Thursday, November 19

The desire, when it has become fertile, gives birth to sin.Jas. 1:15.

In an attempt to break our attachment to God, Satan targets the source of our desires—our heart. By what means does Satan make our heart his target? Satan’s weapons include “the things in the world.” Over thousands of years, the Devil has carefully crafted the environment surrounding us. Since we live in this world, we need to guard against his subtle tactics. Satan uses methods designed to corrupt the desires of the heart. The apostle John identifies three enticements that Satan employs: (1) “the desire of the flesh,” (2) “the desire of the eyes,” and (3) “the showy display of one’s means of life.” Satan used them to tempt Jesus in the wilderness. Having had years of practice using such traps, Satan today uses them effectively, adapting his approach to each person’s inclinations.

COMMENTARY

Satan tempts JesusSatan is called the Tempter. He specifically tempted Jesus to misuse his power to prove he was God’s son. In fact, the account says that the holy spirit led Jesus into the wilderness for the express purpose that he could be tempted by the Devil. 

Under the influence of the wicked god of this dark world, it is, as the Watchtower notes, intentionally designed to tempt us. And the Devil can especially craft the temptation to appeal to us personally. It would be naive to suppose otherwise. 

The best way to protect ourselves and foil the Tempter is to avoid putting ourselves in a situation where we might be tempted and not allowing ourselves to develop or nurture a desire for what we know is wrong.  For example, if you are on a diet would you deliberately go into a pastry shop just to look at all the tempting goodies?

Do not fertilize a wrong desire and it likely will not germinate into sin. That requires that we be vigilant and disciplined and if necessary, severely so. Pluck out the offending eye, chop off the offending hand, is what Jesus advised. Better to suffer feelings of deprivation now than to suffer loss of life in the judgment. 

While we cannot avoid temptation altogether we can appeal to God, who is faithful: “And do not bring us into temptation, but deliver us from the wicked one.”

Ultimately God will provide deliverance from the wicked one by bringing his world to a deserved end and locking up Satan and his demons for 1,000 years. What a relief that will be!

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