"Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the LORD God had made. He said to the woman, "Did God really say, 'You must not eat from any tree in the garden'?" The woman said to the serpent, "We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, but God did say, 'You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.' " "You will not surely die," the serpent said to the woman. "For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil." When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it." Genesis 3:1-6
How did you do with temptation yesterday? Are you using what you are learning? Is what you are learning helpful?
To date we have seen how temptation unfolded for Adam and Eve. First, the Tempter got them to doubt, then he got them to delay, and then he used deceit. Those three elements are a part of every temptation. It is not particularly original but it has been effective for centuries. But the reason it works is more a function of the the fourth aspect of temptation - DESIRE.
The desireable "bait" that hooked them in was the promise that they "would be like God". How did the Tempter know that would be an alluring line? Because it is the one he fell for. It was his desire to rebel against God and usurp Him was the desire that led to the original sin. That desire to be in charge, to have control, to escape accountability is a fatal flaw in the human character. Unless you can subdue that desire you will never be able to resist temptation.
Sadly, the bottom line of temptation is - we sin because we want to. James confirms this truth, "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 desire, he is dragged away and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death." James 1:13-15
Doubt breaks down your resistence to sin.
Delay makes sin look more enticing.
Deceit helps you rationalize your sin.
But temptation is not sin UNTIL WE ACT ON IT and we act on it because we have SINFUL desires.
That explains the primary difference between the first Adam who did yield to temptation and the Second Adam who did not. Jesus was determined not to sin. He never gave in to doubt but clung to the truths He knew about God and His character. He didn't delay and give temptation a second thought. He resisted it quickly and decisively. Nor, did He allow Himself to be deceived about sin. But, the defining difference between the first Adam and the Second was desire.
Adam and Eve sinned because they had a desire to replace God. Jesus WAS God but surrendered that right. He didn't misuse His authority but surrendered it to resist sin. His desire to obey God was greater than His desire to elevate Himself.
Doubt, delay, deceit and desire. That is the profile of a temptation. It has never been a mystery. We have had the example of Adam and Eve for millenia. So, with such a clear understanding of the Evil One's strategy how do we continue to fall?
The answer is most disturbing - WE WANT TO.
Until that desire changes, temptation will continue struggle.
Sure sounds like you need a change in your desires. Who can do that?
Maybe, Jesus - and you!