What is temptation? Temptation is the desire to do something wrong or unwise. Let’s consider the latter first. Chocolate cake is desirable, but you’d be better off not eating it every day, so we label it a temptation. Slipping away for a round of golf or time on the lake is appealing, but too much time away from family or responsibility is not good, so we call it a temptation. Any desire that keeps you from being your best can be described as a temptation. Keeping your balance is critical to being your best. Temptation interferes with your ability to make good decisions.
However, doing something wrong is a whole different category of temptation. More than improper, it is immoral. This is where evil and wickedness occur. Something is considered wrong when it violates God’s Word. The reason God’s Word prohibits something is because it is harmful to you or to others. Temptation is enticement to do wrong. It is pursuing short-sighted worldly goals at the expense of far-sighted spiritual goals. It is chasing selfish interests at the expense of others’ interests. Temptation is the invitation to sin. Sin is accepting the invitation.
The temptation of Jesus was preserved in Scripture to help you understand Satan’s methods and how to defeat them. When making decisions, the Devil wants you to lose your focus and your balance: to think of your body before your soul; your image before your influence, and the moment before your Master. Temptation is about misplaced priorities and twisted values. It is putting your fears before your your hopes and your passions before your purpose. The key to resisting temptation is keeping your focus and your balance. The power of temptation lies in distraction and deception. When you are spiritually alert and centered, temptation loses its power. Keep your eyes on Jesus (Hebrews 12.2).
Aubrey Johnson, Minister
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