Thursday, January 04, 2018

"It Seems So Right"

Matthew 4.7a AMP

“Jesus said to him, ‘On the other hand, it is written also, “You shall not tempt… the Lord your God.” ’ ”

It takes more than a knowledge of the Bible to overcome temptation. It takes the right understanding and honest application of the Bible.

Satan knows the Bible better than I do and he twists Scripture to tempt me in wrongdoing. The best way to avoid sin is by the use of Scripture. But what happens when Satan tosses me a temptation containing an element of scriptural truth? That was his strategy with Jesus…

“Then the devil took Him into the holy city and
had Him stand on the pinnacle of the temple, and said to Him,
‘If You are the Son of God, throw Yourself down; for it is written,
“He will command His angels concerning you”; and
“On their hands they will bear You up,…” ’ ”

The devil’s memory of the Hebrew Scriptures was impeccable and his ability to quote it, flawless. Satan used his Psalm 91.11-12 to entice Jesus to commit suicide by jumping from a tall building. Suicide is still a common demonic tactic, successfully luring 30,000 people a year in the United States alone. That’s one person every 18 minutes! More die from suicide than homicide, and suicide is the 3rd leading cause of death for 15 to 24 year old’s.[1] Jesus’ choice of Scripture trumped Satan’s: “On the other hand, it is written also, ‘You shall not tempt… the Lord your God.’ ” Jesus rightly understood and honestly applied the appropriate verse for the occasion. 

“There is a path before each person that seems right, but it ends in death” (Proverbs 16.25 NLT). How does a man or woman of God fight back when the attraction of sin ‘seems so right’?

Adultery: “God wants me to be happy.”

Suicide: “Life is too hard. I just want to go to heaven now.”

Theft: “God helps those who help themselves!”

Lying: “He couldn’t handle the truth.”

Cussing: “God knows my heart. I didn’t really mean it.”

Selfishness: “I can’t take care of anyone else if I don’t take care of myself first.”

Pornography: “A woman’s body is a beautiful thing to behold.”

Rage: “I can’t help it. God made me this way.”

Laziness: “I deserve a break!”

Gossip: “Did you hear about _______? Let
’s pray for her.” 
Rudness: “I am God’s ambassador and I’m just telling it like it is.” 
Disrespect: “God knows they don’t deserve my respect.”

Abuse: “The Bible teaches wives to submit.”

Nagging: “The Bible teaches husbands should behave lovingly.”

Violence: “It’s the only way I could get his attention.”

Drunkenness: “I need to relax a little.”

Overeating: “I need lots of energy to do God’s will.”

Divorce: “The kids will be happier.”

History shows that humans are adept at finding scriptural support for any behavior they choose to engage. Investigate the history of slavery in America or the Middle Ages practice of selling religious relics for profit. The devil can quote Scripture. So can any self-absorbed society or individual looking for an excuse to sin. The Bible is not enough. It takes right understanding and honest application of truths contained in Scripture.  

The devil will entice me with plentiful Scriptural references to support my sin. “On the other hand” Jesus can show me where “it is written also” so that I may successfully combat temptations just like He did.


[1] “U.S. Suicide Statistics (2001) from

Painting above is "The Temptaion of Christ" (ca. 1854) by Dutch painter Ary Scheffer.

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