Monday, July 22, 2024

The Science of Temptation


by  Jack Hyles

“And David said unto God, I have sinned greatly, because I have done this thing: but now, I beseech thee, do away the iniquity of thy servant; for I have done very foolishly. And the LORD spake unto Gad, David’s seer, saying, Go and tell David, saying, Thus saith the LORD, I offer thee three things: choose thee one of them, that I may do it unto thee. So Gad came to David, and said unto him, Thus saith the LORD, Choose thee Either three years’ famine; or three months to be destroyed before thy foes, while that the sword of thine enemies overtaketh thee; or else three days the sword of the LORD, even the pestilence, in the land, and the angel of the LORD destroying throughout all the coasts of Israel. Now therefore advise thyself what word I shall bring again to him that sent me. And David said unto Gad, I am in a great strait: let me fall now into the hand of the LORD; for very great are his mercies: but let me not fall into the hand of man. So the LORD sent pestilence upon Israel: and there fell of Israel seventy thousand men.”
I Chronicles 21:8-14

David confessed that he had sinned. As punishment for his sin, he was given three choices. All three choices were going to have devastating results on his people. As a result of his punishment 70,000 men were killed. Notice what David said about that fact.

“And David said unto God, Is it not I that commanded the people to be numbered? even I it is that have sinned and done evil indeed; but as for these sheep, what have they done? let thine hand, I pray thee, O LORD my God, be on me, and on my father’s house; but not on thy people, that they should be plagued.”
I Chronicles 21:17

David was the one who sinned; yet 70,000 men were killed as a result of his sin. The Devil did not get just David. The Devil got those 70,000 men, as well as those whom those 70,000 men influenced. David did not determine just his own destiny as a result of his sin, but also that of tens of thousands of others.

Every Christian must deal with the matter of temptation, so we need to understand why it is important to not yield to our temptations. Why is it important to pray for God to deliver us from temptation?

This chapter is on the science of temptation. I am going to tell you why it is so important not to allow yourself to be overtaken by those things which tempt you.

“Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.”
Ephesians 6:10-17

Here we see the description of the armour of God, but only four parts of the body are covered by these pieces of the armour. If the Devil ever gets you, it will be through one of those four areas: the loins, the heart, the feet and the head.

1. Notice what portion of Scripture this follows.

Before God’s Word gives these four things, it talks about, the relationship between those in authority and those under their authority. The passage prior to Ephesians 6:10 talks about fathers and children, husbands and wives, and masters and servants.

2. God is talking about human relationships.

God is warning those in leadership not to allow the Devil to get to you, but also not to allow him to get through you to those under your leadership.

3. Satan is not primarily trying to get to you, but through you.

The Devil is interested in getting you and yours. We are not only shielding ourselves, but we are also shielding from the darts of sin others who follow us. It is more than just your own business what you do. It is also the business of all of those who follow you. Satan is not just after you; he is also after yours.

4. Satan has a bigger goal than you.

5. We are not only shielding ourselves, but we are keeping the darts from others.

When Satan approached Eve in the Garden of Eden, he was after more than just Eve. He was also after Adam. He knew that if he could get Eve, he could get Adam. The Devil knew if he got Eve, he would also get Cain, and then Abel. Every person who succumbs to sin is not just determining his own destiny, but he is also influencing the destiny of those who look to him.

The Devil got Adam through Eve.
The Devil got Cain through Adam.

6. Yielding to temptation is more far reaching than just me.

Cain built a city called Enoch, which became wicked and was judged by God. How did Satan get that city? He got Cain. How did he get Cain? He got Adam. How did he get Adam? He got Eve.

The Devil knew that Adam was not going to be deceived by him. He also knew that Eve had great influence over Adam, so he attacked Adam through Eve. I have seen this happen over and over again. Men who were not tempted to get away from God were influenced by their wives to get away. The Devil was after that man and could not get him, so he went after him through the woman. That is also how the Devil goes after our children.

After the Devil got Enoch, he got the entire world, and then God destroyed the entire world in the flood. How did the Devil get the world? He got the world by getting Eve. That is how the Devil always works.

