Friday, January 13, 2012

The Devil Made Me Do It!

Jasper Speaks

The other night I was reading our evening Bible devotion to Jackson. It was the story of Adam and Eve’s fall in the Garden of Eden. Jackson had of course heard this story before so when we got to the part where the serpent was tempting Eve, he got worked up as he knew where this was going. I didn’t have to tell him who the bad guy was. He knew what the serpent was doing was going to end in a bad way. When we were done he asked, “Daddy, why did they eat the fruit?” That question is one that has haunted humanity. Why? Why did they fall? Why with all the beauty of the garden did they choose to do the one thing God told them they couldn’t do? Why give up everything that was in front of them, to see what more there might be?

Temptation is a powerful thing. Satan has been using it from the very beginning. It is what he does. He is very good at it. I often tell the students that it is like someone who spends their lives working at an M&M factory. Their job is to put the Ms on the candy. If that is the only thing they did for 40 years you have got to think they would be pretty good at it. Satan has been tempting humans since the dawn of our existence. It is what he does. He is very good at it. He knows the words to say. He knows the moments to strike. He is the expert tempter.

Temptation is not where sin lies. Sin is in action. We are all tempted. Jesus was even tempted by Satan and as we know he was without sin, temptation alone cannot be sinful. It is where temptation leads us that is where our concern lies.

Temptation is opportunity. A choice lies before us. Will we fail or will we triumph? Temptation is not something we necessarily need to dread. Resisting temptation and overcoming Satan can be a great growth moment in our spiritual lives. Easier said than done? Yes. But God makes a promise to us in our temptation in 1 Corinthians. He says:

No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it. 1 Corinthians 10:13

What Satan wants you to believe is that the place where you are tempted is yours alone. He wants you to believe that no one else has ever been where you are. That quite simply is a lie and nothing more. The things with which you struggle are not new. They are things that are common to us all. Maybe they manifest themselves in different ways but the temptation is the same. In the end, we are tempted to be selfish. We are tempted to find what pleases us most. Satan is so good at tempting because his fall came from the same temptation he gives us. He was selfish and wanted more for himself. He longs for you and me to be just as 
selfish as he was when he fell from Heaven.

Jesus came and told us that we need to be living for others. We need to focus on other people’s needs above our own. This message is the exact opposite of the message Satan tempts us with. For me the most promising part of 1 Corinthians 10:13 is that God is faithful and won’t tempt us more than we can bear. He will make a way of escape every time. That is so reassuring to me. When I am tempted, God has already made a way for me to escape it. I simply have to choose that way of escape. For Adam and Eve it was to walk away and eat from any other tree in the Garden. It comes to us in many different ways. That is the power in the promise.

Temptation will come. Sometimes it will seem to be more than you can take. God’s Word tells us that is a lie. Temptation is an opportunity to grow. The next time you are tempted remember that God has promised a way of escape for you. Look for it. Take the opportunity to allow the temptation to be a time of growth rather than failure. God is faithful. Let Him be in your life by fleeing temptation through His loving way of escape.