The Cycle of Temptation

Many things in our world follow a predictable pattern. The sun rises and sets every 24 hours. The seasons come and go with each passing year.

Even your mind and body follow a daily pattern. You have times when you know your energy and concentration levels are high, followed by times of the day when you become tired and your ability to pay attention fades.

Just as other parts of life work in cycles, God has seen to it that the temptations we face follow patterns that we can understand and anticipate. 

James 1:14-15 says: But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed. Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death.

Take a moment to think about the cycle of temptation described here.

First, temptation entices us. The Bible says, “Each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed.” Satan knows how to bait his hook with just the right temptation to appeal to our particular desires. He dangles the bait in front of us to lure us from the place of safety and to make us vulnerable.

I heard about a man who went to see an old country doctor.

He said, “Doc, I broke my arm in two places.”

The doctor said, “Well, son, stay out of those places!”

As believers in Christ, we need to be careful not to place ourselves where we are most likely to be tempted.

Second, temptation entangles us. The Bible says, “And when desire is conceived, it gives birth to sin.”

Someone once said, “I can’t keep a bird from flying over my head, but I can keep it from building a nest in my hair.” In the same way, it’s not a sin to be tempted, but it is a sin to yield to the temptation.

When we listen to our own sinful desires and surrender to temptation, we find ourselves tangled up in sin, wondering how to get out.

Third, temptation entombs us. The Bible says: “Sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death.” Make no mistake, temptation fascinates, then assassinates. Temptation charms, then harms. Temptation thrills, then kills. There is always a price to pay when we yield to temptation.

Now, here’s a question for you: Why has God so ordered His universe so that temptation follows a pattern that we can predict? The answer is simple: Because He wants us to be able to escape and conquer the temptations we face in life. As you pray today, ask for His grace to overcome temptation in your life.

Have a great day and keep moving forward!

Suggested Bible Reading

2 Samuel 11:1-27 (See if you can trace the pattern of temptation in David’s life.)

Prayer Guide

Today as you pray …

Praise the Lord for His faithfulness in your temptations.

Does your greatest temptation have to do with …

… what you look at with your eyes?

… what you say with your lips?

… what you put into your mouth?

… where you go with your feet?

… what you do with your hands?

… how you feel in your heart?

… what you think about in your mind?

… what you do with your body? 

Bring Him the areas where you are most likely to be tempted, and ask for His strength and deliverance today.