Churches are destroyed this way. There is more at stake when we are tempted than just ourselves. Thousands of lives may be at stake.
Let me go further to prove this. When six people get into a car, their lives are being placed into the hands of one driver. If that driver is reckless and crashes into a tree or into another car, all six of them are in that wreck and may be killed. All are killed or injured by the actions of the one. That is exactly how the Devil works.

Our lives are like a spiritual car. There are others’ lives who are in our hands. It is more than just a matter of fulfilling our own selfish appetites. Others are placed in danger as well. The Devil understands that if he can wreck your life, others will have their lives wrecked as well.

7. Satan is not just after you, but yours.

To whatever degree God has given you authority, you are responsible for those under you.

If you do well, they will be blessed.
If you do evil, they will suffer.

“And Satan stood up against Israel, and provoked David to number Israel. And David said to Joab and to the rulers of the people, Go, number Israel from Beer-sheba even to Dan; and bring the number of them to me, that I may know it. And Joab answered, The LORD make his people an hundred times so many more as they be: but, my lord the king, are they not all my lord’s servants? why then doth my lord require this thing? why will he be a cause of trespass to Israel? Nevertheless the king’s word prevailed against Joab. Wherefore Joab departed, and went throughout all Israel, and came to Jerusalem.”
I Chronicles 21:1-4

David was tempted to number Israel. He was commanded not to do so, but the Devil tempted him. David’s sin was committed by only him, so why should he care? It was his choice to do with his life as he pleased. NO! David was choosing to sin, and that sin would have far-reaching influence on others. Joab even warned David of the fact that his sin was not just against himself, but also against the entirety of the nation of Israel.

No matter who you are, others who are under your authority are being influenced by that which you decide to do. Your choices are not going to determine just your future, but also the future of all of those over whom you have influence.

Men who decide to live in compromise and sin are risking the lives of their children. Women who are playing with sin are placing in risk the lives of their entire families.

When David chose to sin, he chose the funerals of his people. Imagine the pain of David as he witnessed families devastated by the loss of their husbands and fathers. David’s sin was devastating, not just to David, but to all of those who were placed under his leadership. David even pleaded the cause of his people when he saw the judgment of God upon them.

A leader is responsible for what happens to his followers. Every evil that falls upon them will be a part of the results of those choices to succumb to the temptations that please or satisfy the leader. Our children’s futures are being determined by those choices.
Many years ago when I was just a little boy something very important happened in my life. My drunkard daddy came home and made me choose which parent I loved most. That choice would determine whether I went to live with my daddy or my mother. I chose my mother, and chose not only my destiny, but the destiny of all of those whom I would influence. Every choice I made of whether or not to yield to temptation would determine the destiny of thousands.

The Devil knows that the same is true for all of us. He knows that when he gets us to yield to temptation, he is not getting just us, but all of those over whom we have influence.

When I was a teenage boy, my best friend was named Richard Newton. He was probably my closest boyhood friend. We did everything together. Both of us were very faithful to church. My mother and I would go to church every service, and his mother and father would go with him to every service.

It came time for us to graduate from high school. Our baccalaureate service was on Sunday afternoon. After the ceremonies were concluded, Richard asked me what I wanted to do. I told him that I wanted to go to church like we always did on Sunday night. He argued with me. He felt that we had the right to go out for some “fun” instead of going to church. Both of our dates thought that I was silly for wanting to go to church. They presented me with the choice of going to a movie or going to church.

For about fifteen minutes I struggled with the decision of what I was going to do. Finally, I decided that I was going to church. They took me to church, and they went to a movie. My mother was so proud of me for choosing to go to church. It seemed like a simple choice that had no implications, but it was very important. Now my friend, Richard, has spent his life making movies in Hollywood, and I have spent my life in church!

That simple decision was not so simple. It was a decision that foiled the Devil’s plot to get to others whom I did not know then I would one day influence.

You do not realize all of the people that your choices will influence. You never sin alone. You never suffer for your sins alone. Satan is after you, but not just you. He is trying to get others by getting you. Be careful when you are tempted that you remember that others’ lives are depending upon you.

by Jack Hyles

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