Encouragement 2-09-04

February 9, 2004

Encouragement for Today


Winning the War with Temptation

Mary Southerland – Director for Proverbs 31 Ministries, Author and Speaker


Key Verse: 


1 Corinthians 10:13 But remember that the temptations that come into your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will keep the temptation from becoming so strong that you can't stand up against it. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you will not give in to it.  (NLT)





I love the story of a little girl who climbed into the lap of her Great-Grandmother.  Scrutinizing the older woman’s face, her white hair and wrinkles the little girl asked, "Grandmother, did God make you?" "Yes," the older woman replied. The little girl paused for a moment then asked, "Did God make me, too?" Smiling, the grandmother answered, "Yes, He surely did!" With a grin the little girl concluded, "Well, don't you think He's doing a much better job now than He used to?"


Any way you look at it creation is pretty amazing.  One of God’s most amazing creations was Eve, the last unique and creative act of God during the first week on earth.  Eve was created pure and holy so that she could minister with Adam and to Adam.  They lived in the Garden of Eden - a perfect place of pure beauty where they had everything that they needed and wanted!  Because man was always meant to work, Adam and Eve loved their work and did it with ease.  Adam and Eve also enjoyed perfect intimacy with each other and a special intimacy with God that was untouched by sin of any kind.


Then temptation came and everything changed!


Eve had a choice to make when confronted with temptation.  She chose to give in to that temptation which meant that she chose to disobey God.  With that one wrong choice, Eve became a willing tool of Satan and caused the fall of mankind. 


Just like Eve, we are in a constant war with temptation.  God will give us every weapon we need to win that war if we are willing to make the right choices.  However, in order to battle temptation we must first understand its nature. 


The first and second chapters of Genesis record God’s first words to man.  And what words they were – words that breathed life and truth into man.  Then Satan spoke words filled with death and untruth,   unearthing the very worst in Eve.  Temptation was born.  Temptation literally means “seduction, lure, bait or trap” and is not a test from God but a trap from Satan.


Matthew 6:13 Do not cause us to be tested; but save us from the Evil One.'  (ICB)


A woman, married to a miser, told him that she was going window shopping!  “Look, but don’t buy!” he warned. When the woman returned wearing a new dress he demanded an explanation.  “Well, I saw this dress”, she explained.  “I thought I’d just try it on for fun and when I did the devil said, “It sure looks good on you!”  Her husband said, “Right then you should have told him, “Get thee behind me, Satan!”  “I did,” she answered.  But when he got behind me he said, ‘Why honey, it looks even better from the back!” 


We have become flippant about sin, laughing at temptation.  Make no mistake, the goal of the enemy is the total destruction of your life and he begins that war with temptation.



My prayer for today:


Lord, please forgive me for not taking sin seriously.  Make me aware of the wrong in my life.  I choose against it all!  I know that without Your power I cannot battle temptation.  Help me to be wise and alert as I face every circumstance today.  Make me aware of every sin in my life and the price You paid to free me from that sin.  Amen.



Application steps:


I must recognize the truth that Satan is alive and well.


I must understand that the enemy can have only the power I give him through my choices.


I must ask God to give me discernment about what is right and what is wrong.


I must count on God to strengthen me for the war against temptation.



Reflection points:


In what areas of life do I sense the enemy attacking me?


What are the weakest areas of my life?


What wrong choices have I made this week that have opened the door for Satan?


What right choices do I need to make in order to avoid temptation?



Power verses:


Luke 22:40 "Pray for strength against temptation."  (NCV)


Galatians 6:1 Dear friends, if a Christian is overcome by some sin, you who are godly should gently and humbly help that person back onto the right path. And be careful not to fall into the same temptation yourself.  (NLT)


Hebrews 2:18 Because he himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.  (NIV)


James 1:14 Temptation comes from the lure of our own evil desires.  (NLT)



Additional resources:


Radically Obedient, Radically Blessed by Lysa TerKeurst



Coming Out of the Dark by Mary Southerland



P31 Woman Magazine



Originally published Monday, 09 February 2004.