The Wisdom to Avoid Sexual Temptation

Temptation

Sexual sin is a major problem in our society. It is not just a problem for those outside the church. Both those in and out of the church deal with lust, pornography, and sexual temptation. So how do we combat sexual sin?

We need wisdom. Wisdom found in God’s Word. Proverbs promises us we “will be delivered from the forbidden woman, from the adulteress” when we have wisdom (Prov. 2:16). Wisdom delivers us because it allows us to see the temptress as God sees them; it allows us to see their tactics, true character, and end result.

The Tactics of the Temptress

Sin is appealing, especially sexual sin. The strange woman knows that so she uses her outward beauty, charm, and sensual pleasures to attract us. She flatters us. Promises fun and excitement.

The True Character of the Temptress

Wisdom allows us to put on spiritual spectacles and observe the true character of our temptress. When we do, we see their character doesn’t match their alluring outward beauty.

Proverbs 2:17 reveals that the adulteress woman is not faithful. She is not faithful to men, nor to God. She is a quitter. Someone who jumps from one person to the next. So we shouldn’t be shocked when she leaves us. Especially, if she was willing to break up our relationship.

I am not just picking on woman. Woman too need to be careful. If a man was willing to leave his wife for them, they shouldn’t be shocked when years later he leaves them for another woman. Those who aren’t faithful will not stay.

Our faithfulness starts with our relationship with God. Those who forget God to seek their own pleasures shouldn’t be allowed to capture our heart. If someone refuses to follow God, they are not candidates for lasting relationships.

The End Result of the Temptress

Your sex life may start out in the clouds, but it will end in the grave. We are told,

Her house sinks down to death, and her paths to the departed; none who go to her come back, nor do they regain the paths of life” (Prov. 2:18-19)

Those who take the bait will die. You can’t wander off the path thinking you can come back anytime you like. Once caught in the trap everything is ruined. Your family, your relationships, your career, your reputation all ruined by the temptress.

Not to mention those who continue to follow her, who live in unrepentant sin, will be judged by God and will not gain eternal life. Sexual sin is serious. Hebrews 13:4 says,

Let marriage be held in honor among all, and let the marriage bed be undefiled, for God will judge the sexually immoral and adulterous.

Conclusion

When we struggle with lust, we shouldn’t just pray for deliverance, we should also remember who the temptress is. When we see the temptress as she really is, she shouldn’t be a threat to us. Instead, we should be repulsed when we remember her true character and the consequences of her seduction.

Question for Reflection

  1. How do you avoid sexual temptation?

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How Does Jesus’ Temptation Apply to Us?

Cross in Desert

Matthew 3 presents John the Baptist as the forerunner of Jesus, preparing the way for His ministry. Part of this preparation involved John baptizing Jesus. At His baptism, Jesus receives the Holy Spirit to empower and lead Him. The first thing the Holy Spirit leads Jesus to do is to go into the wilderness to be tempted by Satan.

Why did the Holy Spirit lead Jesus to be tempted by Satan?

There are many reasons Jesus is led into the wilderness to be tempted, but Hebrews 4:14-16 tells us Jesus was tempted so He could sympathize with our weaknesses.

Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

Isn’t it comforting to know that our Savior knows what we are going through when we are being tempted? He knows exactly what we are experiencing, what we are going through, because He too was tempted.

So the next time you are facing temptation, know your Lord and Savior understands what you are going through. Since He understands, we can come to Him in our time of need. We don’t need to be ashamed. Instead we need to reach out to Him, asking Him to help us face our temptation.

Question for Reflection

  1. Do you feel you can draw near to Jesus when you are tempted, or do you feel ashamed and push Him away?

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The Wilderness Temptation

Have you ever thought about the purpose for the temptation of Jesus in the wilderness? Have you ever wondered why immediately after He is baptized He is driven into the wilderness for 40 days by the Spirit to be tempted by the devil? The temptations themselves seem odd and random, what holds them together?

Matthew, Mark, and Luke all present us with the temptation of Jesus. Matthew and Luke provides us with the details of the temptation, while Mark gives us a short summary telling us Jesus was tempted in the wilderness. Since Matthew and Luke both provide us with a more detailed account of Jesus’ temptation, we will focus in on those texts; specifically, we will look at Matthew’s account.

Parallel with Israel and More

Besides the obvious parallel with Israel, who was in the wilderness 40 days and failed and Jesus was in the wilderness for 40 days and succeeded, showing He is the new Israel – the chosen and anointed one, what else can we learn from this event? In looking at the temptations Jesus faces, we see that they all are self serving temptations that would take glory away from the Father. Let’s look specifically at each temptation to see Jesus’ response and what we can learn from it.

Stones Into Bread

Jesus had been in the wilderness for forty days fasting, He would have been extremely hungry. Satan comes to Him and tempts Him to turn some stones into bread (Matt. 4:2-3). But in doing so, Jesus would have rejected God as the sustaining power of life. Look at what He says in response to Satan: “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God” (Matt. 4:4). Jesus was sustained by His relationship with the Lord, He did not need to create something else in order to serve Himself, He knew the Lord would provide and would sustain Him.

The Pinnacle of the Temple

After Jesus refuses to turn the stones into bread, He is taken up to the pinnacle of the temple and is tempted to jump off, so that God will rescue Him (Matt.4:5-6). Jesus was sent to do the will of the Father, which was to go to the cross to die for the sins of mankind, so that man’s relationship with God could be restored, if man believes in Christ as their Savior. To jump off of the pinnacle of the temple, in order for God to have to save Him, would be putting the Lord to the test (Matt. 4:7). More pointedly, He would not be seeking to glorify the Father; rather, He would be serving Himself by seeking to show how important He really is to the plan of salvation.

The Kingdoms of the World

In the last temptation, Satan takes Jesus to the top of a high mountain and shows Him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. He then tells Him He can have all these kingdoms if He will worship him (Satan). To which Jesus says, “Be gone, Satan! For it is written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God and Him only shall you serve'” (Matt. 4:10). Here Jesus tells us who He is working to glorify and serve, namely, the Father.

Author’s Strategy

Jesus is not concerned with exalting Himself, He is concerned with glorifying the Father in Heaven and serving Him alone. He does not need to exalt and glorify Himself because He is perfectly content in His relationship with the Father and the Spirit. A relationship where mutual love and service has existed before the foundations of the earth. Matthew, Mark, and Luke seek to highlight this fact with their narratives. They want their readers to see that Jesus did not come to serve Himself, but to serve the Lord. In addition, in serving the Lord, He is perfectly content and joyful. He does not need to elevate Himself to a place of glory in order to find joy and happiness because He finds joy and happiness in His relationship with the Lord.

Application

We too can experience this type of love and joy. The gospel tells us that we are more of a sinner than we ever dare thought, but at the same time it tells us that we are more accepted than we ever could imagine. By finding our acceptance in God and not in the world through self-glory or power, we will be more content and happy than we ever thought we could because we are more loved by God in Christ than we ever thought possible. Whereas the world seeks first and foremost to use others for their own benefit, the gospel places service to others at its pinnacle by showing us that Jesus was perfectly content with serving the Lord and seeking His (the Father’s) glory over His own because He loved the Father unconditionally, and He understood the joy associated with His relationship with the Father, as well as the love and service the Father reciprocated to Him.

We too can experience the same lasting eternal joy and love Jesus experiences. All we need to do is believe that Jesus is our Lord and Savior, that our sin separates us from God and without Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross for our sins, we could not have a relationship with the Father. If you would like to learn more about the gospel message, you can read an earlier post I wrote by clicking here.

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