I am preparing to teach lesson 5 from the Bible study “How to make choices you won’t regret” produced by Precept Ministries International. In order to catch us up to speed on the manual, I would like to give a quick review/overview of the previous 4 lessons.
- The bad choices that King David made.
- The consequences that those bad choices caused.
- How David repented when he was confronted because of his sin.
- The good choices that King Josiah made.
For the better part of King David’s life, he made great choices. He made a few mistakes but repented of them when he was confronted. He turned away from his sin and allowed God to work in his life. He was called “a man after My own heart” by God, Himself. If a man like David could fall in the face of temptation and sin then we need to realize that any of us may fall at any time. We need to be ready to recognize the attacks of the enemy and defeat him. Sometimes the enemy is the evil one, Satan while others times (most of the time) we are the enemy because of our sin nature. The question is, “what do I do when I am tempted?”. That is what we want to find out.
I. Recognize the enemy’s tactics.
1 Now the serpent was more crafty than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said to the woman, “Indeed , has God said, ‘You shall not eat from any tree of the garden ‘?” 2 The woman said to the serpent, “From the fruit of the trees of the garden we may eat ; 3 but from the fruit of the tree which is in the middle of the garden, God has said, ‘You shall not eat from it or touch it, or you will die.’ ” 4 The serpent said to the woman, “You surely will not die ! 5 “For God knows that in the day you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” 6 When the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was desirable to make one wise, she took from its fruit and ate ; and she gave also to her husband with her, and he ate.
- The enemy likes to attack in a moment of weakness. The woman’s husband was near by because once she took the fruit, she gave it to him, yet at this moment she seems to be alone. You know how it is, you get alone and your mind starts wandering. You start thinking negatively or about things that you know that you should not. Once this happens then enemy pounces and shoots other thoughts in your mind. He will play on those negative thoughts or those immoral thoughts and then your mind takes it from there.
- The enemy wants you to question God’s Word, that is, “did God really say that and does He really mean it?”. He does not immediately claim that God’s Word is not true and He does not immediately contradict the Word of God. Instead, he asks, “how well do you know God’s Word?”
- The enemy is ready to pounce on your mistakes. The woman added to God’s Word. Once she did that the battle was lost. The enemy knew that he could manipulate her because of her uncertainty.
- Once the enemy has cast doubt in your mind, he openly attacks God and His Word. I know God says this but . . . , that is when the fall begins. I know God says that sex outside of marriage is wrong but . . . I know that God calls homosexuality a sin but . . . I know that abortion is murder but . . . I know that God says lying is wrong but . . . etc.
- The enemy suckers you into believing that you can be your own god. How many of the modern day religions speak of the god within you? That is not New Age stuff. It has been around since the fall of man close to 6,000 years ago. Even people who claim not to believe in faith still want to be the god of their own life. They play right into the hands of the evil one even if they do not believe in him. I do not need anyone telling me what to do. I make my own decisions (even though you are ruining your life because of those decisions). Does any of this sound familiar.
- The enemy wants you to convince others to follow you in your errors. The woman immediately took the fruit and gave it to her husband. The virus of sin had completely entered into the blood stream of humanity. Now, consequently, all people who are born after Adam and Eve are born with the idea of being their own god and running their own lives apart from God’s help.
II. Follow the Savior’s plan and example for victory.
Christ was tempted in every way just as we are tempted moment by moment, day by day. He was victorious and leaves an example for us to follow to victory.
1 Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led around by the Spirit in the wilderness 2 for forty days, being tempted by the devil. And He ate nothing during those days, and when they had ended, He became hungry. 3 And the devil said to Him, “If You are the Son of God, tell this stone to become bread.” 4 And Jesus answered him, “It is written, ‘MAN SHALL NOT LIVE ON BREAD ALONE.’ ” 5 And he led Him up and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time. 6 And the devil said to Him, “I will give You all this domain and its glory ; for it has been handed over to me, and I give it to whomever I wish. 7 “Therefore if You worship before me, it shall all be Yours.” 8 Jesus answered him, “It is written, ‘YOU SHALL WORSHIP THE LORD YOUR GOD AND SERVE HIM ONLY.’ ” 9 And he led Him to Jerusalem and had Him stand on the pinnacle of the temple, and said to Him, “If You are the Son of God, throw Yourself down from here ; 10 for it is written, ‘HE WILL COMMAND HIS ANGELS CONCERNING YOU TO GUARD YOU,’ 11 and, ‘ON their HANDS THEY WILL BEAR YOU SO THAT YOU WILL NOT STRIKE YOUR FOOT AGAINST A STONE.’ ” 12 And Jesus answered and said to him, “It is said, ‘YOU SHALL NOT PUT THE LORD YOUR GOD TO THE TEST.’ ” 13 When the devil had finished every temptation, he left Him until an opportune time.
- God knows when you are tempted and has given you all that you need for victory, in His Word. Jesus was weak from fasting and the enemy attacked His weakness. Jesus was alone, very similar to the woman’s situation. He was in need of food, maybe like the woman was, and the enemy attacked. Jesus’ counterattack was the Word of God. He was sure of His response, unlike the woman in the Garden.
- The enemy wants you to worship him instead of worshiping God. Similar to the woman’s situation, when you worship yourself, you end up worshiping the evil one. So in both cases, the evil one wanted God’s followers to worship him instead of God. Jesus countered Satan’s move, once again, with the Word of God.
- The enemy can attack using a distorted form of the Word of God. Be ready. Do not just have a superficial knowledge of the Bible, a few memorized verses out of context. The Bible has to be real to you. You must know It intimately. When the enemy tried to distort God’s Word, Jesus corrected him with an accurate understanding.
III. In order to be victorious, you must know and live by God’s Word.
16 All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness ; 17 so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work. (II Timothy 3)
If we are good students of the Word of God then the following things will happen to us. We will be:
- Shown where you are wrong
- Helped to get back right
- Trained in pleasing God
- Able to serve God and others
The Bible is our user’s manual and It equips us for the job. We all want to be competent workers and God has made it possible. We (especially men) just need to follow the directions given to us by the manufacturer of the product. If we will use the Scriptures as our guide, instead of our own wisdom and experience then we will be taught how to do it, shown where we are wrong and need to be corrected, then we will be corrected and set on the right path, then we will be trained to stay on that path and of course, we will have good results.
Are you winning the battle against sin? If not then why not? Maybe it is because you have not entered into the New Covenant and been born again. Until this happens, you will constantly be defeated. Ask God to help you as you dedicate your life to following Him moment by moment, day by day. May the Lord help us serve Him and be victorious in our battle against sin from without and especially from within.