Eve: Winning the War with Temptation
- Mary Southerland Journey Ministry, Inc
- 2022 10 Jun
Eve was one of God's most astounding creations. She was unique and the last creative act of God. Eve was created pure and holy to serve with and minister to Adam. The Garden of Eden, a perfect and beautiful place, was the home of Adam and Eve. Everything they needed or wanted was there. Adam and Eve had specific tasks to accomplish because God always meant for men to work. However, Adam and Eve loved their work and did it with ease. They enjoyed perfect intimacy with one another and with God. It was an intimacy that was unhindered by sin of any kind.
Then temptation came, and everything changed. Temptation did not cause the fall of humanity. Eve's choice to give in to temptation caused the fall of humanity. She chose to disobey God blatantly and, in doing so, became a tool of Satan. I wonder. Would we have made the same choice Eve made when faced with temptation? Hmm, knowing myself as I do, I think so. But there is a way to overcome temptation. God will give us every weapon we need to do so.
1 Corinthians 10:13 "But remember that the temptations that come into your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will keep the temptation from becoming so strong that you can't stand up against it. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you will not give in to it."
There are five actions we must take to win the war with temptation.
Action One: We must understand what temptation is.
James 1:13 "When tempted, no one should say, 'God is tempting me.' For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone."
Genesis records God's first words to man. They are words of life, order, and truth. Then Satan spoke. Not only were his words filled with death, chaos, and untruth, but they called forth the very worst in Eve. And temptation became a reality. "Temptation" means "seduction, lure or bait, and trap." We often think of temptation as a test from God. It isn't. Temptation is a trap constructed by Satan for our downfall.
Matthew 6:13 "And don't let us yield to temptation but deliver us from the evil one."
To fully understand temptation, there are several truths we need to know.
Temptation is certain.
Matthew 18:7 "Temptation to do wrong is inevitable."
Matthew assures us that everyone will be tempted. Jesus certainly was.
Hebrews 4:15 "For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one (Jesus) who has been tempted in every way, just as we are --yet without sin."
Wow! Think about this verse for a moment. We can take enormous comfort in the fact that Jesus knows how we feel when we are tempted.
Temptation wears a disguise.
Genesis 3:1 "Now the snake was the most clever of all the wild animals the LORD God had made."
The tempter is Satan in the form of a snake. He came at a time and in a way that neither Adam nor Eve expected. Part of Adam and Eve's work was caring for and ruling over the animals. The serpent was part of their dominion - the perfect setup for Satan's temptation to succeed. Using deception and wearing a disguise was one of Satan's favorite tactics in the Garden and still is today.
2 Corinthians 11:14 "Even Satan can disguise himself as an angel of light."
You would think that Satan would come roaring into our circumstances, destruction in his hands. But unfortunately, he does just the opposite. Satan slithers into our thought life with taunting whispers of doubt and fear. Unfortunately, we often fail to recognize Satan until it's too late because he is shrewd.
Temptation is not sin.
Genesis 3:6 "The woman was convinced. The fruit looked so fresh and delicious, and it would make her so wise! So, she ate some of the fruit. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her. Then he ate it, too."
Eve opened the door for Satan when she began talking with him. She sinned when she questioned God's instructions and mentally bought the enemy's lies. That mental choice led to disobedience. Temptation is not sin. It is an invitation to sin. Whether or not you accept that invitation and go to the party is totally up to you.
A visitor at a fishing dock noticed an old fisherman and asked him an unusual question. "If I fell in this water, would I drown?" It was strange to ask how deep the water was at that spot. But the fisherman had a good answer. "Naw," he said. "Fallin' into the water doesn't drown anybody. But staying under the water sure does!" While temptation itself is not sinning, our response to temptation can be.
Temptation targets our weaknesses.
Genesis 2:25 "The man and his wife were both naked, and they felt no shame."
Adam and Eve were naked, representing that they were innocent, totally unfamiliar with sin. Can you imagine a life that is unfamiliar with sin? Neither Adam nor Eve knew where the traps or their weaknesses were. Can you imagine? Satan certainly had that information and targeted the weak areas in Eve's life. But, again, Eve was unaware that those areas even existed. Don't miss the critical truth illustrated by Eve's decision to entertain Satan. Temptation often reveals hidden weaknesses.
- Temptation is powerful.
- Temptation is inevitable.
- Temptation targets our weaknesses.
- Temptation wears a disguise.
- Temptation is not sin.
Action Two: We must be ready to face temptation.
1 Thessalonians 5:6 "So then, let us not be like others, who are asleep, but let us be alert and self-controlled."
Preparation is a vital step in any war and crucial in battling temptation. We cannot let our guard down. We must stay prepared to deflect the temptations Satan launches into our lives. Paul writes that we must be alert and self-controlled. "Alert" means to stay on guard and keep watch."
