“Blessed is the man that endureth temptation for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love Him” (James 1:12)
Temptation is an enticement, a thought, or a suggestion to sin, or do evil. It is a universal experience of all saints of God. Temptation cut across all age, race, colour, social class, spiritual level or estate in life. No saints live s long enough or grow enough in grace to get rid of it. Satan is industrious in placing stumbling block (temptation) in the pathway of Christians. And his disciples are very faithful in keeping the stumbling blocks in place until the object of their attack, tumble and then falls. The tempter and his agents (spirits and human beings) pursue to the end.
SOURCE OF TEMPTATION
Genesis 3:16; 1John 2:15-17; 2Corinthians 2:11; 1Chronicles 21:1
“Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God; for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempted he any man: But every man is tempted , when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed” (James 1:13-14).
God is never the author of temptation or sin. What then is God’s place in the spectrum of temptation? God permit temptation as a trial for the perfecting of the Christian’s spiritual motive but He is neither the immediate nor the remote agent by which it is applied. God limits Satan in the temptation he thrust on His faithful servants (Job 1:12; 2:6; 1Corinthians 10:13), He also overrules those temptations which are permitted to His own glory to the edification of saint and to the humiliation of Satan.
Temptation begins with man’s desire which may be perfectly legitimate by itself, but which goes astray leading men away from his God to a baser, inferior and transient ideal.
Indeed, devil tempts you with what you are craving for. It is therefore, means, that the first and the greatest source is the heart, the enemy within – pride, lust, revenge, envy etc – is greater, fiercer, more ravenous than the enemy without. The Bible says “Keep thy heart with all diligence; out of it are the issues of life”(Proverbs 4:23). And Christ in the New Testament notes “For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, thefts, covetousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness: All these evil things comes from within and defile the man” (Mark 7:21-23). Temptation comes when one “is drawn away of his own lust …” Satan, however, does the drawn away. Satan sees the propensity of sin in the heart and then fans the smouldering coal into full blown flame. This is the second source of temptation. Satan’s goal is to dispossess us of our most valuable possession – eternal life.
Third, the flesh is another source of temptation. The inordinate cravings of the flesh in the areas of appetite and immoral urge men to temptation.
Fourth, Nighbours, relations or even parents can be sources of temptation. They can impress such unscriptural ideal, practice and sentiments on our mind and evoke the base nature in us. They can edge out of the counsel of God and set our feet on the path of sin or leads us into wrong marriage, get us into unscriptural things, gently blows the breeze of spiritual coldness in our heart and make us loose the grip of consecration.
Fifth, overconfidence. Sixth, the believer’s weakest point, his besetting sin is a sure spot for or source of temptation. Closeness between opposite sexes and crazy to get rich-quick are sources of temptation believer must avoid.
VICTORY OVER TEMPTATION FOR A TRUE CHRISTIAN
James 1:16-21; Jeremiah 35
Whatever forms the temptation take, the joy of heaven is to see a believer come forth victorious. True enough, some Christians always enjoy victory in times of temptations. Others always struggle under strain and stress. To one it seems victory as natural as breathing; to the other, is always at the verge of defeat. The cause of for such a miserable spiritual life is a result of living too near the border line. But if we prayerfully and painstakingly walk during temptation, victory is sure. The defeat of the devil, the tempter in his encounter with the Lord, in the dreary wilderness is a pointer to hi defeat every where. Devil is a defeat foe.
The second secret of victory in temptation is single minded devotion to the one goal
of doing God’s will. Single mindedness in holiness and living to please God regardness
the cost was the prop of Joseph’s victory in Portiphar’s house and in the prison. Victory
in temptation obtained through a knowledge of and obedience to the word of God. “Where withal shall a young man cleanse his ways? By taking heed thereto according to thy word, thy word have i hid in mine heart, that i might not sin against thee” (Psalm 119: 9, 11). Besides, their must be a strong passion for Christ - to do His will, to keep a vital living relationship with the Lord and to always exalt and honour Christ in word and deed.
The Christian pilgrim on his way to heaven will have victory over every temptation as he reject evils (Proverbs 1:14-19), lives righteously (Proverbs 4:20-27), Obey God, (1Corinthians 10:1-13), Lives by faith (James 1:1-8), endures in times of temptation (James 1:9-12), and depending on divine help during temptation (James 1:13-21), “Resist the devil and he will flee from you” (James 4:7), ‘Fight the good fight of faith” (1Timothy 6:12), And above all, we should take the shield of faith, with which we can quench every all the fiery darts of the devil (Ephesians 6:16). To take sides with the devil or his agents is to invite defeat. It is the pure in heart who triumphs.
Temptation, involves trials and the gold must be refined. In overcoming temptation, the Christian character is developed and strengthened. If there were no temptation, there would be no toughness of spiritual fibre needed for Christian to forge ahead.