IT IS TEMPTING.
It is not a temptation if it does not pull on our sinful desires. I have never been tempted to jump out of an airplane. I had the thought once, but it did not take any will-power to resist. A temptation grabs my attention and must be resisted. Eve was tempted to grow wise outside the will of God. The fruit looked good and it came with a promise (Genesis 3:6). It attracted her enough to defy the God who created her and fellowshipped with her. James wrote that “each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire” (1:14).
IT IS WRONG TO GIVE IN.
It is not a temptation to be moved to read the Scriptures. That is an invitation, not a temptation. We are tempted to say with a temptation, “It’s not wrong,” or “Not that wrong,” because we know it is.
IT COMES FROM SATAN.
God tests us to bring us into new places of victory. Satan tempts us to step outside of the will of God. James wrote, “Let no one say when he is tempted, ‘I am being tempted by God,’ for God cannot be tempted with evil, and he himself tempts no one” (1:13).
IT CHALLENGES THE CHARACTER OF GOD.
The serpent managed to put doubts into the mind of Eve about God. He made her think that God was a bit too controlling, selfish, manipulative, unwilling to share His wisdom. Every temptation is an assault on God’s character. It maligns Him, like He is holding back from us something we have a right to have: “One more drink is not that big a deal.” “Speeding won’t hurt me.” “She said she was a religious person.” “You would have done the same thing if you were in my place.” “It was something that I simply could not resist.” We must justify it in our mind, so we boldly challenge God in order to give in: “He is not looking out for me.” “He is not as faithful to me as I expected.” “He doesn’t answer all my prayers.” “I’ve waited long enough.” “My life has been too hard.” “I need a harmless break.” Listen to your self-talk. It is coming against God.
SAYING ‘YES’ TO TEMPTATION IS SIN AND LEADS TO DEATH.
“Desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death” (James 1:15). It is never profitable to give in to temptation. Satan will tell us that it is harmless, that it affects nothing. Giving in to temptation IS a big deal and is step one toward death. Not a good idea. Every sin has the seeds of death in it. “The wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23). Obedience brings life, disobedience brings death, one sin at a time. One look at porn seems so harmless, but two months later when the addiction takes us away the Scriptures and into deeper sin, our mind is dulled from saying “yes” to God, and Satan wins big. There’s a better way: “Submit to God; resist the devil, and he will flee from you” (James 4:7).