1 Peter 5:8 "Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour."
I love the way the New York Columnist Herb Caen describes the importance of preparation:
"Every morning in Africa a gazelle wakes up. It knows it must run faster than the fastest lion or it will be killed. Each morning a lion wakes up. It knows it must outrun the slowest gazelle or it will starve to death. It doesn't matter whether you are a lion or a gazelle; when the sun comes up you'd better be running."
The most powerful weapon in the war with temptation is the Bible. That's why Jesus won the battle with temptation when he went into the wilderness. Jesus rejected every temptation of Satan with Scripture.
Psalm 119:11 "I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you."
Sin will keep us from God's Word, or God's Word will keep us from evil. We are easy prey if we are not reading and studying the Bible.
A group of five-year-olds visited a fire station where firefighters gave them a tour and then stopped to tell them what to do in case of a fire. "The first thing you do is go to the door. Lightly touch it to see if it's hot. If it is hot, drop to your knees. Can anyone tell me why you would drop to your knees? A little girl spoke up in the back of the room and said, "Yes. We need to start praying, asking God to get us out of this mess!"
Prayer is another powerful weapon in the battle with temptation. And Satan knows it! He will do anything to keep us from praying. Satan is not afraid of powerless Bible studies or worship services. But when a child of God prays, he trembles.
Action Three: We must learn the lesson temptation teaches us.
Jeremiah 35:13 "This is what the LORD All-Powerful, the God of Israel, says: Jeremiah, go and tell the men of Judah and the people of Jerusalem: 'You should learn a lesson and obey my message,' says the LORD."
Entertaining temptation will undoubtedly lead to sin and painful consequences. We must learn to accept those painful consequences. Consequences teach us lessons we can learn no other way. God loves us and wants us to learn from our mistakes.
Numbers 32:23 "But if you don't do as you have said, then you will have sinned against the Lord, and you may be sure that your sin will catch up with you."
Everyone in the Garden had consequences. Eve was thrown out of the Garden and would suffer pain in childbirth. Adam was also thrown out of the Garden, and that easy work he once enjoyed became hard labor. Finally, the serpent would be hated by all men and will face his ultimate judgment and death. What will you do with your pain? Look back over the circumstances that led you to temptation and then sin. Destroy the paths that led you there. Eliminate bad habits and even destructive relationships that encourage you to sin. Basically, if it tempts you to sin, RUN in the opposite direction! Learn from temptation.
Action Four: We must revel in God's forgiveness.
Jeremiah 33:8 "I will cleanse away their sins against me, and I will forgive all their sins of rebellion."
While God's anger is real, his grace is far greater. It's important to note that God came looking for Adam and Eve. Did he know where they were? Yes! But he came in person, offering them the chance to repent. Still today, God looks for his children.
Romans 5:8 "But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners."
Eve may have been the first sinner, but she was also the first person to experience God's forgiveness.
Action Five: We must accept restoration.
God is a God of Genesis and re-genesis, a God of new beginnings, fresh starts, and restoration.
An exhausted Dad came home from work, hoping for a relaxing evening at home. The man grabbed his paper and headed for his favorite chair. He was beginning to read when his five-year-old son jumped in his lap with an entirely different plan for the evening. He wanted to play. The dad loved his son but desperately needed some quiet time. Then, he suddenly had an idea. The paper's front page had an article with a massive picture of the Earth. The dad grabbed some scissors and cut the image into different shapes and sizes. Smiling, he handed the pieces to his son. "When you complete the puzzle, bring it back to me. Then we can play." The little boy loved puzzles! Grabbing the pieces of paper, he ran off to his room. The father settled in his chair and smiled at his great solution - a solution that lasted five whole minutes. Finally, the little boy came walking in with the completed puzzle.
"How did you do that, son?" he asked. The little boy smiled and said, "I noticed there was a picture of a man on the back of the pieces. So, I put him together, and the world just kind of fell into place."
Jeremiah 15:19 "The LORD replied, 'If you return to me, I will restore you so you can continue to serve me.'"
We are overcomers, winning the war with temptation when we:
- Understand temptation
- Prepare for temptation
- Learn from temptation
- Celebrate forgiveness
- Receive restoration
Photo Credit: ©iStock/Getty Images Plus/artcatlab
Mary Southerland is also the Co-founder of Girlfriends in God, a conference and devotion ministry for women. Mary’s books include, Hope in the Midst of Depression, Sandpaper People, Escaping the Stress Trap, Experiencing God’s Power in Your Ministry, 10-Day Trust Adventure, You Make Me So Angry, How to Study the Bible, Fit for Life, Joy for the Journey, and Life Is So Daily. Mary relishes her ministry as a wife, a mother to their two children, Jered and Danna, and Mimi to her six grandchildren – Jaydan, Lelia, Justus, Hudson, Mo, and Nori.
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