Category Archives: Temptation/Tempting

One of Jesus’ Disciples Plots to Betray Him

Matthew 26 demonstrates the extremes Jesus experienced in terms of loyalty in the last few days before He was turned over to be crucified. Earlier in Matthew 26, a woman honored Jesus by pouring expensive perfume on Him. Jesus was so pleased, that He said, 13“Truly I say to you, wherever this gospel is preached in the whole world, what this woman has done will also be spoken of in memory of her.” In the next verse we see Judas plotting to betray Him.

Matthew 26:14-19

Judas’s Bargain

      14Then one of the twelve, named Judas Iscariot, went to the chief priests 15and said, “What are you willing to give me to betray Him to you?” And they weighed out thirty pieces of silver to him. 16From then on he began looking for a good opportunity to betray Jesus.

It is worth noting that Judas spent a lot of time with Jesus. He witnessed many miracles and heard much of Jesus’ teaching personally and directly. He gave the appearance to all except Jesus that he was a loyal follower and disciple. Note that Judas was not even approached by the chief priests… Judas went to them! What a truly hard heart and selfish spirit. Jesus knew He would be betrayed by Judas before Judas ever began to follow Him. He was not surprised. Jesus accepted Judas that long because He knew it was part of God’s plan.

Just because someone is involved in a church or ministry or other good activities does not mean they have a true personal relationship with Jesus. It does not mean they have submitted their lives to Jesus. We should look beyond actions to attitudes when discerning whether or not someone is genuine in their relationship with Jesus. This discernment is very important… who do you trust your children with in the nursery or kids church? who do you listen to as your pastor? what about young men and ladies considering marriage?

Many, when they read this scripture, want to quickly assert that they would never betray Jesus for such a sum of money… or at all. But we should all pause to consider… many believe they will not fail Jesus, but may not really be prepared for the difficulty or persecution they may face if they stand up for Jesus.  Peter thought he would stand with Jesus unto death when Jesus told him that he would deny Him three times? Yet when the time came, Peter denied Jesus.  I am sure also, that Eve did not plan to fail God in the garden, but when the time came, she did so by listening to the serpent.

The situation with Peter and Eve are different from that of Judas. Judas intentionally betrayed Jesus for profit. Peter and Eve failed to stand firm for God when tempted and tested. However, these examples stand as a warning for each of us to avoid being overconfident. If we are overconfident, saying to ourselves, “That will never happen to me”, then we are not, in fact, preparing ourselves for when that situation confronts us. We are more likely to fail if we are not planning ahead how to deal with such a situation.

Have you ever been tempted to steal, perhaps rationalizing that someone’s insurance will cover it or it is only a small item? Have you made business deals or personal deals to make money that compromised the values that Jesus teaches? Have you taken advantage of someone else by lying or deceiving them?

These are real life examples we are faced with in our lives where we either stand for Christ, fail under pressure, or outright betray Him… often for much less than the 30 pieces of silver that Judas received.

Decide ahead of time, now, to stand up for Jesus even when you think it may not matter. Get comfortable representing Him well and being a loyal servant even when you expect to be mocked or persecuted in return. Prepare to behave the way Jesus teaches us, even if it costs you money to do so. Choose to honor God in what you do and in what you fail to do.

If you find that you make a wrong decision, admit to yourself you did wrong, ask forgiveness from Jesus and dedicate yourself to do better next time. God’s grace is wonderful!


Have you submitted your life to Jesus Christ? If you die today, do you know for sure that you would be with God in heaven? Learn more about salvation through The Message of the Cross.

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Flee Temptation Rather Than Study And Consider It

Temptation. We have all faced it. The desire to do something we know we are not supposed to do. It comes from our own internal sin nature and Satan loves to tempt us to disobey the commands and instructions of God.

Let’s examine two examples in the Bible:

Genesis 3:1-7

    1Now the serpent was more crafty than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said to the woman, “Indeed, has God said, ‘You shall not eat from any tree of the garden’?” 2The woman said to the serpent, “From the fruit of the trees of the garden we may eat; 3but from the fruit of the tree which is in the middle of the garden, God has said, ‘You shall not eat from it or touch it, or you will die.’” 4The serpent said to the woman, “You surely will not die! 5“For God knows that in the day you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” 6When the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was desirable to make one wise, she took from its fruit and ate; and she gave also to her husband with her, and he ate. 7Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loin coverings.

Eve failed to run from temptation. She stayed with the conversation with Satan as he tempted her with lies and deception to disobey God’s warning. She should have left the area, but instead we see in verse 6 she studies the source of the temptation… the tree. She admires the fruit. Finally, she fails and eats the fruit. Then she tries and succeeds to bring Adam into the sin and rebellion with her. For a short while, very short… she likely felt good about her sin and enjoyed the fruit. Then there was lasting accountability and consequences for the act of rebellion and Adam and Eve were separated from God and Eden.

