LESSON TEXTS: 1Pet.1:6-7, 1Cor.10:13, James 1:2-15
MEMORY VERSE: “My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into divers temptations; knowing that the trying of your faith worketh patience” (James 1:2-3).
LESSON AIM: To help Christian believers understand the value of trials and temptations in growing in faith and endurance in our walk with God.
BASIC TRUTH: Christians are not to lose faith in God because of pressures inherent in their difficult seasons for it is a common experience of all men; and an inevitable process for all believers knowing that God will settle and establish us if we endure to the end.
Understanding temptations and trials have been a major concern to the Church education stake holders in various denominational settings. Its frequent occurrence in the Sunday school outlines and manuals points to the fact that its understanding is a key to living a healthy, faithful and purposeful Christian life.
God does not tempt any one, but He does test or try our faith to prove us (James 1:13).
However, God may allow Satan to tempt us, but in every temptation that the devil brings before us, he must take permission from God (Job 1:6-12). This is the reason the Bible describes him as the accuser of the brethren in Rev.12:10 because he accuses us before God to get permission to tempt us.
Satan tempted Jesus during His wilderness experience but Jesus defeated him with the power of the scriptures by constantly declaring that “it is written …” (Luke 4:1-11). Jesus is our model of faith and a perfect example for us, so we must learn to resist the devil with his temptation and he will flee (James 4:7).
More so, the scripture says that all things work together for good to them that love God and to them that are called according to his purpose (Rom.8:28). God has a purpose for all of us whether He allows the devil to tempt or He tries us; all is for His divine plan for us to come true.
- What are temptations
Over the years the word “temptation” has undergone a change in meaning. It once means testing and seducing to evil thus having a positive and negative implication.
Positively, temptation is a testing of our lives or trials permitted by God with the intent of producing spiritual growth.
Negatively, temptation is a seductive enticing of believer to live contrary to God’s will for his life.
- The origin of temptations
Temptations come from Satan because God never tempts any one (James 1:13). Temptation could come from other sinners enticing us (Prov.1:10).
However, temptation comes from these basic forms: 1. Lust of the flesh (physical desires) 2.Lust of the eyes (personal desires) 3.Pride of life (self interest) (1 John 2:15-17) when you begin to love the things of the world.
When Satan caused the fall of man at Eden, he appealed to these areas of weakness (Gen 3:6).
He also appealed to them when he tempted Christ (Matt 4:1-11), who defied Satan’s temptations by relying on the authority of the scriptures.
Application: Christians of our time should also depend on the scriptures to defeat temptations.
- Other ways Satan tempt us includes:
- Encouraging disobedience (Gen 3:1-7).
- Encouraging us to love things or people rather than God first (Mal.4:9)
- Enticing to sexual immorality (Gen.39:7-10).
- Encouraging grumbling, murmuring and gossiping (1Cor.10:10).
- Satan’s goal for tempting mankind.
- To steal, to kill and to destroy mankind (John 10:10a). This is the Satan’s three-fold mission against humanity (SKD). This three-fold mission of Satan is vividly captured in the analysis of Job 1:13-19.
- The purpose of trials and temptations.
In Job 1:12 and Job 2:6, we understand that God gave Satan within certain limits, permission to tempt Job, who was a righteous, blameless man.
However, in the end Job overcame the trials and temptations with the help of God and also become a more mature, fruitful servant of God in the process (Job 42:1-17).
The reasons God would allow Christians undergo trials and temptations includes:
- To expose our weakness so that we can discover where we need God’s strength and grace.
- To humble, teach and discipline us (Deut.8:2-3)
- To teach us to depend on his word –rhema (Deut.8:3b).
- To refine us (Isa.48:10, Ps.66:10).
- To assist us in the preparation of our lives to receive the good things that God desires to give us.
- Do not forget that God will not allow us to be tempted or tested beyond our breaking point (1Cor.10:13).
*How to deal with temptations (Matt.4:1-11, James 4:7, Eph.4:27).
*Asking for forgiveness when tempted and you sin (1 John 1:9, Prov.28:13, Ps.66:18).
*Results of temptation if we yield to it (James1:15).
*Results of temptation if we resist it (James1:2-3).