When Chad and I first married he was on the SWAT team, which handled a lot of drug bust in Marshall County; and I worked on a surgical team in Huntsville. Our friends always made the joke, his team kept us in business. We were adrenaline junkies to say the least. I guess that is why I loved working in the Operating Room. You never knew what was going to come through the other side of the door. It could be something tiny, or a full-blown trauma, you were always on your toes. When I look at our lives now, we are in another spectrum all together. Sometimes I long for an occasional adrenaline rush, or the excitement of the unknown. Chad also has days where he misses the adrenaline of breaking down a door, going on a stakeout, or a high-speed chase. (I know you are now thinking we are a little crazy, but somebody has to do it ;) My point is although sometimes we miss those days, God is not drawing us back to that lifestyle, which required a lot of sacrifice of time and safety. I am sure there are plenty of days that we all think to our self “Did I choose this career? I wish I would have………..” The danger is when we start dwelling on the things that are not meant for us. Although Chad and I do not have the big adrenaline rush everyday, we have wonderful jobs, and time to spend with our children. Not to mention the fact, we feel we are in the center of God’s will. Satan biggest goal is to try to get us to feel we are missing out on something. He tries to tempt us, or lure us into the thought “ the grass is greener on the other side”. My friends and I were talking about how Satan operates this way in marriages. Sometimes a person starts thinking maybe this person would make me happier, or maybe this person would understand me better. When people begin to dwell on these thoughts, they are lured in with deception, because most of the time the grass on the other side has its own set of problems.
Satan knows us well. He has spent a lot of time studying us. He knows our habits, especially our sinful ones. This knowledge puts him in a good position to tempt us. I want us to talk about three ways Satan tries to tempt us, and how we can withstand it. First, he appeals to our physical desires. Remember Genesis 3:1 He said to the woman, “Did God actually say, ‘You[a] shall not eat of any tree in the garden’?” 2 And the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden, 3 but God said, ‘You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree that is in the midst of the garden, neither shall you touch it, lest you die.’” 4 But the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die. 5 For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” Satan tries to get our wheels turning in the opposite direction of God. He tries to stir our hearts in a direction that will appease our fleshly appetite, rather than God’s will. By doing this we are taking our eyes off God, and placing them on our selves. Secondly, he attacks where we are most vulnerable. Totally different things tempt us all, and Satan knows where we are individually weak. Anyone can say they would never do something, but without God’s daily guidance, anyone can fall. Thirdly, Satan tries to reinterpret the Word of God to us, just as he did to Eve. When we start trying to tell our selves what God really meant, we are beginning to justify our actions. My dad always told us, “if you have to justify your actions, then it is probably the wrong action.” At this point Satan tempts us to try to find a loophole in scripture. A loophole can be defined as “A way of escaping a difficulty, especially an omission or ambiguity in the wording of a contract or law that provides a means of evading compliance.” Basically, we are looking for something to allow us to do what we want, without feeling guilty.
Although we would like to tell our self it is ok to sit on the fence, or indulge every once in while, the Bible is very clear. We are to follow and obey the Word of God completely, at all times. So if Satan wants us to believe things are always greener on the other side, how can we prevent being swayed? I read this from In Touch Ministries and thought it was a great summary. (http://www.intouch.org/you/sermon-outlines/content?topic=responding_to_temptation_wisely_sermon_outline)
III. How can we respond wisely to temptation?
A. Focus on the big picture. Consider how yielding to a particular desire will affect your health, finances, relationships, and God's plans for you. Also, look for a godly way to fulfill your longing. For instance, instead of stealing, work to earn the money to buy what you want.
B. Recall 1 Corinthians 10:13: "God is faithful [and] will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also." Claim this promise when temptation strikes.
C. Rely on the power of the Holy Spirit. As a born-again child of God, you have the awesome power of the Spirit to reset your thinking, change your attitude, and enable you to say no (John 14:15-16).
D. "Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth" (Col. 3:2). In other words, determine to live a victorious Christian life. Don't focus on desires that will draw you away from God (1 John 2:15-17).
E. Identify areas of weakness. When you and I know our limitations, we can be more sensitive to the guidance of the Holy Spirit in that area. For example, if you have a spending problem, avoid going to the mall "just to look."
F. Recognize times of weakness. Remember H.A.L.T.: don't allow yourself to become too hungry, angry, lonely, or tired. (I love this one)
G. Build a defense by reading God's Word. Study the Bible, and ask the Lord to build spiritual principles into your life as a protection against temptation. Don't reason with Satan; speak biblical truth, following Christ's example (Luke 4:1-12).
I thought this summed everything up nicely. In closing, Jeremiah 29:11 tells us, “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare[a] and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. God has an awesome plan for us if we will only stay the course with him, and allow him to be in control.
Or for a couple ladies at church “Jesus take the wheel” :) I couldn’t resist!!