There are many roads temptation travels on to get into our lives. The world, the sinful flesh, and the devil work together in tempting people to sin. However, whenever we sin, no matter what avenue or form the temptation came to us in, as James 1:13-15 explains, sin is always the result of a person’s individual choice to turn from God and rebel.
Other people are usually involved in tempting us. 1 Corinthians 15:33 states, “Do not be misled: ‘Bad company corrupts good character.’” Proverbs 13:20 also explains, “Whoever walks with the wise becomes wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm.” People in rebellion towards God not only tempt others on their own, they can also be used by Satan to do his tempting. If a person is unsaved, they are still under immense influence from Satan, “We know that we are children of God, and that the whole world is under the control of the evil one” (1 John 5:19).
With these verses in mind, it is wise to protect oneself from negative influences when possible. Christians will still need to interact with the world in necessary secular environments, they are still called to witness to the lost which will require them to have relationships with the world, and therefore no Christian is called to solely interact with other Christians. But one must be careful that they are having a positive influence for Christ on unsaved people rather than allowing unsaved people to have a negative influence on them for Satan.
When a Christian does interact with unbelievers, they need not fear the sinful or Satanic presences which may be attached to certain individuals. 1 Peter 5:8-9 proclaims, “Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings.” James 4:7 adds, “Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” And 1 John 4:4 explains, “You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.” Likewise Colossians 2:15 states, “And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross.”
Therefore, God has given us all we need so that there is never an excuse for sin even when our flesh, the world, or Satan seek to tempt us through all the varied means available on this broken planet. 2 Peter 1:3-4 comforts us with clear proclamation that “His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature, having escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.”
Like Jesus in the wilderness being tempted by Satan, we must respond with what is “written” (Matthew 4:1-11), for the word of God is our weapon to fight back against Satan’s ploys (Ephesians 6:17). When we are rooted in the word, claiming its truth over our lives, submitting to God, we are resisting Satan, and when we resist Satan in the power of God, he must flee from us (James 4:7).
When we fall to temptation, we must identify what was used to tempt us so we can learn and grow, not falling the same way over and over again. But we must never deny our own responsibility involved in our rebellion because if we do we will never repent as we should, “If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:8-9).
Let us take comfort in the power of God over every temptation that may come our way, for “. . . when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it” (1 Corinthians 10:13).