Rev 12:9 (NIV) The great dragon was hurled down--that ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan, who leads the whole world astray...Mat 6:13 (Phi) "Keep us clear of temptation, and save us from evil."
Mat 26:41 (NIV) "Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the body is weak."
When Bad Things Happen
The Scriptures speak of three kinds of "trouble" for the believer: 1) Discipline, judgment, or rebuke from the Lord; 2) tests, trials, persecutions, suffering; and 3) temptations or attacks from Satan. So when trouble comes, what type is it? Is this God directly moving to correct me, or is this the promised persecution for following Christ, or have we allowed Satan access into our lives? Which kinds of trouble can be avoided? Which can't?
STUDY 3: Temptations or Attacks of Satan
The AdversaryJob 2:4-7,9-10 (NIV) ... Satan replied, "...But stretch out your hand and strike his flesh and bones, and he will surely curse you to your face." The Lord said to Satan, "Very well, then, he is in your hands; but you must spare his life." So Satan went out from the presence of the Lord and afflicted Job with painful sores from the soles of his feet to the top of his head... His wife said to him, "Are you still holding on to your integrity? Curse God and die!" He replied, "You are talking like a foolish woman. Shall we accept the good from God, and not trouble?" In all this, Job did not sin in what he said.
Do Not Defend YourselfMat 5:25-26 (NIV) "Settle matters quickly with your adversary who is taking you to court. Do it while you are still with him on the way, or he may hand you over to the judge, and the judge may hand you over to the officer, and you may be thrown into prison. I tell you the truth, you will not get out until you have paid the last penny."
1 Tim 1:15-16 (NIV) Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners--of whom I am the worst. But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his unlimited patience as an example for those who would believe on him and receive eternal life.
The Flesh Is Weak1 Thes 3:5 (NIV) For this reason... I [Paul] sent to find out about your faith. I was afraid that in some way the tempter might have tempted you and our efforts might have been useless.
2 Cor 2:11 (NIV) ...in order that Satan might not outwit us. For we are not unaware of his schemes.
Oswald Chambers: "A man's disposition on the inside, i.e., what he possesses in his personality, determines what he is tempted by on the outside. The temptation fits the nature of the one tempted, and reveals the possibilities of that nature. Every man has the setting of this own temptation, and the temptation will come along the line of the ruling disposition. Temptation yielded to... is a proof that it was timidity that prevented the sin before."
Temptation 1011 Jn 5:18 (NIV) We know that anyone born of God does not continue to sin; the one who was born of God keeps him safe, and the evil one does not touch him.
James 1:13-14 (NIV) When tempted, no one should say, "God is tempting me." For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; but each one is tempted when, by his own evil desires, he is dragged away and enticed.
Oswald Chambers: "Until we are born again, [this is] the only temptation we understand. But by regeneration we are lifted into another realm where we face the kind of temptations Our Lord faced... Satan does not tempt us to do wrong things, he tempts us in order to make us lose... the possibility of being of value to God... Temptation is a suggested short-cut to the realization of the highest at which I aim--not at what I understand as evil, but towards what I understand as good... [At this point Satan] does not come along the line of tempting us to sin, but on the line of shifting the point of view, and only the Spirit of God can reveal this as a temptation of the devil."
The Tempter, And The One Who Beat HimMat 4:1 (NIV) Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the desert to be tempted by the devil.
Heb 2:18 (Phi) By virtue of his own suffering under temptation he is able to help those who are exposed to temptation.
C.S. Lewis: "No man knows how bad he is till he has tried very hard to be good. A silly idea is current that good people do not know what temptation means. This is an obvious lie. Only those who try to resist temptation know how strong it is. After all, you find out the strength of the German army by fighting against it, not by giving in. You find out the strength of a wind by trying to walk against it, not by lying down. A man who gives in to temptation after five minutes simply does not know what it would have been like an hour later. That is why bad people, in one sense, know very little about badness. They have lived a sheltered life by always giving in. We never find out the strength of the evil impulse inside us until we try to fight it: and Christ, because he was the only man who never yielded to temptation, is also the only man who knows to the full what temptation means--the only complete realist."
Our High Priest, Our Defense Attorney Against The AccuserHeb 4:15-16 (Phi) For ours is no High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses--he himself has shared fully in all our experience of temptation, except that he never sinned. Let us therefore approach the throne of grace with fullest confidence, that we may receive mercy for our failures and grace to help in the hour of need.
Fight The Good FightHeb 12:4 (NIV) In your struggle against sin, you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood.
... In fact, most of us have not even made an honest attempt at resisting temptation. We cave in immediately without much of a fight. "Well, I'll quit doing that next week." "Why struggle now when I know I am going to do it again anyway?" "It is just a matter of time, and now is as good a time as any." But temptation feeds on weakness and bent desires. We need to start struggling to see what holiness is all about, to see if we will like it in eternity with God. We will also see just how strong we are and what we are made of.