Genesis 39:6-18

 6So he [Potiphar] left everything he owned in Joseph’s charge; and with him there he did not concern himself with anything except the food which he ate. Now Joseph was handsome in form and appearance. 7It came about after these events that his master’s wife looked with desire at Joseph, and she said, “Lie with me.” 8But he refused and said to his master’s wife, “Behold, with me here, my master does not concern himself with anything in the house, and he has put all that he owns in my charge. 9“There is no one greater in this house than I, and he has withheld nothing from me except you, because you are his wife. How then could I do this great evil and sin against God?” 10As she spoke to Joseph day after day, he did not listen to her to lie beside her or be with her. 11Now it happened one day that he went into the house to do his work, and none of the men of the household was there inside. 12She caught him by his garment, saying, “Lie with me!” And he left his garment in her hand and fled, and went outside. 13When she saw that he had left his garment in her hand and had fled outside, 14she called to the men of her household and said to them, “See, he has brought in a Hebrew to us to make sport of us; he came in to me to lie with me, and I screamed. 15“When he heard that I raised my voice and screamed, he left his garment beside me and fled and went outside.” 16So she left his garment beside her until his master came home. 17Then she spoke to him with these words, “The Hebrew slave, whom you brought to us, came in to me to make sport of me; 18and as I raised my voice and screamed, he left his garment beside me and fled outside.”

Joseph repeatedly looked to God’s commands to confirm his rejection of the seduction of Potiphar’s wife. Even when he was trapped by her wickedness, he ran. Surely he was tempted by the offer… but he chose the obedience to God over short term pleasure.  He suffered consequences including being lied about and put in prison… accused of the very thing he chose rightly not to do! But his relationship and standing with God remained strong. God had very important plans for Joseph including saving all of Egypt and his own family.

You can not  judge the outcome of your decisions based on short term happiness but rather against the unchanging compass which is God’s word. Your choices will be judged based on obeying or rebelling against God’s commands.  As Eve discovered, the temptations of sin (son = failing to follow God’s commands) are strong, but the pleasures do not last. The consequences in harming our relationship with God are real. Adam and Eve hid from God in their shame. Then they had to leave Eden. Joseph suffered after doing the right thing, but was used mightily by God later and was blessed indeed for his righteousness.

When you face temptation, ask the Holy Spirit for help and then remove yourself from temptation as Joseph did. Do not study and consider it closely like Eve.. Satan will try to help you rationalize why it is ok to do what you know is wrong. Perhaps in simple terms… if as child knows they are not to have a cookie before dinner, they do themselves a favor by leaving the room, rather than remaining there, staring at the cookie jar.   The solution is the same even if the problem is more “adult”. If someone is tempted toward adultery or stealing… get away from the situation and source of temptation immediately. Then turn to God in prayer and ask His help.


Have you submitted your life to Jesus Christ? If you die today, do you know for sure that you would be with God in heaven? Learn more about salvation through The Message of the Cross.

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Correcting Another Believer; Keeping The Church Holy

The context of Matthew 18 is Jesus teaching about what it means to be great in the kingdom of heaven. One aspect identified early in this chapter is that someone who is great helps God’s children to follow and serve God properly. To lead them into temptation has dire consequences. In Matthew 18:15-18, Jesus provides clear guidance on how to correct another believer who sins against you.

15 “If another believer[d] sins against you,[e] go privately and point out the offense. If the other person listens and confesses it, you have won that person back. 16 But if you are unsuccessful, take one or two others with you and go back again, so that everything you say may be confirmed by two or three witnesses. 17 If the person still refuses to listen, take your case to the church. Then if he or she won’t accept the church’s decision, treat that person as a pagan or a corrupt tax collector.

18 “I tell you the truth, whatever you forbid[f] on earth will be forbidden in heaven, and whatever you permit[g] on earth will be permitted in heaven.

First and foremost we must recognize that Jesus is telling us to confront other believers who are sinning. He specifically identifies believers… we need to respond to non-believers in a different way to be effective in engaging them for Christ. We do conduct ourselves in a way that gathers attention to ourselves, but in a way that tries to show others the proper way to conduct themselves as a member of the church, which is to say a follower of Jesus. We are to start privately, then in a small group, and escalate from there.

Verses 17 and 18 indicate that Jesus gives some amount of authority or credibility to represent Him to those who are more mature in their relationship with God such as leaders amongst the believers in the church. Verse 18 is directed at the disciples specifically.

We must next recognize that Jesus is instructing us as a body of believers not to accept the sin of those who refuse to repent. If someone is sinning openly and unrepentantly, they are acting like and should be treated like pagans rather than believers.

