So Why Does Temptation (and Satan) Seemingly Win So Much?
This is an honest question most people refuse to ask. There seems to be more people falling to temptation than choose to abstain from it and resist the devil. Yes, there are many who refuse to follow Christ and His plan for their life, but even in Christianity we see people suffering from the attacks of the devil and coming up short. Tempers flare up inside Christian homes just as they do in the homes of alcoholics and drug abusers. Pornography is viewed on the computers of saints just as it is on the computers of sinners. Affairs, substance abuse, depression, fear, homosexuality and many other forms of sins and products of temptations occur in the lives of followers of Christ and the narrow road just as they occur in the lives of the followers of the broad way to destruction. It's understandable that a person outside of relationship with God would falter, but why does temptation find ways to survive and even thrive in the hearts, minds and lives of those who have chosen to pursue Christ?
Reading our previous lessons and discovering what temptation exists in your life and where it attacks is a good start, but we will take it further today and examine why temptation is so effective.
Since Before Man, Temptation Is
Temptation has been around since before man existed and it has been used successfully on beings that are technically superior to humans (Revelation 12:9). Satan convinced 1/3 of God's angels,-beings that explicitly know God exists, have seen him and were with Him daily-to follow him. Satan is an effective enemy who has been honing his skills since before time began. Throughout the Bible, we watch as followers of God in the Old and New Covenant falter because Satan got the best of them.
Hall of Fame's Shame
All of these men had a major thing in common. They let their spiritual guard down. Temptation came their way, like it had several times before, but these times they were not prepared for it. Abraham and Sarah were just tired of waiting. Moses was just having a bad day. David got comfortable in his success. Elijah couldn't see past his trials to see the successes God had done. Peter reacted in a moment based on his emotions rather than the leading of the Spirit. We can all relate to these probably, and there are probably even more examples. Each of them was a result of a lack of diligence in their spirit, and it tells a great lesson.
We cannot afford to lose vigilance, even when life gets difficult and the attacks of the enemy seem to ramp up. We can't lean on our own understanding when we are unsure. We can't rely on our own temperament instead of the peace of God to lead us in how react to others. We can't let our past successes lead us to a place of complacency. We can't lay down and quit just because we feel persecuted or like our spiritual pursuits are fruitless. We can't let our emotions rule our decisions when we feel God is making a decision we disagree with. To abandon the path God has laid out, even partially and for just a moment, leads us to be open to the attacks of temptation.
We must remember what God promised us and lean on that instead of our own rational thinking. We must ask for peace instead of give into rage and frustration when things and others don't go our way. We must remember our purpose in God and stay committed to the cause even when we are experiencing a windfall of success. We must stand vigilant in the face of trials and tribulations and not quit when the going gets tough. We must trust God's choices instead of reacting emotionally to uncertain situations. If we do, having to ask why we fell to temptation will be a question we ask less and less.
Have A Greater Why
All of these people have another things in common, too. They picked themselves back up and followed God further.
All of these men repented before God and came back into the fold. They had a greater why that drove them: Why they served and followed God. Because they experienced His love and grace. There is nothing greater than that. Temptation and our failure to overcome it at times doesn't disqualify us from serving God. It's what we do when we fall that determines our future in God's Kingdom. Will we have an understanding of why we follow God that is greater than why we fall to temptation? If we do, it won't matter if we fall or how many times we falter. We'll get back up and continue the journey.
Let us know your thoughts in the comments or on our Facebook Page. What's your why when facing temptation. Is your why for God greater?
Chris Farris is the author of The Way, a manual detailing how to implement the Beatitudes into your life. He review events and other media and offers other insights into writing and working for the Kingdom of God.