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A lie behind every temptation
- Jacob Ninan
When Satan comes to us with a temptation, he slips in a lie along with the offer of 'reward' for yielding to the temptation. We may be so much enamoured with the 'offer' that we may fail to detect the lie. But it is the lie that should expose the nature of the temptation to us, and when we fail to notice it we make ourselves vulnerable.
One of Satan's most common lies is what is usually referred to as 'the lie' because of its prominent use. When he tempted Eve to disobey God and eat the forbidden fruit, he told her, "You won't die" (Ge.3:4). This was a blatant lie, openly contradicting God's word to Adam and Eve, that they would 'die' if they ate from that tree (2:17). But when Eve got hooked by the offer of Satan to make her like God, she totally forgot God's word and believed Satan's lie.
When Jesus was tempted to turn a stone into bread, the implied lie was that He could be sure He was the Son of God only if He could perform miracles. God the Father had just announced that Jesus was His beloved Son when Jesus was baptised. Jesus countered this lie by saying that man had to live by every word he heard from God. When Satan suggested that Jesus should jump off from the pinnacle of the temple to demonstrate how the Father would take care of Him, the lie was more subtle. Satan was quoting a verse out of context from the Bible to show that God would protect Jesus, when the truth was that God's protection would only apply when we were doing what He wanted us to do. Jesus replied, in effect, that if He applied that verse arbitrarily to anything outside of God's will He would be putting God to a test. The next temptation was to suggest that Jesus could win the whole world if He would bow down before Satan. Of course Jesus had come to win the world for God. But if He bowed to Satan the world would not have been won for God! Also, what Satan was offering was the glory of the world, and why Jesus had come was to save the people in the world. We must see that Jesus overcame each temptation not merely by quoting Scripture, as if there was some magic power in the words of the Scripture, but by countering the lies through the use of the truth in the Scripture.
How many times Satan has told us, "No one will know"! Even when no one on earth knows what we do, we know that God knows. If God knows what we are doing, what advantage is it to us if people don't know about it? How many times Satan has fooled us into thinking that 'nothing would happen' (a common variation of "You will not die") even though the truth is that every time we sin we 'die'! How many time we are tempted to bend some law so that we can make a quick buck or gain some advantage over others! We forget then that such 'treasures' will be eaten up one day by moth and worms!
The Holy Spirit wants to warn us when we go off to the right or left (Is.30:21). He is the one who will expose Satan's lies. He can do it effectively if we are filled with the Word in our heart and mind.