“… and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, having been held captive by him to do his will.” (2Ti 2:24-26)
I think most believers at one time or another have made a bad turn in life. This goes with our humanity. A believer can go astray by being drawn into a sinful situation. They are many ways to go astray.
Regardless of how a person goes astray, Paul speaks to it this way: “[that] they have come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, having been held captive by him to do his will.”
The term, ‘come to their senses’, in the Greek literally means, ‘to recover from drunkenness’, ‘to come to one’s self,’ or, ‘to come to a right mind.’
Coming to your right mind is set forth in what is known as, ‘the parable of the prodigal son.’ Here is a snippet of the story
This young man wandered away from the safety and love of his home. How many young people, including many Christians, have found themselves wandering about in life, in a similar tale as the prodigal.
And guess what it happening in all these wanderings – The pigs of the world are laughing their heads off.
Jesus warned believers about having relationship with pigs. Listen –
“Do not give what is holy to dogs, and do not throw your pearls before swine, or they will trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you to pieces.” (Mat 7:6)
The story of the prodigal brings into focus how temptations work in our life. For the prodigal, it had to do with money and fun. Do we have a warning about chasing after wealth? Listen –
“For the love of money is a root of all sorts of evil, and some by longing for it have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.” (1Ti 6:10)
Spiritual Warfare Begins in our Thought Life
An old saying goes like this – ‘If Satan can control your thought life, he can control all your life.’
This is what happened to the prodigal.
“Dad, you are just too strict. I want to enjoy life, like so many of my friends. Their parents don’t set so many rules for them. And church? That is not for me. I’m tired of listening to that old preacher. He just doesn’t want us to have any fun. So, I’m out of here.”
The Biblical term for temptation has a couple of meanings in the Bible, depending on how it is used. It can speak of a test. But it has a primary meaning of, ‘a solicitation to evil.’Solicitations to evil is Satan’s playground. When you are undergoing a temptation, this a sign that you are under attack. Satan is at work on your mind through whatever means is necessary. He wants you to continue to dwell on something that he is directing attention to. It will usually be something that stirs your desires.
Satan uses reasoning to try and disarm you.
Temptation is Satan’s Weapon of Allurement
Listen carefully to what James said about temptations –
“Let no one say when he is tempted, ‘I am being tempted by God’; for God cannot be tempted by evil, and He Himself does not tempt anyone.
“But each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own lust. Then when lust has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and when sin is accomplished, it brings forth death. Do not be deceived, my beloved brethren. “ (Jas 1:13-16)
Did you catch it? Don’t ever say that God is in a thing, when you are being tempted in a area that you know is Biblically wrong. There are no exceptions. God never tempts with evil. He would never lead a believer to do something that is contrary to his Word.
So, where is the temptation coming from. James said the believer is being ‘carried away and enticed by his own lusts.’ Satan is keying in on something that a believer is entertaining in his own mind.
The word ‘entice’ in Greek means to catch a fish by bait or to hunt with snares. The temptation means that a hunter is at work. The hunter will keep working the enticement until it gives place to the birthing of sin.
What happens if the believer is snared? The believer is now eating with the pigs, and wondering how he got there in the first place.
Keep in mind what James said, ‘[The believer is being] carried away.’
How, then, are we to deal with temptations. Here are some admonitions.
- “Keep watching and praying that you may not enter into temptation; the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.” (Mat 26:41) — Notice that temptation is something that is entered into. It has to be real or there would be no entering. Jesus was tempted by Satan, but always without sin. So, always keep in mind who is doing the tempting.
- “No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it.” (1Co 10:13) — There will always be a point of escape. Its up to you to take it.
- “… the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from temptation, and to keep the unrighteous under punishment for the day of judgment…” (2Pe 2:9) — If you have fallen under strong temptation, turn to the Lord. He knows exactly how to rescue you. He will make a way when there doesn’t seem to be a way. Jesus is the -Way-Maker’.
These are a few of the Biblical warnings and provisions with regard to temptations. Then we have this very special instruction from the apostle in how to avoid temptations in the beginning.
It comes under the banner of …
Learning to Take Every Thought Captive
Here are some of Paul’s basic instructions. Pay close attention –
“For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh, for the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses.
“We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ.” (2Co 10:3-5)
Did you catch it? Spiritual warfare is a thing of the mind.
But there is something I must add. The key to victory is two-fold, repentance and learning to look to Jesus in every instance.
In the New Testament, the original word for repentance means to change your mind. In the former testament, it means to change your direction. Put these together and you have a true walk of victory over temptations.
Just as an additive – The ancient people of God believed that repentance was a form of worship. It meant making many turns in life, and with each adjustment you make, the Lord accepts it as worship.
Think on these things. The Lord will give you a better understanding.
Here is a wonderful song that can minister to you heart and mind.
In Christ always,