says that God caused to grow every tree that is pleasant to the eyes and good for food. Only one tree was off limits because it would bring them death – spiritual death.
Adam and Eve’s situation is a vivid account of how we allow temptation to become “full grown”- fully mature, leading us down a path to sin and possibly death. We think of sin as a single act, but God sees it as a process. The Apostle James described temptation this way:
James 1:14-15 NLT
14 Temptation comes from our own desires, which entice us and drag us away. 15 These desires give birth to sinful actions. And when sin is allowed to grow, it gives birth to death.
Because temptation isn’t always recognized for what it is, we can become drawn away and enticed. “Enticed” in the original Greek means "to bait a hook." Hunters and fishermen use bait to attract and catch prey. No animal is deliberately going to step into a trap; and no fish will knowingly bite at a naked hook. The idea is to lure them with something desirable upfront (bait) and to hide the trap and the hook. Temptation always carries with it some “bait” that appeals to our natural desires. We want the bait, but the bait obscures reality…and the consequences of yielding.
As we read the book of James, we see that there are four stages of temptation: Desire, deception; disobedience and death. Here’s what we must realize:
Temptation is not a sin by itself.
God always makes a way for us to escape the temptation leading to sin. [1 Cor. 10:13]
God’s Word is powerful in those moments of temptation.
Daily prayer is essential to allowing us to put on the mind of Jesus Christ. [Rom. 13:14]
God is always good! [Mark 10:18]
Stop focusing on that one thing you can’t have and focus on what you DO have. Remember that temptation offers a small view of pleasures and may lead to death (physical or spiritual) if it is sinful. Jesus came that you might have life and that you might have it more abundantly. God is good! He wants us to have good gifts that He gives. [James 1:17]
There will always be pressures in our lives. Temptation is one of those pressures. But understand that there is something you can’t see beyond that thing that looks good and desirable. It is bait and it leads to a trap! It may even feel good for a moment. But if it’s against God’s Word, you’ll find yourself outside of God’s will. Remember, there is a way out! If you’re blinded by a tempting situation, ask God to open your eyes and show you how to escape.