Tempt – entice, lure, test, try, seduce.
To a Born again Christian, Temptation is a test, a test we all have to deal with all of our lives here on earth. You overcome temptation and continue walking the straight and narrow path with Jesus. Succumb to the temptation and move closer to sin and away from Jesus.
Temptations are trials put before us. God watches us as we handle those trials in life to see what we’ll do. God does not tempt, He can’t. The Bible does not lie, God’s words are true! James1:13 “Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, nether tempteth He any man.”
Lets see how the Bible explains Temptation and the trials of man in the book of James:
11 For the sun is no sooner risen with a burning heat, but it withereth the grass, and the flower thereof falleth, and the grace of the fashion of it perisheth: so also shall the rich man fade away in his ways.
The Epistle of James was written by James, the half-brother of Jesus. James was known to be a just and righteous man because of his honesty, piety and ascetic lifestyle. Many Biblical scholars say that Jesus referred to his brother as “James the Just” in the Gospel of Thomas. While the Gospel of Thomas is not in the Bible, scholars feel that it does include authentic words of Jesus. After reading this first chapter of James, it seems he could be talking about the world today, don’t you think?
Let me write about temptation and sin, and praying against our temptations.
God can keep us from some of our temptation in response to our prayers. Prayer does matter. Our Sovereign God in Heaven chooses to rule the world and everything else in a way that prayer plays a big role. Under His Mighty hand, some events are allowed to transpire (or not) because His people prayed; others do not transpire (or do) because they did not pray.
When we pray for help against our sin and temptations to sin, we show God our maturity in our faith. We acknowledge our weakness and the power of sin in our lives to God. We remember God is the only one who can help us overcome these things for us. Let me repeat that God Himself temps no Man (James 1:13). No the blame for sin falls squarely on the sinner! But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. (James 1:14). And yet God, in His grace and mercy, delights to keep us from many temptations, too many times to count, perhaps even when we fail to ask, and how many more times in direct response to our asking? Think to your selves, as I do, the depths of sins in us, and the depth of mercy in our Father. Think on these words, “let no man pretend to fear sin that does not fear temptation also!”
These two are too closely united to be separated. He does not truly hate the fruit who delights in the root.” It is obvious for the sake of truth and a good conscience that we do not separate them. And so we should pray not only against our sins, but also our temptations as well.
When we pray against temptation, we are beginning the process of seeking to avoid it and, in doing so, we help make it possible for God to answer our prayer. God not only often keeps us from temptation because of our prayers, but the very act of praying helps us engage more deeply in the fight. We help fortify our souls against sin. We are resolved in our fight by the Holy Spirit, to hold the truth and not be hardened by the destructive and deadly nature of sin. We need to keep in mind that the pleasures of sin brings death, but the pleasures we have in God bring life eternal.
When we pray against temptation it helps us to plan against temptation in many ways. God helps us to see how we live and what sins in particular we are vulnerable to. We then can pray against those temptations. Finally, when we do enter into temptation, and have prayed against it, then we should not be taken off guard by it, and therefor better prepared to battle it successfully.
It is in God’s grace we are kept from sin, but also temptation. When we pray against very specific besetting sins, we can go an important step further and pray against very specific temptations as well. As a Born again Christian praying against temptation, we can always expect two outcomes from God. 1.) He will answer in real and tangible ways, God is always pleased to keep us from temptations we otherwise would have encountered had we not prayed. And 2.) There are times when God may see fit to have us encounter the very temptation we have prayed (and planned!) against – and when we do, having prayed, we will be better prepared to face and defeat it because of His wisdom and the Holy Spirit.
One thing to keep in mind is God will always give us a way out of temptation. Look for it and take it. And thank Him, for this and the many times He has answered your prayers and mine. Think of thanking Him also for all the unknown times He has guarded you and I from the temptations we never encountered. Also think about how God in answering your prayers from temptation right now, God can also see you through those temptations being right by your side through tough times.
God does not tempt, but has and does test! Let’s look at some of the tests we see in the Bible. “By faith Abraham when he was tried, (tested) offered up Isaac and he that had received the promised offered up his only begotten son,” Hebrews 11:17.
“Then said the Lord unto Moses, Behold, I will rain bread from Heaven for you; and the people shall go out and gather a certain rate every day, that I may prove (test) them, whether they will walk in my law, or no.” Exodus 16:4
“And Moses said unto the people, Fear not: for God is come to prove (test) you, and that His fear may be before your Faces, that ye sin not.” Exodus 20:20
“But as we were allowed of God to be put in trust with the gospel, even so we speak; not as pleasing men, but God, which trieth (test) our hearts” 1 Thessalonians 2:4.
In contrast to the testing God preforms on man, Satan tempts us with his lies and deceivings. He tempts us to believe his lies so that we sin!
“And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years. And cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal upon him, that he should deceive the nations no more, till the thousand years should be fulfilled: and after that he must be loosed a little season.” Revelation 20:2-3
God tells us Born again Christians to test our own hearts.
“Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?”
