"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
Yesterday I began a four-part series on temptation based on the temptation of Adam and Eve. The devil used a four-part strategy to break them down and those four steps are the basis of my series.
First, he got them to doubt the word of God, the ways of God and the wrath of God. Once he sowed those seeds of doubt and distrust they became easy prey. Then he got them to delay in front of the tree and give the temptation a second thought. Then he was able to decieve them because they allowed a sinful thought to enter their mind. And once they doubted God, were deceived in their thinking, a desire to sin sprung up within their spirit and they want to please their desires more than they wanted to please God.
Before I get much further in this series I want to define what I mean by temptation. When the Bible refers to temptation it uses two different concepts. One idea of temptation is the enticement to choose your will against God's will. The other idea is to test or try your commitment and your character for the purpose of developing you.
Temptation becomes an issue only after you are a believer. Here is why. Once you become a believer you are in possession of two wills - the human will and the Holy Spirit (God's will).
Temptation happens when you and placed in a situation where you have to choose between your will and and the will of God. Temptation is facing a choice of the wills, a decision of who you will please - your desires or what pleases God. The crux of temptation is this, "Who do I love the most? Do I love God because I have to or because I want to?"
Yesterday I raised the question, "Do we sin because we are tempted or are we tempted because we are sinners?"
According to our text we are vulnerable to temptation because of the sinful desires within us. But, Adam was tempted BEFORE he had a sin nature and Jesus was tempted and he didn't have a sin nature. How does that happen?
Adam was created without a sin nature but he did have a human nature with a will. Jesus, the Second Adam, was also born without a sinful nature - but with a human nature and a will.
Both were tempted not because they had sin but because they had a will. In order for the will to have significance or meaning, they had to be given a choice and the choice was this, will I love God and serve Him or will I serve my own desires? Adam chose to "be a god", Jesus chose to love God and serve Him above all else.
So, temptation is in essence a test of love! Temptation is a decision about who you will love!
For love to be meaningful it must be a choice. God wants to know if you love Him more than you love yourself or anything else. He wants you to know that, too!
God is so committed to being loved by people who love Him that He allowed Adam to be tempted and Jesus to be tempted - and YOU to be tempted!
You will be tempted today! You will have opportunities to prove who you love. How will you choose? Whom will you choose? Will you be drawn away from God by your desires, or will you aim your desires at God and prove your love?