Friday, October 4, 2013

The Devil Made Me Do It!

"But each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own lust. Then when lust has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and when sin is accomplished , it brings forth death. " James 1:14-15 

Have you ever gone fishing or trapping? The Devil is and expert fisherman and a superb trapper! His secret? Just the right bait for the right unsuspected victim. The Bible calls his bait temptation. Have you ever been tempted? Temptation comes in all shapes and sizes. Temptation calls to you and seeks to lure you to indulge the flesh or delight the eyes or build the ego? If you are like the rest of us humans, the answer is yes. We are tempted to lust, lie, cheat, steal, brag, hate, gossip, slander, etc. Temptation is an inescapable part of the human condition. 

The Devil is on the Prowl
The devil is called the tempter in Matthew 4:3. He is also called a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour. Like a master fisherman, he loves to dangle the delicious, forbidden bait before our eyes. The forbidden bait looks so good and so satisfying just as it did to Eve. But, if you bite, you find the bait has a hook in it. He wants to devour your testimony for Christ and your happiness and joy. The sweet pleasure of illicit sex quickly fades as the painful hook of guilt, shame, disease or an unwanted pregnancy come into being. 

Every temptation has a hidden hook in it. The devil is not your friend who wants to bring happiness and fulfillment to your life. He comes only to steal, kill and destroy. Anything he offers will eventually wreck and ruin your life. Like the unsuspecting fish, we will enjoy the bait for a short time, and then find ourselves hooked and cooked, gutted and grilled. And its true every time. 

How to Get the Victory 
1. Remember that God loves you and wants what is best for you. When God gives us commandments, they are always for our benefit. Every NO command is God's way of saying, Don't do that because that will hurt you.We tell our kids, NO! to putting their fingers in the electric outlets because we knew they would electrify themselves. We love our children and gave them rules to help them, not hurt them. God does the same thing with His kids. 

Disobedience is a step in the wrong direction. It will not bring lasting satisfaction, only lasting pain, sorrow and regret. 

2. Remember that God's ways are right in every situation. Psalm 119:128 is a key verse to remember when fighting temptation: "Therefore I esteem right all Your precepts concerning everything, I hate every false way." The devil tells us that this forbidden fruit will make us happy. What a lie! It will really make us miserable. Taking the devil's bait will taste good for the moment, but as your stomach aches and your life begins to fall apart, you will wish you could go back in time. Every time you are tempted, recognize there is a hook there in that temptation and remind yourself that God's ways are right. God's ways bring lasting peace, joy and happiness. 

3. Depend upon the Lord's power to help you escape. 1 Corinthians 10:13 tells us, "No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also , that you may be able to endure it." What is the way of escape? 

When you are tempted with the sins of the flesh lust, laziness, overeating the way of escape is accountability and a hard run. Flee immorality. Don't fight it, flee it. It is too strong to fight. When you are tempted with sins of the soul greed, fame, revenge and getting more and more the way of escape is to exercise faith ( 1 John 5:4). Only the Lord can satisfy! When tempted with the sins of the spirit direct attacks from the enemy who will tell you that God doesn't love you anymore, that God is finished with you and will not answer your prayer, and that you need to curse God and die the way of escape is to fight! Resist the devil and he will flee from you (James 4:6). Fight the devil's lies with the sharp sword of the truth of the Word of God. Gods promises thwart the lies of the enemy. 

Victory over temptation can be ours as we prayerfully trust Him, do what He says, and feed on His faithfulness!

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