Should I Not Have Done That?
Recently, I was enjoying a meal with a gentleman that has a marvelous sense of humor and delights in using it to make others laugh. He has lots of quips and a great wit. When it came time for dessert and the waiter listed off the options, the man repeated a phrase that I had not heard in a while, and it made me laugh at the time when he said, “I can resist anything but temptation.” After we separated to go back to our respective offices, I thought about that statement a lot. It is really the biography of every man and woman that ever lived except Jesus.
Mankind has a very poor record when it comes to dealing with Satan’s ploys and schemes to trip us up and cause us to disobey God. One would think that because of the sheer number of temptations that we face week-to-week, we would eventually become proficient in recognizing an evil thought, motive, or desire to do wrong as coming from Satan and immediately resist. However, because we are so consistently successful in being disobedient, the path leading away from righteousness is worn smooth, and we slip very readily into sin.
The frustration comes when we realize that our walk with God is measured in decades of time. Yet, given the right situation or temptation, we can trip as readily as a child that has little battle experience in dealing with that Old Serpent. Perhaps, one of the reasons that we find it so easy to sin is that we don’t recognize how deceptive Satan is. He offers a temptation that matches our “wants” and desires. But, we forget that temptation is “Satan’s snare to get us to fulfill a God given desire in a God forbidden way”. And, once we have yielded to our desires “one more time”, we feel so foolish and so guilty. Only God can help us to be strong to overcome and grant us mercy to forgive our many frailties!
We often can see the evidence of evil in this world. How different the Biblical view of “evil” is from popular ideas about evil. In secular thought, there is a comical view of evil — the character who wears a red suit and carries a pitch fork. Then there is the Hollywood view of evil as we see in the Star Wars movies: Darth Vader or Darth Maul. You can picture these figures dressed in black with haunting faces and piercing eyes. But is that a realistic picture of evil?
It is not. Evil is more likely to be found in comedians, actors, singers, politicians, or even pastors. St. Paul said, “Even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light” (2 Corinthians 11.14). Evil is found wherever we are led away from God.
Paul also speaks about the “schemes of the devil.” The Greek word is “methodia” or the “methods” of the devil. What are these? Probably the most important is that of deception. The word “devil” means “deceiver.” He is so adept at deceiving that he is not at all afraid to use the Bible. In fact that is one of his favorite schemes. In the Garden of Eden he tempted Adam and Eve beginning with God’s Word and causing them to doubt it and finally to disobey it. In the wilderness he tempted Jesus by quoting Scripture. Evil can appear as positive, enjoyable, and good which is why we are tempted. But beware! Yielding to temptation is sin and sin “when it is finished brings forth death”. (James 1:15). (Copied).