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Friday, June 19, 2015

Temptation Questions God's Command

I'd like to spend several posts talking about how to resist temptation. Here's the first one. Did you know temptation questions God's command?

My husband, Larry, looked through his binoculars and spoke
into his police radio, “Rick, see the man with the three bags exiting the store? Store security just called to say he’s a shoplifter. Close in now.” My husband was a sergeant of an undercover police task force watching for shoplifters, car thieves and carjackers, and once a year, I was allowed to ride along with him.

As I watched, I couldn’t help but think of 1 Peter 5:8: “Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour” (NIV). Although Larry watches for criminals to bring them to justice, Satan watches you and me for opportunities to tempt us and lead us into sin.(Tweet that!)  

Unless you and I are alert, we will be destroyed by his schemes. 

When we’re alert, we’ll be able to “stand your ground ” (Ephesians 6:13) with this strategy:

S: See Satan’s schemes
T: Tell yourself the truth
A: Analyze your thinking
N: Name the advantages of resisting
D: Determine the godly response

Merrill Unger defines temptation as, “enticement of a person to commit sin by offering some seeming advantage” (Unger’s Bible Dictionary, Moody Press, Chicago, IL, 1957, pg. 1082). Satan’s enticement of a “seeming advantage” is very apparent in his dealings with Eve. His schemes operate the same way today as they did ages ago, so we have much to learn from reviewing what happened then and applying our STAND principle.

Temptation Questions God’s Command

Satan asked Eve, “Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the LORD God had made. He said to the woman, "Did God really say, 'You must not eat from any tree in the garden'?" (Genesis 3:1 NIV). Satan was questioning what God said.

I can hear those “questionings” every time I’m tempted to allow anger to turn into bitterness. They sound like, “Ephesians 4:26 says I shouldn’t let the sun go down on my anger but Lord, you must not have been thinking about this situation. My friend makes me so angry. If only she didn’t act like that, I wouldn’t be acting like this.” 


But when I apply the “S: See Satan’s schemes” of the STAND principle, I’m more alert to recognize that this isn’t just about my need to justify myself, it’s about a spiritual battle. Whatever temptation you’re facing isn’t just some benign desire but your Adversary’s scheme to “devour” you. (Tweet that!)

In my next post, we'll see how temptation changes God's message.

(photo by imagery majestic at www.freedigitalphotos.net)

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