How has your response been lately to Satan's temptations?

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Is it not telling that Satan is twice called in Scripture “the Tempter” (Matthew 4:3; 1 Thessalonians 3:5)? He is described in this way because he loves to tempt the lost sinner as well as the saved sinner. This has been his chief occupation since the Garden of Eden (Genesis 3:1-7). And when you meld our own wicked and deceitful hearts (Jeremiah 17:9) with the evil aims of the Tempter, our often unchecked and lustful hearts succumb to his wiles (James 1:13-15; Ephesians 6:11; 2 Corinthians 2:11). Therefore, let us be very clear, this Deceiver is both God’s arch enemy and our constant adversary.

However, his aim to destroy our souls is not always easily seen by God’s people (2 Corinthians 11:14). So, very wisely, the great puritan pastor Richard Sibbes said, “In all temptations let us consider not what he (Satan) offers, but what we shall lose. Because this foul fiend is out to destroy us, we must understand that we are in a raging conflict.” The apostle Paul clearly understood this fact, and so commanded us to “put on the whole armor of God that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places” (Ephesians 6:11-12).

Therefore, even though our victory is sure (John 19:30) and Satan is a defeated foe (Matthew 12:28-29; John 12:31-32; Colossians 2:15), he is nevertheless a prideful one, who is daily working and relentlessly roaming the Earth seeking whom he may devour (1 Peter 5:8).

Dear friends, if he tempted the Son of Man for forty days (Matthew 4:1), he will no doubt seek to daily “sift us like wheat” (Luke 22:31-32). But there is hope!  We have a Savior who understands our plight (Hebrews 2:18; 4:15) and provides a way of escape from the evil one’s temptations. And note well Paul’s words in 1 Corinthians 10:13, where it says, “No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and He will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation He will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.”

Beloved, let us then take courage in those blessed words, and may we always and immediately take the route of escape that God has provided for us! If we do, then we will be marked by repentance of our sins (1 John 1:9), and moved to vigilant resistance of the Devil’s overtures, which will come our way moment by moment (Ephesians 6:16; 1 Peter 5:9).

 

Finally, let us constantly remember to “Watch and pray that [we] may not enter into temptation. For the spirit is indeed willing, but the flesh is weak” (Matthew 26:41), while praying “…lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one” (Matthew 6:13).

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