When we look at other people’s lives, it’s usually pretty easy to see root of their problems. Your friend can’t commit even though she keeps meeting potentially great partners, and she just can’t figure out why. You know her dad left her when she was young, so it seems obvious to you that her commitment issue is probably a defense mechanism to protect herself from not getting abandoned again. Why can’t she see this?
In some respects, little sins are much more dangerous than big sins. By “little sins” and “big sins,” I certainly don’t mean some sins are less offensive in the eyes of God. All sin deserves death, and thus all sin will be paid for either by the sinner or through the cross of Christ.
My three year old son has an adversary. She’s redheaded, immature, easily excitable, really fun, slobbery, and super annoying when she wants to play. His adversary also happens to be our golden retriever, Lois.
In typical first born fashion, my son wants to be in charge, and Lois is an easy target. “Lois, get off my toys! Lois, stop hitting me with your tail! Lois, stop barking! Lois, stop breathing on me!” The funny thing is Lois doesn’t pay attention to him at all. She just keeps doing what she’s doing as though he isn’t shouting at the top of his lungs right in her unimpressed face.
It’s not that she doesn’t understand him; I think she finds pleasure in doing the opposite of what he says. When he yells “Move!” she stares past him, just wagging her tail like she’s enjoying herself at the beach. Or if he screams, “Stay!” she suddenly has the urge to slowly mosey somewhere else with that dull, blank, drooping jowls, older dog look . . . “Yeah, right kid.”
“I tell you, my friends, do not fear those who kill the body, and after that have nothing more that they can do. 5 But I will warn you whom to fear: fear him who, after he has killed, has authority to cast into hell. Yes, I tell you, fear him! 6 Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? And not one of them is forgotten before God. 7 Why, even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not; you are of more value than many sparrows. -Luke 12:4-7
When I was a boy and one of our friends hurt themselves, we had a trick to help them with the pain, “Hey, do you want me get the pain in your finger to go away?” And then we would punch them in the arm so that their arm would hurt more than their finger, thus making them forget the pain in their finger.
Humans naturally pay attention to whatever is causing, or has the ability to cause, the most pain. Jesus knows this, so he reminds us all that the one who can cause us the most pain is actually God himself.
Very truly I tell you, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds. Anyone who loves their life will lose it, while anyone who hates their life in this world will keep it for eternal life. Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be. My Father will honor the one who serves me.-John 12:24-26
32 So the soldiers came and broke the legs of the first, and of the other who had been crucified with him. 33 But when they came to Jesus and saw that he was already dead, they did not break his legs.-John 19:32-33
Beware of refusing to go to the funeral of your own independence. – Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest, December 9th
Satan is a liar (John 8:44), Satan is a deceiver (Revelation 12:9), and Satan is an accuser of Christians (Revelation 12:10). Satan is the Christian’s chief enemy, for we fight not against flesh and blood, but against Satan’s spiritual forces (Ephesians 6:12). And we are to resist him (James 4:7), but how? How do we fight against Satan?
With just a quick read of Scripture, there’s no doubt that God not only allows Satan to live, but God allows Satan to tempt us. But why does God allow Satan to tempt us? Or maybe an even better question is why did God allow Satan to tempt Jesus?
Why Does God Allow Satan to Tempt Us? For God’s Glory
It’s a good place to start by noting that any question that starts with “Why does God . . . ?” can always be answered “For his own glory and our good.” Everything God does ultimately is rooted in his sovereign plan of glorifying himself and loving people.
And he said, “Abba, Father, all things are possible for you. Remove this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will.”. . . 41 And he came the third time and said to them, “Are you still sleeping and taking your rest? It is enough; the hour has come. The Son of Man is betrayed into the hands of sinners. 42 Rise, let us be going; see, my betrayer is at hand.” – Mark 14:36-42
Jesus said in Mark 14:36, “Abba, Father, everything is possible for you.” We are to look for our deliverance from God and not worldly pleasures because God is the one who is in total control of everything.
One way God has sought to show us that he is still in control even though Satan is active in the scenes in our life is through his preordained use of the number three throughout the pages of Scripture. Mark 14:41 states that Jesus returned to the disciples sleeping a “third time.”
And he came and found them sleeping, and he said to Peter, “Simon, are you asleep? Could you not watch one hour? Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak…” Mark 14:37-42
Again, Jesus said to Peter in Mark 14:38, “Watch and pray that you might not enter into temptation.” That’s gold if you’ve ever been plagued with a reoccurring sin. If you’ve ever wondered how you are going to stop indulging in addictive sins over and over again, Jesus just told us, but so often we skip over this advice because it sounds so simple.
And they went to a place called Gethsemane. And he said to his disciples, “Sit here while I pray.” 33 And he took with him Peter and James and John, and began to be greatly distressed and troubled. 34 And he said to them, “My soul is very sorrowful, even to death. Remain here and watch.” 35 And going a little farther, he fell on the ground and prayed that, if it were possible, the hour might pass from him. 36 And he said, “Abba, Father, all things are possible for you. Remove this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will.” -Mark 14:32-26
The Bible’s warning on temptation is as clear as can be. It is not a matter of “if” we will be tempted; the Bible always talks about temptation in the context of “when you are tempted.” Therefore, like Jesus, we must prepare in advance through prayer before the moment of temptation is upon us.