Dissecting Temptation – Being Dragged Away ~ blog
I strongly believe that every single sin anyone has ever committed involved temptation. In fact, we read in Genesis 2 that when God first put Adam into the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it, He said;
“You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat from it you will certainly die.”
Now I, like many men I know, do not like having to read instructions before putting something together. Yesterday, I bought a machine which is programable and will feed my cat a desired amount of food at certain times. This was needed because my cat overeats and then throws up and refuses to eat what he has vomited. I immediately went to work trying to assemble it based on the image on the box … but lo and behold I had to succumb to my ignorance and read the directions … but I digress.
These were not complex instructions God gave to Adam. Only one thing was prohibited … one stinking thing … do not eat from that one tree. Everything else is fine just one thing to not do because if he did eat from it, he would certainly die. Not maybe die or get kind of sick … but certainly, die.
We know the rest of that story. She saw that the fruit of that tree looked good for consumption, it was rich in fiber and vitamins, and it was pleasing to the eye, so she picked the fruit and bit into it. It was delicious and sweet so she gave it to Adam who was standing right there ignoring the sign on the tree saying, “Do Not Eat or You will Certainly Die.” And he ate as well.
We all know the consequence of that fatal mistake. They felt shame. They covered their bodies with fig leaves, and they hid from God for the very first time because they were feeling guilty. And when Eve asked Adam; “Does the fig leaf make my butt look big?” the second temptation was upon him which was to lie … but I digress again.
We are given instructions in the Word of God about temptation in James 1 where we read;
“When tempted, no one should say, “God is tempting me.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; but each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death”
There are six stages to the process of temptation. This week I am going to go over each one of them and what we need to know and do in order to best figure out how we and learn how to escape temptation when we find ourselves being tempted … and better yet learn how to foresee where temptation might be waiting for us and how to avoid it.
First, I want you to notice where temptation comes from. It never comes from God. He will allow trials in our lives from which we are to grow stronger, but He never tempts us. The problem is that we all have a flesh or sin nature inside of our bodies. We were born with it and we will die with it and then it will be gone for eternity. But until that time our own evil desires come from our flesh.
When we sin, it is because we begin to feel our own sinful desires beginning to grow as we are dragged away and enticed by something in our world. It might be an image on an ad online that pops up unexpectedly, or someone we see or a memory we have from a sexual event that happened in our past.
Step 1 is that we are dragged away. The emphasis in this Greek word is to draw out or to lure something from its hiding place. The fruit on the tree looked good to eat and it caught Eve’s eye. It drew her to the tree. The same happens to us. We see or think something that is sensual or sexual and we are drawn to it. Though it looks good to us and the desires of our flesh begin to become aroused we want a closer look, click the image, and hope to see more.
At this point, the process of temptation has begun but we have not yet sinned. This is a very important thing for us to realize. Temptation is normal!!! We have this fallen and sinful nature inside of us. We live in a fallen world where porn is omnipresent – available at any time and in any place. Plus, we have an enemy who wants to destroy us.
So many people I work with freak out when they find themselves being tempted and have an almost instant reaction that they are now going to fall. This has happened hundreds of times in their past and so they reason they cannot escape it, so they give in to the temptation and fall … again.
Here is the TRUTH. Being tempted is normal. It is going to happen perhaps even on a daily basis. We cannot escape temptation in our fallen world but that does not mean we have to give in to it. We used to be slaves to sin but through the finished work of Christ, we now have a choice who our master will be.
“Do not offer any part of yourself to sin as an instrument of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer every part of yourself to him as an instrument of righteousness. For sin shall no longer be your master, because you are not under the law, but under grace.”
When you feel you are being dragged away by sexual temptation you do not have to give in to it. We have become addicted because we have not believed that we can resist by the power of the Spirit and being in a community of other men helping us.