One of the things that makes us cave in to temptation so early is that we often have the sense that we are going to fail anyway, so why even put up a struggle? But are we so sure of this? Didn't the problem of last year or last month strike us with the same despair? And yet with God it was possible. Spiritual growth seems so impossible in the moment, and so easy in retrospect. We need to remember how unlikely it seemed we would ever: profess Christ, pray in public, witness, and all of the other steps along the way, as we face the temptation to give up now. After all, this too will pass. We can, and will make it by the grace of God. And God has given us His word...1 Cor 10:13 (TEB) Every temptation that has come your way is the kind that normally comes to people. But God keeps his promise, and he will not allow you to be tempted beyond your power to resist; at the time you are tempted he will give you the strength to endure it, and so provide you with a way out.
On GuardGal 6:1 (Phi) Even if a man is detected in some sin, my brothers, the spiritual ones among you should quietly set him back on the right path, not with any feeling of superiority but being yourselves on guard against temptation.
Prov 16:18 (NIV) Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall.
Don't Place Yourselves In Dangerous Territory Unless God Is With You!1 Cor 7:5 (Phi) [To married] Do not cheat each other of normal sexual intercourse... or you will expose yourselves to the obvious temptation of Satan.
Eph 4:26b-27 (NIV) Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold.
1 Tim 6:9 (NIV) People who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge men into ruin and destruction.
You Are Not Alone1 Pet 5:8-10 (Phi) Be self-controlled and vigilant always, for your enemy the devilis always about, prowling like a lion roaring for its prey. Resist him, standing firm in your faith, remembering that the strain is the same for all your fellow-Christians in other parts of the world. And after you have born these sufferings a very little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to share his eternal splendor through Christ, will himself make you whole and secure and strong.
Attacks Of SatanDan 6:16-17 (NIV) So the king gave the order, and they brought Daniel and threw him into the lions' den. The king said to Daniel, "May your God, whom you serve continually, rescue you!" A stone was brought and placed over the mouth of the den, and the king sealed it with his own signet ring and with the rings of his nobles, so that Daniel's situation might not be changed.
Oswald Chambers: "We have the idea that we ought to shield ourselves from some of the things God brings round about us. Never! God engineers circumstances and whatever they may be like we have to see that we face them while abiding continually with Him... They are... temptations to the life of the Son of God in us. The honor of Jesus Christ is at stake in your bodily life."Dan 6:19-22 (NIV) At the first light of dawn, the king got up and hurried to the lions' den. When he came near the den, he called to Daniel in an anguished voice, "Daniel, servant of the living God, has your God, whom you serve continually,been able to rescue you from the lions?" Daniel answered, "...My God sent his angel, and he shut the mouths of the lions. They have not hurt me, because I was found innocent in his sight..."
Dan 6:23-24 (NIV) The king was overjoyed and gave orders to lift Daniel out of the den. And when Daniel was lifted from the den, no wound was found on him, because he had trusted in his God. At the king's command, the men who had falsely accused Daniel were brought in and thrown into the lions' den, along with their wives and children. And before they reached the floor of the den, the lions overpowered them and crushed all their bones.
Ps 23:5 (NIV) You prepare a table before me in the presence of mine enemies...
The Secret Weapon
How would a cadaver respond to this temptation? "Reckon yourself dead..." to every instinct, impulse, and desire of the flesh. This is the violence of the war of the kingdom of God (Mat 11:12). This is the cross we bear that leads to victory. This is "the way of the Lord".Rom 6:11-13 (Wey) ... You must regard yourselves as dead in relation to sin, but as alive in relation to God, because you are in Christ Jesus. Let not sin therefore reign as king in your mortal bodies, causing you to be in subjection to their cravings; and no longer lend your faculties as unrighteous weapons for sin to use. On the contrary surrender your very selves to God as living men who have risen from the dead, and surrender your various faculties to God, to be used as weapons to maintain the right.Luke 9:23 (NIV) Then he said to them all: "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me."
2 Cor 4:10 (NIV) We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body.
Rom 8:13 (NAS) ... If by the Spirit you are putting to death the deeds of the body, then you will live.
Can't Touch This...1 Jn 5:18 (Phi) We know that the true child of God does not sin, he is in the charge of God's own Son and the evil one cannot touch him.
Gal 5:16-17 (Jer) Let me put it like this: if you are guided by the Spirit you will be in no danger of yielding to self-indulgence, since self-indulgence is the opposite of the Spirit, the Spirit is totally against such a thing...
James 4:7 (NIV) Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.
The Day Is ComingEph 6:10,13 (Phi) In conclusion be strong--not in yourselves but in the Lord, in the power of his boundless strength. Put on God's complete armor so that you can successfully resist all the devil's craftiness... that you may be able to resist evil in its day of power, and that even when you have fought to a standstill you may still stand your ground.
2 Tim 4:18 (NIV) The Lord will rescue me from every evil attack...
Mat 6:13 (NIV) "And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one."
When Trouble Comes, What Kind Is It?
1 Cor 10:13 (NIV) No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.
DISCIPLINE TEST/TRIAL TEMPTATION FROM The Lord God, World, Satan The Devil RESULT OF Disobedience Following God Pride or Exposure HOW TO DISCERN Fits Crime Proves Faith Leads Astray RIGHT RESPONSE Repent! Persevere Resist! DO NOT Make Light of Shrink Back Fall into GOD IS SAYING We are Sons His Name is in Us The Flesh is Weak ENDS WITH Fear and Holiness Death and Glory Sin or Victory