Our Battle With Temptation (Part 1)

“My son, be attentive to my wisdom; incline your ear to my understanding, that you may keep discretion, and your lips may guard knowledge. For the lips of a forbidden woman drip honey, and her speech is smoother than oil”  (Proverbs 5:1-3).

The writer of Proverbs now warns his son (and us) against falling into alluring, but destructive, temptations. We might define temptation as any outward or inward solicitation to disobey God.

Where do temptations come from?

1. Our natures
We all enter the world with a sinful nature (Romans 3:10; 23; Psalm 51:5). This nature does not allow us to fully obey God. When we come to Christ, the old nature is broken, but not destroyed. Believers battle with their natures during this life, but most see greater and greater victory as God brings us along.

Furthermore, people struggle with different temptations. One person may struggle with greed, while another does not. But the one who may not struggle with greed will struggle with something. The sin in our natures is quite real, not just a concept. We all struggle with something.

2. Outward seduction
Our arch enemy seeks to undo all the good brought about by God. He even tempted Jesus during His earthly ministry, but without success (Matthew 4:1-11; Luke 4:1-12). Peter puts it this way:

“Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world” (1 Peter 5:8-9).

Satan paints a pretty picture and carefully disguises the pain and anguish that disobedience brings. He seeks to draw us in, with a promise of happiness and no consequences. If Adam and Eve fell in their innocence, how much more can we succumb to his temptations?

In our day, we have witnessed a growing departure from truth and godliness. The apostles warned that people who live in this age would be targets of such attacks (see 1 Timothy 4:1-5; 2 Timothy 3:1-6; 2 Peter 2:1-22). As time moves forward, we can expect the attacks to increase.

Tomorrow we will look at steps we can take to deal with temptation. But we need to know that temptation arises from within, and from outward sources. We need to keep our guard up and learn to firmly resist temptation wherever it strikes (see James 4:7-8; 1 Peter 5:8-9).

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