Many today say this is too harsh and we need to be more inclusive and seek to avoid hurting people’s feelings about their sin. Their argument is with Jesus Christ himself. The scripture does not say we are to hurt or reject the sinners, but rather treat them as the unrepentant sinner they are… which is essentially similar to a pagan or corrupt person. We can still show love, but should not treat them the same way that we do genuine believers who seek and submit to God.

Why? Remember the context of the earlier verses in chapter 18. God is talking about leading His children into sin and temptation. When we as a church put man’s desire to be inclusive of those openly sinning against God above God’s desire to set apart the body of believers as holy we quite simply confuse people as to what it means to be a follower of Christ.  It gives the appearance that the unrepentant sin behavior is endorsed and accepted by the body of Christ. This leads to more and more people accepting and participating in the sin and then expands to include more and more sins. Eventually the body of people in the church looks like a direct reflection of the broader culture instead of reflecting God.

We can see clear evidence of this within the U.S.A. today. Many claim to be Christian, going to church on Sunday, but choose which of God’s instructions they will or will not follow. Often many end up directly contradicting God with their behavior and efforts to influence others. Consider examples such as people who identify as Christian but support killing unborn babies for convenience, people who accept homosexual behavior rather than helping others over come it, many gossip and are mean spirited toward others, others are driven by greed seeking money and possessions as their primary goal in life that drives their behavior, and so on.

It is not that all sinners should be separated from the church… there would be no one left because we are all sinners. The point Jesus is making focuses on unrepentant sinners who openly reject God’s teaching while claiming to be followers of God.

Let each of us seek God’s help to open our eyes to areas where we sin and are at risk of leading others astray when our behaviors and attitude do not match with God’s instruction. Further, pray God gives us each fellow brothers and sisters in Christ in our lives that can help us to identify these areas in ourselves as well. Lastly, pray that God would give you the courage and inspiration to help others by confronting them when they are sinning.

God wants us to help each other to live in righteousness as a holy people set aside to serve and honor our creator.


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Who Is The Greatest In The Kingdom Of Heaven?

Many of us in the world seek greatness. Often what is most telling is what is put forth as the standard against which to measure greatness. Jesus addresses this subject in Matthew 18:1-10.

18 About that time the disciples came to Jesus and asked, “Who is greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven?”

Jesus called a little child to him and put the child among them. Then he said, “I tell you the truth, unless you turn from your sins and become like little children, you will never get into the Kingdom of Heaven. So anyone who becomes as humble as this little child is the greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven.

“And anyone who welcomes a little child like this on my behalf[a] is welcoming me. But if you cause one of these little ones who trusts in me to fall into sin, it would be better for you to have a large millstone tied around your neck and be drowned in the depths of the sea.

“What sorrow awaits the world, because it tempts people to sin. Temptations are inevitable, but what sorrow awaits the person who does the tempting. So if your hand or foot causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. It’s better to enter eternal life with only one hand or one foot than to be thrown into eternal fire with both of your hands and feet. And if your eye causes you to sin, gouge it out and throw it away. It’s better to enter eternal life with only one eye than to have two eyes and be thrown into the fire of hell.[b]

10 “Beware that you don’t look down on any of these little ones. For I tell you that in heaven their angels are always in the presence of my heavenly Father.

Where does greatness begin, according to Jesus?

  • Turn from our sin. To turn from our sin does not mean we live sinless lives… but it does mean we strive to. It is a journey away from our sin nature and toward God’s holy standard. We are not to accept and dwell in our sin.
  • Be humble, as a small child. If we are arrogant instead of humble we likely start to think we deserve heaven… we have earned it because we are better than others. We also start to treat others differently, and not in a good way. On the other hand, when we realize that we are not good enough and it is only through God’s grace that we are saved, then we become humble. When we are humble, we treat people, even sinners or those who disagree with us, with love and compassion and not with contempt.
  • Recognize how our actions and words can lift someone up and lead them to Christ or cause them to stumble. We are accountable to God for helping or stumbling others in their spiritual journey.
  • Those who tempt others to sin and reject God will be held accountable and it will be bad for them. Rather than tempt people to sin by rationalizing sinful behavior, always look for ways to encourage others in living in a way that honors and obeys God.
  • There is most certainly life after death and what we do in this life directly has consequences on our life after death.

Jesus’ definition of greatness is very different from the world. The world tempts us to define great as those who get fame, power, money while basically serving themselves. Jesus calls us to turn from sin, be humble, and be seek to help others in their journey to know God and live His way rather than tempt them to live however they want to live, rationalizing sin and ignoring or rejecting God in the process.

Take a few moments to reflect for yourself and your family:

  •  How do you measure up to this standard of greatness? What changes do you want to make personally?
  • Whose standard of greatness do you use to identify your role models and heroes? God’s standard or the world’s standard? Should you change who you consider role models?


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