How We Are Tempted
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What, outside of the pulls of our flesh, is most responsible for tempting us to sin?
"But Peter said, 'Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit ...?'" (Acts 5:3).
"And these are the ones by the wayside where the word is sown. When they hear, Satan comes immediately and takes away the word that was sown in their hearts" (Mark 4:15).
"For some have already turned aside after Satan" (1 Timothy 5:15).
The Scriptures sometimes refer to Satan as the "tempter" (Matthew 4:3). He is a master at tempting us to yield to our weaknesses and selfish desires (Ephesians 2:1-3).
Paul cautioned Christians, having turned from Satan's influence, not to surrender again to it. He knew this was a real danger (2 Corinthians 11:3). He wrote, "For this reason, when I could no longer endure it, I sent to know your faith, lest by some means the tempter had tempted you, and our labor might be in vain" (1 Thessalonians 3:5).
What is one of Satan's primary ways of seducing people to sin?
"For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into apostles of Christ. And no wonder! For Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also transform themselves into ministers of righteousness, whose end will be according to their works" (2 Corinthians 11:13-15).
Few people understand the extent of Satan's influence over the world's religious institutions and practices. Satan has succeeded in providing people with every religious preference they could possibly imagine. Religious confusion is the result. Only by carefully reading and following the Scriptures (2 Timothy 3:13-17) can we extricate ourselves from the worldwide morass of religious confusion and deception.
Because of this widespread religious deception, it is essential that we pray for God's help to correctly understand His Word and repent of our transgressions. When we desire to change our lives, and from the heart to surrender our will to God, He has promised to hear us and respond. "Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks [from the heart and according to His will] receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened" (Matthew 7:7-8). "And whatever we ask we receive from Him, because we keep His commandments and do those things that are pleasing in His sight" (1 John 3:22).
God used the prophet Nathan to rebuke King David for committing adultery with Bathsheba after arranging for her husband to be killed in battle (2 Samuel 12:7-9). David humbly acknowledged his sins and repented before God in prayer. Be sure to read and meditate on David's heartfelt prayer of repentance as recorded in Psalm 51:1-10. God has preserved David's prayer of repentance as an example of the attitude we should have when asking Him for forgiveness.