Spiritual confusion leaves us vulnerable to temptation. When we are looking for a breakthrough and are on a path of finding our purpose, we have to be able to discern what is solid truth and what is merely a counterfeit version.
Our circumstances, both times of trial and times of joy, have an impact on how we perceive reality. Therefore, being grounded in God’s Word—which never changes—is the safest place you can be when you experience temptations in life.
There are problematic issues all around us today: epidemics, natural disasters, wars, famine—you name it. And we can get lost in it all.
Though these deserve much prayerful attention and spiritual discernment, we are going to take a slightly different perspective when dealing with problems—a personal perspective.
Instead of looking at how we respond to outside struggles, let’s focus on how we respond to the Word of God. Then use the Word of God to respond to the world.
We are going to take a journey into the human heart. This is a journey that will require courage, repentance, faith, and an understanding of the forgiveness that is ours through our inheritance from the Messiah. This journey is not a “feel good” journey; it is a truth journey.
But rest assured, there is good news in your salvation (see Psalm 51:10 and 96:2)!
On the trading floors of heaven, a great exchange happens when you decide to embrace God’s gifts over the pleasures of this world. He gives you…
“…beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness…”—Isaiah 61:3
Passionate Faith or Wavering in Doubt
Christians are not immune to times of testing and trial. In fact, the closer we get to our calling, the more we feel the pressures from the world and are inundated with roadblocks to our blessings. Temptations in life can press in, but being anchored in the hope of the Messiah gives you access into the presence of God (see Hebrews 6:19).
There are Believers who are passionate about their faith, living it out daily, and embracing their identity. And then there are those who waver and waffle between fear and doubt.
But truth be told, we have all been in both places. We can be on one side for a season or vacillate between them both on any given day.
We want you to know we understand. You are not alone. We’ve all been there, and most of us have been there and back in the last 24 hours.
Thank God for His unchanging heart, even when ours is on a rotating spindle (see Malachi 3:6 and Jeremiah 17:9)!
How Do We Respond to God’s Word?
When we begin to glance away from the Lord’s instruction and entertain certain temptations in life, you can guarantee our adversary is somewhere in the shadows. He is essentially dangling that same fruit in front of you that he did to Adam and Eve in the Garden.
Take to heart the words of the Apostle Peter: to be vigilant because our adversary is seeking to devour (see 1 Peter 5:8). How does the devil do this?
Though Satan is crafty, he is not a Creator. God is the Creator. Therefore, the enemy has been using the same tactics (not new ones) since the beginning of man’s existence. They are just wrapped up in different bows.
If Satan is the father of lies and fears, and God is the Father of all life and creation, then how should we respond to God’s Word?
We should starve our fears and feed our faith!
Click on Getting to the Root of Our Problems Part 1, if you haven’t read it yet. There we discussed the importance of stepping into your assignment, sorting out confusion, and protecting your purpose.
Here, we are going to explore the schemes of the enemy, which surround us all—but when we are aware of them and put on the armor of God, we walk in victory!!!
Three Temptations in the Garden…
It all started in the Garden. The sly serpent posed questions to Eve about God’s goodness. God gave us pure, unadulterated joy, provision, and identity. And the enemy wanted to take it from us and give us feigned security.
And he is still at it, always starting the same way. The devil introduces doubt. Then, he sneaks in like a thief to steal your blessings.
1. Pleasure (lust of the flesh)
Satan appeals to the flesh. He preyed on Adam and Eve’s physical need and distorted it. They had every need met in the Garden, but the serpent took their physical vulnerability and reliance on God’s provision of “needing nourishment” and twisted it—proposing they needed more than what God had given them.
“And the woman said to the serpent, ‘We may eat the fruit of the trees of the garden; but of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God has said, “you shall not eat it, nor shall you touch it, lest you die.”’”—Genesis 3:2-3 (emphasis added)
God had provided more than enough, but Adam and Eve fell into the temptation that something else would taste better.
Does Satan tempt you to elevate pleasure over a relationship with God? Jesus said, “The thief does not come except to steal… I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.”—John 10:10
There will always be things that are enjoyable to you, and this was God’s intent, but when we place those pleasures over the fulfillment of being in God’s presence, we need to be well aware of what the enemy plans to do with that.
Remember the trading floors of heaven mentioned earlier? If you are on the wrong trading floor, you may find yourself beginning to trade real joy for counterfeit contentment if you are not careful.
2. Pride (pride of life)
Satan entices with pride. Adam and Eve, just like us, were made in God’s image. Therefore, they innately knew God to be all-powerful, almighty, and all-knowing. The serpent took this truth and again, twisted it for his plot.
He blatantly lied and told them, “You will not surely die.” Then he went on to sweeten the deception… “For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”—Genesis 3:4-5 (emphasis added)
What would life be like if evil were never known? This was God’s will. And we have a choice every day to further good or to further evil in our lives. Each one produces fruit, either righteous or rotten. One gives life, and the other brings destruction.
Because we know God’s character is good, we want to be like Him. In fact, this is the work of the Holy Spirit in a Believer’s life today—to transform us into the image of Christ. He is restoring us to what we were designed to be.
Does Satan tempt you to elevate yourself above God? Does He tell you Christ’s righteousness and grace are not enough?
“And He said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.”—2 Corinthians 12:9
When we have a religious spirit of false righteousness and holiness, it wages war on the grace and power of God. We start to think we can do it all and we want more control. But the Word of God says this…
“…He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.”—John 15:5
“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”—Philippians 4:13
3. Possessions (lust of the eyes)
Satan persuades us with property. God’s answer is provision. We say the word provision a lot as Christians. We pray for it and thank God for it, but what does it mean at its root?
Provision is not just about supply. It is about providing what was previously prepared. Think about that for a moment. God provided all man needed in the Garden ahead of time, right? He created the world and the universe in perfect balance to support the life He made in His image. He did not make man first, but instead last.
He prepared in advance all that we would ever need, and then placed us in it to care for it. It was His, but we were able to enjoy it fully in covenant partnership.
And God has prepared a place for you at His table (see Psalm 23:5). He invites you to take your seat as He has prepared a banquet full of abundant blessings.
Refuse to be robbed of this abundant harvest by trading it for the limited resources of this world!
Satan led Adam and Eve to believe there was something they were missing out on. But his plan has been revealed. You don’t have to fall for it.
The irony is they had it all and were in an intimate, close relationship with God. And when they traded the deeply devoted relationship of God with the temporarily tasty fruit, creation began to crumble.
Does Satan tempt you to do the same? Does he whisper in your ear that you need to add to what God has given you to find joy, rather than embrace what you already have through your inheritance in Christ?
“…she took of its fruit and ate. She also gave to her husband with her, and he ate. Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew that they were naked… and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God…”—Genesis 3:6-8
Did you miss the other articles in this series? You can get caught up by clicking on the links below.