2 Corinthians 13:5
“Prove (examine) all things; hold fast that which is good. Abstain from all appearance of evil.” 1 Thessalonians 5:21-22
“Yet they tempted (tested) and provoked the most high God, and kept not His testimonies:” Psalm 78:56
“I the Lord search the heart, I try the reins, even to give every man according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings.” Jeremiah 17:10
The benefits we get from all the Lord’s testing is seen here in the Bible.
“My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptation; Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.” James 1:2-4
We are all tempted by Satan to disobey God. God tests us to prove us and make us stronger in our faith. Many people of this world find it amusing to test and tempt God for a long time. It seems to me their numbers are growing these days. I think they should read the King James Bible and see what God does with those who mock Him.
I tried to come up with a good prayer for us to pray against temptation, but found the best prayer in general is the one Jesus told us to pray.
“Our Father which art in Heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth as it is in Heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the Kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever.”
Here is a vision story to show you what is happening right now and right in front of your eyes. Read carefully and learn from the story, it may help you to understand what is happening and why you feel like you do living in the world you live in today.
The woman looked out her office window, looking down into the street she walked along every day of her life. She worked in an office building filing forms for some big company she hardly knew. Looking down into the street she kept thinking of the walk into work today. It was a strange feeling she had like she was confused, and she couldn’t shake it. The street looked the same as it always did, the buildings looked the same, the people scurrying around below looked the same, what was it that made her feel so confused, so weird inside.
She went back to work shaking her head but kept thinking about it. At five she got herself ready to leave and go home for the weekend. She said a prayer to the Lord for protection as well as a prayer of wisdom, she asked in a prayer for God to show or tell her what she was feeling all day.
Walking down the long noisy street she stopped for some food at the market for the weekend and was almost to the apartment where she lived, when the feeling was back, and stronger this time. She thought, it might be the Holy Spirit telling her something, but no the Holy Spirit does not bring on confusion. She thought she was hearing voices whispering in her ears, saying something she couldn’t understand. She was confused and afraid of the voices and what they were telling her.
Standing there the voices grew louder and she thought she could almost feel the voices in her head. Looking around she saw she was very close to her apartment so she ran to the door and fumbled with the key. Panic was growing in her as she opened the door and closed it loudly behind her. The voices stopped and there was silence in her apartment now. She breathed deep breaths a few minutes to steady herself before she moved again.
Looking around everything looked normal, just as she had left things that morning. She went into the living room and sat down and prayed again for God to reveal what this was all about. Sitting there awhile, she saw nothing was going to happen then so she went ahead and made dinner. The rest of the night went by normally and she went to bed after reading her King James Bible for a few hours.
Saturday went by as it always did, and she was thinking of all the things that happened to her yesterday, as she cleaned her apartment. She thought to herself she must have over-imagined the whole thing yesterday and put it out of her mind. Working all day she was tired as she ate a late dinner. Reading again from her Bible she relaxed as she read. She prayed her normal prayers and went to bed, looking for a good nights sleep.
Waking up Sunday morning the woman stretched and looked out her bedroom window. All she could see was this strange looking fog outside. She could see the forms of the building across from her but only a vague outline of them in blues and grays. She couldn’t see the street below at all or the people or cars that should be there. She felt this odd feeling but let it pass.
Smiling, she said to no one, “that’s not going to stop me from going to church today.” She ate her breakfast and dressed for church. The woman was in a very good mood as she went to the door.
Opening it she gasped, she could not believe what she was seeing. Out of this very thick fog she could see forms that looked like people but she thought she could see through them. There were no cars, no road, nothing but a mass of people all walking slowly down the street in the same direction. The fog swirled around them and what looked like through them. Standing there at the front door she was frozen.
At that minute she heard what had to be God in her head speaking to her. She knew it was Him because the Holy Spirit in her told her so. He spoke softly saying, “I have heard your prayers and now I will answer your prayers in this way. What you see in front of you is the world you live in, but I am showing it to you in a way you can see the evil in this world and their power to tempt others around them. This will show you what is happening in the world being influenced by Satan.
What you will see are the temptations, and sins caused by people living under the influence of Satan. You will see the people who reject Me, doing Satan’s work for him here on earth all going the same way, to their destruction. The fog is the confusion in the world of evil they live in.
The mask is lifted for a time today and you will see things in this manner for the rest of the day. You ask Me in your prayer what is happening in this world, and I will show you in this way so you will understand. Go out and see what is happening right in front of you, have no fear of those who are not my children. I am protecting you as I always protect all my children, go and see, but be not afraid. I will put things back to normal for you by midnight.
Follow the Spirit I put within you, He will lead you safely to the things you need to see and hear in this world this day. See for yourself how much evil is in the world presently and see how the evil acts towards anything Holy.”
The woman heard this and was left in silence standing in her doorway looking at what was in front of her. The fog was so thick she couldn’t see too far in front of her, but she obeyed God and went reluctantly to the bottom steps. The mass of people was so thick she didn’t know if she could walk into the crowd. She noticed the crowd was all walking in the same direction as they slowly walked threw the fog. They all looked confused and afraid as they walked. She felt she needed to go the other way, and wondered if that were possible with this crowd.
