The Temptations are an American vocal group known for their success with Motown Records during the 1960s and 1970s. Known for their choreography, distinct harmonies, and flashy wardrobe, the group was highly influential to the evolution of R&B and soul music.
Now! Get ready to put your hands together for the Temptations!
Temptations of the Eyes, Temptation of the Flesh and Temptation of Pride and Ego.
There you have it, the Temptations alive and well and here today. These are just three and we find them in the Bible. Easter season will be here before you know it and the first Sunday in Lent will be here March 5th. We will begin a forty day journey marching along with Jesus toward Jerusalem and the cross. We will be tempted each and every day during this journey and we need to be prepared to fight against our desires, lusts and pride to overcome satan and this world.
Matthew, Mark, and Luke tell us about each of the temptations. Temptation is never simple and it may seem to start as a small insignificant thought but before you know it is compounded into a major transgression that you would have never thought would have occurred in your life. In Matthew and Mark 4, we see the three temptations spelled out in detail as He was tempted in the wilderness: V 2-4 Temptation of the Flesh…he was hungry, had been fasting for 40 days. If you are the Son of God, tell the stones to become bread. V 5-7 Temptations of the Eyes…high place and showed him all the world and wealth, it can be yours if you will fall down and worship me. V 9-12 Temptation of Pride and Ego… Satan led Jesus to the peak of the Temple and challenged him. If you be the Son of God, throw yourself down and call for your angels to save you. He quotes scripture from the OT. Psa 91:11-12.
Let’s spell out the temptations because even though there are only three, each one has thousands of tests or attempts that can entrap and snarl our minds, hearts and soul. 1 John 2:16-17 NIV 16 For everything in the world — the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and does — comes not from the Father but from the world. 17 The world and its desires pass away, but the man who does the will of God lives forever.
No one sets out to do bad things but they escalate from the time of a small, mere thought until they conquer the heart and soul and spread to life changing and eternity risking actions.
Here are some things that you should know about Temptations:
Temptation will cast Doubt: Satan will challenge you in every way by using our lust of the flesh, lust of the eyes and our pride and ego but he will most importantly cause doubt in your Christian walk. He will test your faith as he did Jesus. If you are the Son of God, you will and can do this. Satan tells us if you are a follower, a Christian, one who believes they are saved how you could do what you just did. You are not a Christian because if you were those thoughts, those words, those actions would never come out of you.
Temptation will find you, you can’t hide from it: You don’t need to look for temptation because it will find you. We will be tempted. God had one Son who was without sin but He never had a Son who was without temptation. Being tempted is not a sign of not being a Christian; it does not say you have never been saved. In fact, it says the exact opposite, you are a follower of Christ and satan is working hard to tempt you so He will cause you to fall. If you have no temptation than you are already a child of satan. He doesn’t need to test or tempt you because you belong to Him. Holy character doesn’t avert temptation. You may say, I will distance myself from the world but that doesn’t ensure you from temptation. I have heard many people say that they need to get away from the bad tempting element where they live. If I could only live in your neighborhood or live close to my friend who always seems to be above temptation, I can draw on their strength. Not true, satan will tempt you everywhere and anywhere.
Temptation always exists: Temptation is always around and so we need to be alert and on watch. I believe that are there are certain times or seasons that satan works harder. During the High Holy Days is one time that I believe satan is out in full force. When Christians are at their height of glorifying God and acknowledging the resurrection of His Son, satan is busy. When Jesus was forced into the desert to be tempted by satan, Jesus was feeling most secure and at one of his strongest points. He had just been baptized, his father acknowledged him in front of everyone, the Holy Spirit descended on Him and he was beginning his public ministry. Satan will attack you when you are at you peak and at your lowest points. We are open game for satan’s attack all the time. satan is bad all the time…all the time satan is bad. He tries to divert our attention from the true meaning of Easter, he tries to keep us away from church, he tries to use Easter as a time of vacation and breaks from school/work.
Here are some ways that you can help conquer temptations.
1. Understand temptation and the devil’s schemes (but don’t focus on them) Know that our old selves, the person we were before Christ changed us, still pops it dead little head up now and then (or daily for some of us). That old self attempts to tell us that this world has something to offer, that honor and recognition in this world is something to attain, and that we should make ourselves comfortable in this world and its ways.
2. Know the victory is already won-Colossians 2:13-15 says “…God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins, having canceled the charge of our legal indebtedness, which stood against us and condemned us; he has taken it away, nailing it to the cross. And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross.” Jesus has already defeated Satan on the Cross – the victory is won!
3. Walk in the Spirit- Galatians 5:16 says “So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.” Here, Paul explains that if we focus on Jesus and doing the things that will draw us closer to Him (studying His Word, prayer, ministering to others), we won’t have time to give in to the temptations that surround us.
4. Avoid areas of obvious temptation-We need to set up boundaries in our lives so that we don’t fall into the traps that the devil has set for us. The best thing we can do for ourselves is to keep ourselves from entering in to areas of known temptation. If you’re a recovering alcoholic, don’t go to bars. It’s easier said than done, but it’s a very practical way to avoid temptation and therefore avoid the sin and guilt that goes along with it.
5. Listen to Your Moral Guide:-Eph 4: 17 “Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is.” You know what is right and what is wrong. You know what in your heart and soul is temptation to you. You know when you are getting ready to cross over the line. You have developed a lifetime of guidelines that are in place for you and you know what triggers your desires, your lusts and your ego. Listen to that deep silent voice that is telling you, don’t go there, you know it is wrong for you.
Prepare yourself for the temptations of this world because they are real and ever present but with God’s help we can conquer all. Rev. Tom Beckette is pastor of Nighbert United Methodist Church and a member of the Logan Ministerial Association