The easiest and most entertaining illustration I have ever heard explaining temptation was told to me years ago by Bev Kennedy. Mr. Bev is a very close friend of our family, especially my dad, and an all-around good guy. He is the pastor of First Baptist Church in Laurens, SC. His hobbies include horse riding, farming, fishing, and of course, hunting. Mr. Bev used to take my brother and me hunting in Society Hill, SC, for deer, squirrel, and turkey. I can remember the first time he ever took me turkey hunting, he told me this story. It went a little something like this…
“You know, Nathan . . . turkey hunting is a lot like a very important issue in our everyday lives as Christians (boy isn’t that just like a pastor - taking something that absolutely no one could relate to Christianity and turning it into a sermon). When we go turkey hunting this afternoon, I am going to teach you how to use a turkey call. This is how it works - I blow the call and it makes the noise of a hen (female turkey). When a big Jake or red-beard (male turkey) hears this hen clucking, he will gobble really loud so the hen will know where the big daddy is. In the normal setting of nature, the hen will walk towards the gobbling male and when she finds him, they will mate. But it doesn’t always happen that way. Sometimes, that turkey will gobble to attract the hen and she doesn't show up. So he will gobble louder and more often. The Jake will hear the hen clucking, but knows that she isn’t getting any closer. The temptation gets so bad that the Jake will start to come after the hen. He hears a clucking sound over the hill, but what he doesn’t know is that it is really Bev and Nathan clucking. Then the turkey sees the hen, but what he doesn’t know is that it is really Bev and Nathan’s hen decoy. Then the turkey comes toward the decoy to ask her out on a date, but what he doesn’t know is that Bev and Nathan are waiting on him . . . BOOM . . . fire up the stove mama, the boys are bringing home the supper!”
Sometimes in life you will be tempted. Satan is going to try to trick you in a lot of ways. You may hear something tempting or see something that tempts you, but remember that it is just Satan waiting over in the woods trying to make you slip up. If you will keep your eyes focused on God and His will for your life, then it will be easier to stay on track and ignore those little “clucking” sounds off in the woods.
The Chinese word for temptation is a combination of two different word symbols: “danger” and “opportunity.” As Christians we have to look at temptation that way. Yes, the possibility of falling into temptation is dangerous; but temptation also offers us the opportunity to resist and be faithful to our Christian walk. Temptation is just a fact of life, so prepare yourself to rise above it and prove to Satan that he is no match for the will and courage that we have through our God.
“That old Devil is always out there waiting for another chance. That sneaky guy doesn’t give up.” -Bobby Bowden, Head Football Coach of the Florida State University Seminoles.
-Spending time in the Word-
Make a list of the things that Satan uses to tempt you the most. Keep them in mind this week and try to avoid the pitfalls of temptation.
1. Remember that temptation is not a sin. Jesus was tempted by Satan, but He stayed strong and resisted temptation by reciting Scripture (Matthew 4:1-11).
2. The original sin and temptation (Genesis 3).
3. Who tempts you and how are you tempted (James 1:13-14)?
-Hiding the Word in your heart-
Memorize these verses this week and recite them during your prayer time each day:
1. Matthew 26:41 – “Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing but the body is weak.”
2. 1 Corinthians 10:13 – “No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; He will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, He will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.”