As a pastor, it is tempting to always talk about the positive topics like the grace, love, and mercy of God. Topics such as sin, temptation, evil, and disobedience are not very fun. They also don’t make people very comfortable. In our entertainment-driven culture, people are looking for someone to tickle their ears and say what they want to hear. This would make it easy and convenient for pastors to always focus on the good stuff. But, we are charged with declaring the “whole counsel of God” (Acts 20:27). We should talk about the good aspects of a life lived in relationship with God, but it is just as important to understand the negative aspects of a life lived outside of a relationship with God.
This blog’s topic is temptation which is defined as “enticement to evil by arguments, by flattery, or by the offer of some real or apparent good” (Webster, 1828). Man was first tempted by the devil in the Garden of Eden. The first thing man was tempted with was doubt about the truthfulness of God’s Word. The serpent asked Adam and Eve, “Did God really say…?” and ever since then, the Bible has been under attack.
We are tempted in a variety of ways today. Whether it is the allurement of worldly possessions, lust for people and things that are not ours, the promise of false religions, bitterness, foolishness, drunkenness, idle gossip, lying, idolatry, or outright spiritual attacks, temptation is all around us. You see, the temptation to sin is not uncommon, even Jesus Christ was tempted (Hebrews 4:15). It is the giving in to sin which is the problem. By God’s grace, we don’t have to live in fear of temptation or under the power of sin. God has provided us a way out. 1 Corinthians 10:13 says, “No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.”
What is this way out? That is the topic for my next blog, but I will tell you the answer now anyway, it is the Word of God. That’s right, the Bible can help you fight temptation and God can help you overcome it. This is possible because Jesus has already overcome it on your behalf!
This was first published in The Chappell Register on October 2, 2014 as part of the Ministerial Reflection.