She took a deep breath to steady herself and started to push her way into the crowd. Once in the crowd she was pushed along by the volume of people around her going the wrong way. She tried to turn the way she knew was the right way to go, and learned how to twist and weave her way against the mass of people pressing against her. As she did this a person she did not know turned quickly to look at her and said, “why are you going the wrong way? Why are you trying so hard to go the wrong way. It’s easier to go this way,” as he pointed over her shoulder. Another person spoke to the man and said to him, “she’s not like us, look she’s so stupid she can’t figure out the right way to go without help! Leave her to her stupidity.” They both left her as they laughed out loud.
Making some progress against the crowd she saw people looking at her from every direction, another person turned to her and said, “Where do you think you’re going to go, going in that direction! I can tell you, there’s nothing over that way you want, I know because I know everything, just ask me!”
Another person turned and said, “that man is an idiot, and a lier. You are going to hell if you go that way,” pointing the way she wanted to go! Ignoring the man the woman worked hard to get past him and on her way again. As she went on she was tempted, threatened, and cursed at by any and all she passed. The Spirit in her said, “you are near to where you need to go, turn in here and see”, the Holy Spirit said to her. She stopped and looked over at the building she was standing in front of. She smiled, it was her church. She pushed over to the doors and went in.
Looking around she saw more of the fog here in the church, but in the fog she did see two other people like herself, but the rest of the people in the church were like those outside. A friend of hers in the front row and the pastor who was standing up in the pulpit saw her and welcomed her in God’s house. The others just shook their heads at her. The woman and her friend sat together and enjoyed the service, as the pastor read from scriptures and worshiped God. The other’s in the church just laughed at the scriptures he read, and ridiculed the pastor personally as he spoke.
After the service these same people were throwing questions at him at the back of the church, saying things like, “I donate to this church” one man said, ‘why doesn’t God help me make more money so I can donate more to the church?” Another asked, “Why can’t God just destroy our enemy so we can have a better world, so the good people like us can live in peace?” Someone else said loudly, “God is a loving God, He would never hurt anyone or send anyone to hell.” A few others agreed with that and added, “All paths will lead one to Heaven and God. “
This went on for some time, as the pastor slipped away to talk to the two women still at the front of the church. The pastor looked the two over and asked if everything was all right? He said to the woman God had spoken to that morning,” you look like you’ve seen a ghost, are you well?”
She smiled at him and said, “you have no idea how close you are at being right. But no I’m alright it’s just been a very unusual and tempting day for me!” The three of them had an idea to meet here every Sunday from now on before services to worship God before the others showed up for services. They agreed and said their good-byes and headed for home.
As the woman walked out into the street she still saw the fog in the street and the chaos it was causing those people in the fog. She saw the people were all heading down the road all going the same way as before. She looked up and down the street seeing nothing but people moving slowly down the street all heading towards their destruction. She felt the right way to go was against the crowd just as before.
She stepped into the crowd and they started verbally assaulting her with curses, threats, and temptations. They attacked God and her belief in Him. The panic started to rise in her as all the voices in her head seemed to be surrounding her, but she felt the Holy Spirit giving her peace and assured her she was in God’s hands. Making it home eventually, she ran up the stairs and searched for the door key in her pocket. For a second she couldn’t find it, but it was there behind her small purse.
She put the key in the lock and turned it. Opening the door she stumbled into the living room. The fog wasn’t in the room and she felt relieved about that. She felt she had had enough of all this for one day. She slowly went over and sat down for a long time on the sofa thinking about all she saw and heard. It grew dark outside as she felt a little better. She went into the kitchen and made a simple dinner without looking outside the windows.
After dinner she went straight to bed and read her Bible. She prayed and thanked God for showing her just how evil the whole world was and almost everyone in it. She now had some understanding, but didn’t know what she should or could do about it. She prayed God show her His will and what He wanted her to do.
Waking up the next day, she woke with a start, looking out her bedroom window she smiled at the beautiful sunny day shining in at her. Sitting up she thought about that dark foggy day she had yesterday and what that meant. She did her morning things and headed out to work, but stopped at the front door. She worked up the nerve and opened the door to see the sun shinning in her eyes. Looking down at the street she saw cars going up and down the street like nothing happened yesterday at all. On the way to work she stopped at an intersection for a red light and watched the cars go by. A man next to her turned and looked at her and said loudly, “Just look at all those damed people, I wish they’d all just go to hell and get out of my way!”
The light changed and the man was gone, but she knew now the evil was still here, all around her, but she couldn’t see it anymore or the fog the world was in. But she sure could hear it and feel it by the way the people around her looked at her and acted. She could also feel the chaos. Saying a prayer as she walked, she prayed God would come soon to stop the evil and put things back the way they where meant to be from the beginning.
All glory to God
His humble servant Lee M Buchanan