Being a Christian certainly does not mean escaping temptation. Temptation is part of the Christian life in this fallen world. The enemy, the tempter ( Mt 4.3 ; 1 Thess 3.5 ), continues to oppose the Truth with his destructive lie. Here are some lies that we need to manage to unmask when the temptation approaches, often slyly.
1. “God didn’t really say…”
The first mention of temptation ( Ge 3.1 , 4-5 ) marks one of the devil’s tactics: doubt. Making us doubt the words of God is part of the strategy of the evil one. Without support from Scripture, our choices will be guided by listening to our search for pleasure in particular, our flesh in general. If we don’t listen to God, we can be sure that we are still listening to someone. Ourselves, the tempter, the world… To question the words of God is to recognize that he is not absolute master of our life.
In the same series, we sometimes doubt the promises of God. Forgetting that God is good and provides can cause us to worry. However, anxiety is neither more nor less than a lack of confidence in God. Worry is thinking that things are impossible for God. Or that I know better than God what is good for me now. Either way, it’s a lie and an offense to God.
When temptation comes, let’s hold on to the Word of God.
2. I want everything and now!
“I want it all, I want it all, I want it all, and I want it now” goes the famous Queen song. Consumerism is the most visible and perhaps the most common form of our idolatry. Tim Keller defines an idol as: “[…] anything that replaces the goods that only God can give. The “I want everything right now” lie lies to us by telling us that we need something so much that our life is worthless without it.
To want to fill a lack with an object is to forget that we will never be satisfied by what we possess and that what we possess will always end up possessing us. Only one thing is needed: God. Nothing and no one else can fill us.
When temptation comes, affirm that only God can satisfy us.
3. You can’t resist!
Oscar Wilde said the now famous words: “The best way to resist temptation is to give in to it. Besides being an incitement to sin, this phrase hides a fundamental truth of the Christian life: we are no longer under the dominion of sin ( Rom 6.14 , 18 ).
To believe that we cannot help but give in to temptation is to declare Christ’s work on the cross insufficient and to forget his resurrection, victory over sin. In Christ we have been set free from the bondage of sin. To resist temptation is to live the life of freedom to which Christ has called us.
When temptation comes, let us remember that we are no longer under the dominion of sin.