Ref: Deeper Life Ministry, Youths Search The Scripture, Volume 75, LESSON 973
Text: LUKE 4:1-12
Memory Verse: “Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall” (1 Corinthians 10:12 ).
Salvation experience marks a turning point in the life of a sinning youth. Consequently, such a youth turns away from sin, Satan and the world. As he rejoices in his new found faith, he makes consecration to live the righteous life with heaven in mind. The devil, knowing that he has lost such an individual from the dominion of sin, enslavement1, oppression and destruction, makes frantic efforts to bring him back. The means employed by the devil to accomplish this is called temptation.
Temptation is an enticement in form of thoughts or suggestions to sin or do evil. It is common to all. Bible characters like Jesus, the Rechabites, Peter, King David, Daniel and his three friends, Joseph and other saints of old also experienced it, contemporary Christian youths are not exempted. Temptation cuts across age, race, social class, colour and all spiritual levels. No saint lives or grows enough in grace or faith to be above temptations. Satan places stumbling blocks (temptations) on the pathways of Christians. He often engages unfaithful disciples in putting obstacles on the way of genuine Christians with the intention of making them to fall. There are temptations peculiar to youths, the middle-aged and aged ones. However, it continue throughout the lifetime of man generally. Satan’s tactics are determined by his aim. The resolve and focus of the believer should be to have an uncompromising stand against temptation.
Paul the apostle wrote on the subject of temptation. Through his writing, it is made clear that though God allows temptation, He does not allow us to be tempted above what we can overcome (1 Corinthians 10:13). The aim of this subject is to reveal to Christian youths the sources of temptations, the steps to overcoming them, and the strong admonition not to yield to temptation.
- SOURCES OF TEMPTATION
Luke 4:1,2; James 1:13-15; Matthew 4:1; 1 Chronicles 21:1; Genesis 3:6; 1 John 2:15-17; 2 Corinthians 2:11
“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: 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 to sin. He can never be blamed for sin, though men in their attempt not to take responsibility for their actions, often heap blame of their failure on God. The Bible affirms that, “…God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man” (James 1:13).
Apostle James, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, stated that temptation begins with man’s desire, which may be perfectly legitimate by itself, but leads him away from his God-given goal. The desire within the heart, if allowed, can cause men to be enticed or tempted. Indeed, the devil tempts one with what he craves for. The devil, therefore, tries to entice the heart to desire things that would lead one astray. He makes youths to backslide first by creating pride, lust, revenge, envy, etc. in their heart. No wonder the Bible says: “Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life” (Proverbs 4:23).
Temptation comes when one “is drawn away of his own lust…”. Satan, however, does the drawing away. He sees the tendency to sin in one’s heart and entices one into it. His goal is to dispossess us of our most valuable possession – eternal life. The flesh is another source of temptation. The inordinate cravings of the flesh in the areas of appetite and immoral urge can lead to temptation.
More so, Satan uses various agents to bring temptation. For example, he can use our neighbours, relatives or even parents as sources of temptation. A neighbour can impress some unscriptural idea, practices or sentiments on our mind and evoke1 the adamic nature in us. Relatives can craftily edge us out of the counsel of God and set our feet on the path of sin. Parents can lead us into wrong marriages, get us into unscriptural or even sinful work environment. Overconfidence can also be another source of temptation. Youths are therefore encouraged to diligently guard or protect their hearts and avoid anything that would be an object of temptation.
- STEPS TO VICTORY OVER TEMPTATION
Luke 4:3-12; Matthew 4:3-10; Genesis 39:7-13; Jeremiah 35:14-16; Daniel 3:12-18; 6:12-16
Whatever form or shape a temptation takes, the joy of heaven is to see a believer overcome it. If victory is the goal of all Christian youths, then they must take a righteous and unshakeable stand against sin. God’s command remains, “Abstain from all appearance of evil” (1 Thessalonians 5:22). Saints in the Scripture who overcame temptation were those who were resolute in their minds. The first step to overcoming temptation begins with a purposeful heart. “But Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the portion of the king’s meat, nor with the wine which he drank…”. This accounted for Daniel’s ability to overcome all the temptations that he experienced in Babylon. The second is having the fear of God. Joseph manifested this while in Portiphar’s house in Egypt. This was portrayed in his confession before Portiphar’s wife. “How then can I do this great wickedness, and sin against God?” (Genesis 39:9). The next is to have a strong determination to obey God’s command no matter the source of the temptation. The sons of Rechab determined to keep to their father’s instruction even when there was a contrary suggestion from a great prophet – Jeremiah. Another step is to have a fixed mind to do God’s will. Jesus Christ is our Perfect Example. He knew God’s will; and at all times, He resolved to live by it. “But when he had turned about and looked on his disciples, he rebuked Peter, saying, Get thee behind me, Satan: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but the things that be of men” (Mark 8:33). Furthermore, a strong desire to follow God’s will in everything will help us to resist temptation from Satan (Psalm 40:8). Christ rejected all the earthly offers satan presented to Him in our text so as to fit into God’s plan for Him. Finally, a sound knowledge and conviction in the word of God (Matthew 4:4,7,10). Jesus Christ often quoted from the Scriptures to resist the tempter.
Some Christians always enjoy victory in times of temptations. Others struggle with it. To some, victory over temptation is as natural as breathing; while to others, it is far-fetched. In summary, a Christian pilgrim on his way to heaven will have victory over every temptation as he rejects evil (Proverbs 1:10-15); lives righteously (Proverbs 4:20-27; Isaiah 33:14-17; Titus 2:11,12); obeys God (Exodus 19:5; Deuteronomy 27:10; Acts 5:29); lives by faith (Hebrews 10:38); endures in times of persecution (James 1:12) and depends on divine help during temptation (1 Corinthians 10:13).
- STRONG ADMONITION NOT TO YIELD TO TEMPTATION
James 1:12-15; Proverbs 1:10-15; 1 Corinthians 10:13; Hebrews 2:18
“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: But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death” (James 1:13-15). The gains from yielding to temptation are not comparable to doing otherwise. In other words, it is more rewardable not to yield to temptation.
Temptation starts with a lust for evil in one’s heart. At this stage, the tempted is weighing the supposed gain, pleasures to be derived from yielding. This leads to enticement to do the act and to conceive or accept to do it. Yielding to such temptation becomes sin. The danger is that it brings pains, dejections, frustrations, regrets and sorrows. But eventually, it leads to death – separation from the kingdom of God in eternity.
Do you know that you can overcome temptations if you choose to? God never allows temptation that you cannot overcome to come your way. “There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it” (1 Corinthians 10:13). Therefore, it is disappointing to yield to the temptation which God has given you power to overcome. When next you are tempted, know that God allows it because He knows you can overcome it. Resolve now not to yield; yielding is sin. The Lord will give you grace in Jesus’ name. Remember, “If sinners entice thee, consent thou not” (Proverbs 1:10).
Question 1: What is temptation?
Question 2: What are the sources of temptation?
Question 3: How can a Christian youth overcome temptation?
Question 4: From the revelation of God through apostle James, what are the stages of temptation?
Question 5: What is God’s expectation from those who are tempted?