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Resist Temptation

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Resist Temptation

In the very beginning of the Bible, we are introduced to the primary adversary of it’s story. In the garden, this adversary took on the form of a serpent, but he was not given a name. In fact, throughout the Bible, the authors work hard to not give the satan a name. They did not want to give him that much respect. When we give someone a name, we give them dignity. Biblically speaking, naming a child is an act of love. In fact, naming someone is a spiritual act.
 
When the authors wrote about the satan, they used metaphors and descriptions of him. The most common description used is “the satan,” which means “adversary.” Eventually readers and translators grew uncomfortable with the cumbersome practice of talking about a character without a name and turned Scripture’s description of the satan into his name. The satan does not have a name. Every time the authors talk about the satan they use an article, like “the” before the descriptor. That is why they chose to call him “the satan” or “the devil.”
 
Another name translators give the adversary is “Lucifer,” but that word is simply the Latin name for Venus. Isaiah calls the satan “the morning star,” another description of Venus because Venus is the last star we see before daylight. It is the star that rebels against the sun. 
 
“Devil” is simply the Greek word for “slanderer,” and the translators turned “devil” into another name for the satan by choosing not to translate it from the original Greek. There are times when the translators choose to translate the Greek word, but they do this when it is referring to someone other than the satan. It’s the word Paul uses when he tells us not to gossip. In other words, we can be devils too.
 
The same is true with the word “satan.” We are all satans (adversaries) at times. Even God is a “satan” when He opposes evil. However, “the” satan is not only “a” satan. He’s “the satan,” the primary villain, the opposer of goodness, but the power of this primary opposer has been greatly diminished.
 
The good news is the satan has been bound. Unless God allows it, the satan can’t hurt you. If you are God’s child, the satan has no power over you. The only way he can hurt you is by convincing you to hurt yourself.
[Jesus] disarmed the spiritual rulers and authorities. He shamed them publicly by his victory over them on the cross.
 
Christ is on the throne of His kingdom, and we are the citizens of His kingdom. God’s got us. The apostle Peter did say that the enemy is on a mission to destroy us, but we are assured that the enemy will fail.
[The devil] prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour.
The satan wants to devour, but he can’t unless you help him. Although he can tempt you, the satan can’t physically do anything to you, and Peter is speaking from experience here.
 
When Peter tempted Jesus to not do what Jesus came to Earth to do, Jesus called Peter a Satan. Jesus told His disciples that He was going to die for them, and Peter tempted Jesus to not go through with it.
Jesus turned to Peter and said, “Get away from me, Satan! You are a dangerous trap to me.
When we sin, or when we tempt others to sin, we are a satan. Adam and Eve did it first, and we keep the tradition going. All pain is caused by sin. Some of our pain is caused by our sin, and some of it is caused by Adam’s sin. So, how can we decrease pain in the world? Resist sin. Resist the satan.
We are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.
We are constantly being tempted, and one of the most common temptations is to believe we should fight for wealth, fame, or power. These are temptations that the devil threw at Jesus in the wilderness, but Jesus resisted. In fact, this is a temptation that was thrown at Jesus many times, but He never got distracted by wealth or politics. Jesus fought real evil.
 
After Jesus was baptized by John, He chose to begin His public ministry by fighting the devil. The fight was going to happen eventually, and He chose to set the tone for the war.
Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. The tempter came to him and said, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.”
Many of us can relate to the satan’s use of food and drinks to tempt, but Jesus resisted. The satan went on to tempt Jesus with power and wealth, but Jesus resisted this temptation the same way He resisted every temptation, by quoting Scripture.
 
What could the satan do to Jesus in the wilderness? He tempted Jesus. That’s all he can do, but if he can tempt Jesus, he can tempt us. Before God made us, the satan couldn’t do anything but complain. Then people were created, and what did he have to do in the garden? He had to convince Eve to do the evil.
 
Genesis describes the satan as shrewd. The original Hebrew word for “shrewd” is “arum.” That same word is used through proverbs as a positive trait. It means clever or perceptive. In other words, he’s very smart.
The serpent was the shrewdest of all the wild animals the Lord God had made. One day he asked the woman, “Did God really say you must not eat the fruit from any of the trees in the garden?”

2 “Of course we may eat fruit from the trees in the garden,” the woman replied. 3 “It’s only the fruit from the tree in the middle of the garden that we are not allowed to eat. God said, ‘You must not eat it or even touch it; if you do, you will die.’”

4 “You won’t die!” the serpent replied to the woman. 5 “God knows that your eyes will be opened as soon as you eat it, and you will be like God, knowing both good and evil.” 6 The woman was convinced.
It is obvious to me that the satan knew exactly what to tempt Eve with because, from an outsider’s perspective, Eve should have easily seen through the snake’s lies. It appears that Eve wanted to eat the apple. She was curious.
 
We should fight the satan like Jesus, not like Adam and Eve, but if we’re honest, most of us are more like Adam and Eve than we are like Jesus. There’s a lot of enticing temptation in this world. To get us to sin, the satan usually just has to mention the things we want. We think that if he tempts us, we can blame him, “the devil made me do it.”
 
We elevate the satan and give him the dignity of a name because we want to be able to blame him. We want to believe that he can control us so that we can blame him when we sin, but the good news is better than we give it credit for.
Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. 8 Come close to God, and God will come close to you. 8 Wash your hands, you sinners. Purify your hearts, for your loyalty is divided between God and the world.
What does this passage teach us to do to resist the satan?
 
  1. Run to God.
 
You know what tempts you. Run from it and to God. Submit to God and His instructions, and good things will happen. Fill your life with God, with His Church. We think of “come close to God” as an emotional thing, but it’s very practical. Do what’s right. Have a pure heart. Follow Him, and he will come close to you.
 
  1. Humble yourself before God.
 
If we want to live the blessed life He calls us to, we must take sin seriously. Sin is incredibly harmful. It’s sin because it hurts people. It’s sin because it’s bad for us. God loves us too much to condone harmful actions. I regularly tell my sons, “I love you too much to let you disobey.”
 
We can’t change the world if we live like the world. We have been recruited by God to a Christian mission, not a Sunday morning religion. We are called to change the world, to be counter cultural, but we can’t do that if we just do what comes naturally.
 
  1. Trust God’s Word.
 
Like Jesus did, we have God’s Word to fend off the attacks of the satan. How much of God’s word do you know? How much do you intimately know?
I have hidden your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you.
It’s not a list of dos and don’ts. It’s a love letter from a father to his kids, and that letter gives wisdom because the author cares for His children. Resist the devil. Run to God and trust His Word.
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