1. temptation

    “Temptation” is from the Fun with “Shuns” study course on biblical teachings that end in -tion (“shuns”).  Today we share the first of the lessons with you.  Christians need to be familiar with core biblical teachings.  Fun with “Shuns” will teach you biblical truths, or it will reinforce the doctrines that you already know.  You must know what you believe so you can live and share what you believe.   The Fun with “Shuns” study course is available in a study guide/DVD format for church or small group gatherings.  Visit the Reasons for Hope* Jesus store.

Watch this short video that speaks about the challenges we encounter when confronted with temptation and then read what the Bible tells us.

Fun with Shuns #1 — 

temp·ta·tion \ noun \ tem(p)-’tā-shən\

1: the act of tempting or the state of being tempted especially to evil: enticement

2: something tempting: a cause or occasion of enticement

 

What can we learn from Nina?

Nina was honest in the video about the temptations she faces on a daily basis.  We all face temptations.  Think about some of the temptations that you struggle with.

Nina gave reasons why she is tempted to succumb to temptation.  They included “to experiment,” “to see how it feels,” and “once won’t hurt.” She also spoke of the power of the temptation and her lack of strength to avoid it.  Think about some of the reasons you give in to temptation.

Nina felt that “nobody is helping — parents, schools, church.”  The scare tactics she hears don’t seem to be enough.  She said, “the facts, the truth…we all just laugh at it like we can’t do anything about it…”  And yet, as Nina continued to talk she said, “it does bother me…”   It seems that Nina still has an active conscience.  Is your conscience active?

What are some reasons Nina would do one thing (conform by laughing at the facts) when it truly isn’t a laughing matter?  If we are honest, we know there are times when we conform.  How do we make the right choices?

Are temptations always a bad thing?

A temptation is really a circumstance, situation or person that confronts us with a choice.  A temptation is meant to entice us to do something.  It depends on the “something” whether it is good or bad?

We can be tempted or enticed by the smell of fresh baked cookies and there is nothing wrong with fresh-baked cookies or with giving in to that temptation (eating too many cookies might be a problem, but that’s a different topic).  Other temptations, however, can produce in us a response of sinful desires and sinful actions.   We have the ability to choose how we respond, and God’s Word gives us the wisdom and strength we need to make the right choices.

Some form of the word “tempt” is used 54 times in the New Testament (tempt, tempted, tempting, temptation); and two times the word tempter is used of Satan.  We need to be prepared to stand strong before temptations confront us, so we need to know what the Bible tells about facing temptations and the warnings it gives us about temptations that lead to sin.

Hide God’s Word in Your Heart

Let’s look at what 1 Timothy 6:7-9 says about the temptations of the world and what happens when we succumb to them.

{7} For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out.  

Paul warns against desiring worldly gain and reminds Timothy that such things are of no eternal value.  Just prior to this statement (verse 6), Paul wrote that “godliness with contentment is of great gain.”  We must remember that things of this world should not have control over us.  

Henry David Thoreau said that a man is wealthy in proportion to the number of things he can afford to do without. We should simplify our way to real contentment, not hanging on too tightly to things of this world.  They will all perish.  Things of the world might be able to provide some contentment, but it is a conditional contentment that will never last or completely satisfy.  Our contentment must be found in Jesus, knowing that He is with us and provides for us.  God provides for our needs, and therefore we can agree with Paul, “…for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content. (Philippians 4:11).  Proverbs and Psalms also teaches these principles:

Proverbs 30:8 … Give me neither poverty nor riches; Feed me with the food allotted to me.

Psalm 62:10  …if riches increase, set not your heart upon them.

Contentment is not attaining what you want. It is the realization that, in Christ, we already have what we need.  Paul wrote to Timothy of the dangers of finding satisfaction in the world (the riches of the world):

1 Timothy 6:9  But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition.  

This is not a condemnation of wealth.  It is a warning against desiring worldly riches, for along with great worldly gain can come many temptations that can lead to sin.  For the Christian who has gained great wealth, there also comes great responsibility.  The responsibility is to avoid the temptations that lead to sin and that is accomplished by staying focused on Jesus and allowing His Spirit to direct words, thoughts and actions.  What does God say about why we lose our focus?

James 1:14  But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed.

It is our lust, our feelings and desires that draw us away from Jesus and allow us to be enticed by temptations.  We must not forget Jesus, our First Love (Revelation 2:4). Remember, our feelings and desires can lie to us.  We must stay grounded in God’s Word and turn to Him in prayer, and seek His will in all we do.

What does God promise about avoiding temptations?

1 Corinthians 10:13  No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.

It is often said that God doesn’t give us more than we can handle.  That’s an incomplete theology.  God can and does give us more than we can handle, but we can handle it.  That sounds like double-talk, but it’s not.  The only reason we can bear more than we can bear is because, when we are weak, He is strong for us.  In our insufficiency, His grace is sufficient and He will graciously give us what we need.  This is true for any temptation we face. 

God will provide a “way of escape,” a strength not of our own but of Him, and His strength will enable us to bear the temptation, but because God has given us free will, we have choices to make.  When facing temptation, do we choose to turn to God and receive the help He promises us?  Or do we choose to give in to the temptation?  We are blessed when we turn from temptation and choose God.

In the video, Nina concluded by saying, “It’s my choice…it’s my life….”  What does God tell us He will do for those who choose according to His will:

Blessed is the man who endures temptation;
for when he has been approved,
he will receive the crown of life which the
Lord has promised to those who love Him.
James 1:12  

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