I recieved this devotion from a friend, her email is at the end if you want to get in touch with her. Thank you Lauren for allowing me to place this on my site.
Temptation is something that we all, at one point or time, encounter. As you know, Jesus was tempted also while here on earth. To be tempted IS NOT sinful. However, it IS sin when we ACT on that temptation. There are many different areas that we can be tempted in. When we are tempted, it is SO IMPORTANT to realize what it is, and to act accordingly. Shall we look at some scripture that talks about this very thing?
First, we need to realize WHO is tempting us....where it comes from.
"Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man:" (James 1:13)
This verse tells us that God is NOT the one who tempts us. So, who does that leave? Yeah, it's Satan. To know WHO the temptation comes from tells us a lot, doesn't it? If it comes from Satan it is evil, period. If it is from Satan, God doesn't like it, period. But, what is temptation, exactly? Temptation to sin can take on many different "forms". The best way to know what things we should classify as sin is to look at God's Word. Here are just a few:
1. Sexual immorality ( I Corinthians 6:18) 2. Idolatry (I Corinthians 10:14) 3. The love of money (I Timothy 6:10) 4. The evil desires of youth (II Timothy 2:22)
To know what God calls sin is so very important. The way to know is reading your Bible every day. Time with God is so very crucial, and this area is just one example of why. If you notice the account of when Jesus was tempted by Satan, you will see how He handled it.
"Then was Jesus led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil. And when he had fasted forty days and forty nights, he was afterward an hungred. And when the tempter came to him, he said, If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread. But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God. ". (Matthew 4: 1-4)
Satan tempted Jesus 3 different times. If you notice, Jesus answered each one of Satan's temptations with SCRIPTURE. Jesus KNEW the Bible. He met Satan with God's word. After the third time, Satan "left Him".
Okay, so now that we know WHAT temptation is and WHO tempts us, lets look at how we can handle it when it comes our way!
FLEE from temptation- What I mean by this is that we are not to stand around, almost LOOKING for some temptation to be thrown at us. That, you would think, would be a given, right? Apparently not. Let's say that there is a movie that you want to watch, but it's not really all that "wholesome". Or, how about that book that you've heard so much about...I mean, it IS "Christian romance" after all! These may not be the best thing to be filling our minds with.
"Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things." (Philippians 4:8)
Some can't quite understand why they are getting hit with those "fiery darts" of Satan's all the time. Satan will attack, and he doesn't need any encouragement . Some seem to "help" him along though. They seem to think that they can "dabble" with temptation, and will be okay. That is underestimating Satan. How do I know? I use to be that person! When a temptation came along, I would just "test out" the waters. I would, so to say, stick my foot in the water, just to see what it was like. Oh, SO, SO wrong! Do you know why? Because just when you take the time to pause at the sight of temptation, those very waters that looked calm a second ago become a raging tidal wave! It will hit you with force that knocks you off of your feet and sweeps you under! *FLEE* from temptation! Don't stick around to see what evil Satan can come up with! We CAN NOT underestimate the evil that He is capable of! I had to learn this all the "hard" way. That temptation that I stopped to "check out" swept me under and consumed me for quite a few months. It was a very, very miserable time in my life. I would cry out to God....only to jump back in that pool again! Once you give Satan an "inch", he will RUN with it! It took me going through a really hard time to learn all of this. I pray that you learn from my example.
FIGHT temptation- Now, we can be going along, minding our own business and not giving a second glance at the temptation that Satan has thrown out there in the world today. However, Satan is bound to come "knocking" on your "door" sooner or later! He IS persistent! So, we have to ARM OURSELVES with the proper "armor". With God's help, we can overcome temptation! Ephesians 6:10-18 is your "instruction guide" in "armoring" ourselves against this spiritual battle. A soldier did not go to out to battle without his armor on just as we, as Christians, should not go out to "battle" (which happens DAILY) without ours! Our "armor" is our PROTECTION from the enemy! When is the best time to "arm" ourselves? BEFORE the battle begins!
"Finally, my brethren, by strong in the Lord and in the power of His might" Eph. 6:10
Before I continue on with this wonderful passage, can we pause and notice some things here? It says to be *STRONG*. How? *IN THE LORD*. *That* is where we get the strength to overcome Satan. Again, I believe that a lot underestimate Satan. Don't make that grave mistake! We need to stay *IN THE LORD* to have strength!
"Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness... (Ephesians "Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness;" 6:11-14)
Lets look at this thus far. Notice that we are to *STAND*. Have CONFIDENCE in the Lord's strength, dear Sisters!
The first piece of "armor" is the "belt" or "girdle" of TRUTH. Truth is CRUCIAL because someone who is dishonest cannot hope to hold back the father of lies. We aren't fooling him, that's for sure!
The next "piece" is RIGHTEOUSNESS. We need to display the practical, righteous character and deeds as believers. Also, the breastplate was worn where? Over the soldiers heart. We need to have Christ's RIGHTEOUSNESS over our heart, in protection at all times.
"And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace;
Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked." (Ephesians 6:15,16)
Our shoes are to be SOLIDLY planted on our firm foundation....the gospel. Our shield is FAITH. Now, a soldier's shield was pretty large (usually about 2 1/2 feet by 4 feet). It was used to PROTECT the soldier. That is what our shield of FAITH should do...it should PROTECT us from the "fiery darts of the wicked one". Hold it out and let those darts that Satan throws your way bounce off!
"And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God:Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints; "(Ephesians 6:17,18)
Notice that the "sword of the Spirit" is our only OFFENSIVE weapon of our "armor". What is the "sword of the Spirit"? The verse tells us that it is the WORD OF GOD. We need to know the Word to fight against Satan. Again, that is why it is SO IMPORTANT to have *regular, daily* time in the Word.
And finally, prayer. Praying ALWAYS. And the prayer isn't just all for us either! We are to pray for each other.
If there are two things that I would want to encourage you to do concerning the daily temptation we face, it would be these:
1. Spend time in God's Word *DAILY* and in prayer.
2. Don't "linger" around or over thoughts or practices that aren't "true, noble, just, pure, lovely, or of good report". You're just making Satan's "job" easier.