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1160. How are You Temped?

How are You Tempted?

IT’S WORTH CONSIDERING

Once we’re born again, the temptations we face should be of a different nature than those we used to face. The degree to which we have surrendered to Christ will be reflected in the change (or lack thereof) in the things that tempt us. Since the Great Deceiver and the Great Tempter are one and the same (Satan), he will devise a game plan to bring us down based on the degree to which our desires match those of Christ. If we’re still tempted by the same things from our former life, we clearly have a way to go on our road to Christ-likeness. The temptations, of course will always be there, but they should affect us less and less. As the old adage goes, we may not be able to stop a bird from landing on our head, but we can keep it from building a nest in our hair.

Consider the tactics Satan used against Jesus in the wilderness after He had fasted for 40 days (Mt. 4:1-11). Satan knew Jesus was tired, weak and hungry, but He was also God. First, he tempted Jesus to use His power to satisfy His hunger and meet His own personal needs. Jesus could have commanded the stones to become bread, but He refused. Then Satan took Jesus to the top of the Temple and tempted Jesus to put on a display to prove that God would keep His Word by sending His angels to catch Him. Again, Jesus refused. Satan’s final attempt found them both at the top of a mountain. Here Jesus was tempted to have immediate dominion over all the kingdoms of the world. All Jesus had to do was to prostrate Himself and worship Satan.

AS I SEE IT

If our walk with Jesus is strong, Satan won’t waste his time tempting us to do wrong things. He will likely follow the same pattern he used with Jesus, fine-tuned for more success than he had with Jesus. He will temp us to meet our own needs instead of trusting in Jesus. He will convince us that we need to look out for number one so we had better spend most of our time working, making as much money as possible, and planning our futures down to the last detail. After all, you can never be too careful.

If that doesn’t work, he may tempt you to prove yourself to God and the world. Engage in so much religious activity that God will be pleased and the world will be impressed with your dedication. If that fails, expect him to tempt you with what can become yours if you’ll just worship him. Oh, it will be subtler than that. You won’t know you’re worshiping him. You’ll think you are seeking what is rightfully yours—things like respect and recognition, when all the while, he has you right where he wants you.

His strategy will be to make sure you refuse to believe that Christ already procured for you everything you are striving for. You must never realize that the victory has already been won and that you are destined for the throne to rule and reign with Christ and that all things have been given to you, including the very righteousness of God Himself (2 Cor 5:21). He will tempt you to settle for a mediocre life, as if that’s all you can expect this side of heaven. So, how are you being tempted, and more importantly, how have you responded?

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