And the LORD said, "I will cause all my goodness to pass in front of you, and I will proclaim my name, the LORD, in your presence. I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion.  Ex 33:19  

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Another of the conflicts within the Christian life is the battle with temptation. It’s comforting to realize that our Lord himself was “tempted in all things, as we are and yet without sin. (Heb. 4:15) It’s also reassuring that 1Cor. 10:13 assures us that God will not allow us to be tempted beyond our ability to withstand and yet many Christians have not experienced the truth of this scripture in their lives. Again, temptation is one of Satan’s tools designed to keep believers from experiencing the abundant life.

Satan first enters the picture as tempter in Genesis chapter 3. In verse 1 we find, “Now the serpent was more subtle than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. And he said unto the woman, ‘Yea, hath God said, ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?”

Notice: The tempter approached Eve. He speaks first. He causes her to feel that God is holding out on them. Paraphrased, Satan says, “You mean God won’t let you eat of every tree?” Satan sews the seeds of discontent.

Verse 2. “And the woman said to the serpent, we may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden…”

Now I’m not suggesting that Eve sinned to engage the tempter in conversation, but that was certainly the beginning of her progression into sin. I say ‘progression’ because we in fact program ourselves to sin. Whether we are tempted and act on that temptation immediately or only after great struggle and resistance, we set ourselves up for failure.


1. Our Thought Life – (a loss here degenerates into…)

2. Our Actions – (a loss here degenerates into…)

3. Our Habits – (a loss here degenerates into REPROBATION.)

In Mark 7:20-23 we find the basis for our suggestions. Proverbs 23:7 says, “As a man thinketh in his heart so he is.” If we’re going to have victory over sin we must attack the root of the problem - The Mind. The way you respond to a temptation or challenge is a photo-image of your thought life. If you hit your finger and shout an obscenity, it’s because you have already sanctioned that obscenity in your thought life even if you had no intention of saying it out loud.

ANOTHER OF SATAN’S LIES IS THAT BEING TEMPTED IS IN AND OF ITSELF SIN! Not so! Our Lord was tempted and was without sin! Being tempted is NOT sin; Yielding IS sin!

Let’s continue in Genesis and use Eve as our case study of temptation.

1. SHE ENTERTAINED THE THOUGHT… as do we. (verses 2-5) “so when the woman saw that the tree was good for food,”

2. SHE VISUALIZED THE TRANSGRESSION…(she saw herself eating the fruit) that it was pleasant to the eyes”

3. SHE COMMITTED THE ACTION IN THOUGHT! (She fantasized the result) Another way of saying this is that she enjoyed the benefit of the action in her mind. “and a tree desirable to make one wise”

4. SHE COMMITTED THE THOUGHT TO ACTION! “she took of its fruit and ate”

See the progression.

Now, consider another case study, Matthew 3:13ff gives an account of Jesus’ baptism but immediately after this experience came Jesus’ temptations. This happens in our lives too. Immediately following our close encounters with God, we experience our greatest challenges.

Chapter 4:1 begins the temptation accounts. Each time the tempter came Jesus resisted and rebuked rather than engaging him in conversation or debating him. That Jesus had a legitimate need for food is an understatement. He had fasted for 40 days but when Satan suggested that Jesus turn stones into bread Jesus resisted the initial suggestion and did so with scripture. Jesus did this each time. Jesus resisted the initial suggestion and used the truth of scripture to expose the lies of Satan.

What am I saying? We cannot entertain Satan’s suggestions, visualize the transgression and fantasize the results and still have victory over temptation. If we are to have victory over temptation we must follow the example of Jesus and resist at the outset.

There is no temptation, NO MATTER HOW GREAT, which you cannot defeat if you stop it in the thought stage. But if you flirt with the idea…

There is no temptation, NO MATTER HOW SMALL, which you will not yield to if you follow through and fantasize the results of that temptation!

Temptation comes in areas of our own susceptibility. Were we not susceptible, there would be no temptation. Temptation follows desire. Conception followed by incubation results in birth…, of sin in this case.

So overcoming Temptation is a matter of STOPPING AND RESISTING IN THE THOUGHT!