This subject concerning the definition and application of temptations is one of the most critical subjects for any Christian. All the power of Satan hinges on this subject and understanding it’s application renders it powerless over the redeemed.
The actual dictionary definitions is reprinted below but it involves more than just encouraging the victim to fall into sin. Temptations require a rationalization as well, some excuse as to why doing a certain thing will be beneficial to the victim. When the kingdom of Satan tempts its victims it is not a random act, there is a well organized plan behind their actions with objectives in mind. And they operate with several generations in mind, not just the here and now.
From G3985; a putting to proof (by experiment [of good], experience [of evil], solicitation, discipline or provocation); by implication adversity: – temptation, X try.
From G3984; to test (objectively), that is, endeavor, scrutinize, entice, discipline: – assay, examine, go about, prove, tempt (-er), try.
Now consider the original sin that brought about the downfall of Adam in Eden. What was the motivation used and what was the offered results supposed to be?
Gen 3:2 And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden:
Gen 3:3 But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die.
Gen 3:4 And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die:
Gen 3:5 For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.
Gen 3:6 And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat.
Now from that passage Eve knew what God had said but Satan contradicted it outright and then told her that it would make her wise like the gods. She then processed this information and re-examined the tree and was tempted to put what she was told to the test because she wanted the prize of the wisdom of the gods. Yes at the end they gained wisdom but not the kind they expected and they started to die slowly from that point on. They lost their immortality just as God told them they would.
What Satan gained from that was the fall of the human race which gave the demons the means of having beings that lived in the physical realms to operate through. And through them control over this world by proxy. With the human race in a fallen state they became Satans play things.
Now we need to look at the rationalization and motivations behind these temptations. What we really have is a conflict of ideologies going on. Lets take a second look at Lucifers original fall and his own desires.
Isa 14:12 How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations!
Isa 14:13 For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north:
Isa 14:14 I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High.
Isa 14:15 Yet thou shalt be brought down to hell, to the sides of the pit.
In Gods kingdom everything is God centred, think of the first of the Ten Commandments. Everything else revolves around God, you either draw closer to God or you drift further away. The greatest in the kingdom is the servant of all. The stronger reaches down to help the weaker. God is the anchor upon which all else takes hold.
In the kingdom of Satan everything is self centred. Development of self and gratification of self independent of God. If you look at verse 13 and 14 in the passage above you see that Lucifers desire was to be like God, To rule over the stars of God located in the North. To be a god himself with those lower down worshipping him instead of God. What Satan is doing is selling Lucifers dream and sin to the rest of creation and through temptations, enticing them to partake of this sin as well.
Only these temptations are very well organized employing both rewards and punishments as well. The main tool used being Mammon. From a religious side you will notice that much of what has been imported from the East such as Buddhism and Hinduism all revolves around the development of self so as to achieve godhood, to ascend to heavenly hights through own works etc, to be as the gods, not to serve The God that is.
However lets take a closer look at Mammon;
Eze 28:15 Thou wast perfect in thy ways from the day that thou wast created, till iniquity was found in thee.
Eze 28:16 By the multitude of thy merchandise they have filled the midst of thee with violence, and thou hast sinned: therefore I will cast thee as profane out of the mountain of God: and I will destroy thee, O covering cherub, from the midst of the stones of fire.
Eze 28:17 Thine heart was lifted up because of thy beauty, thou hast corrupted thy wisdom by reason of thy brightness: I will cast thee to the ground, I will lay thee before kings, that they may behold thee.
Eze 28:18 Thou hast defiled thy sanctuaries by the multitude of thine iniquities, by the iniquity of thy traffick; therefore will I bring forth a fire from the midst of thee, it shall devour thee, and I will bring thee to ashes upon the earth in the sight of all them that behold thee.
In many respects Lucifer was the inventor of our economic systems. The original sin that got him cast out of Gods kingdom was his economic practices and his trading. It became violent in nature, other were being hurt by it. But the same practices are being used here in the form of Mammon. Civilization has been developed in such a way that Mammon has become indispensable to the point our lives depend on it. Then the constant demands for it have enslaved us and Satan now uses it to entice us by either bestowing it or withdrawing it from us in the systems of his own design. This is the reason why the good guys seem to finish last while the selfish tyrants prosper at others expense.
This is why Jesus stated outright that you cannot serve God and Mammon, you will at some point have to choose between the one or the other. Temptations are also coerced, Mammon and the rule of law are often used to force compliance to Satans philosophies. In fact Satans systems of temptations has been developed to the point where it can literally bully its way forward. And the more a victim succumbs to these temptations the more they draw away from God and become more entangled with Satan.
Now to be presented with temptations is not in itself a sin but to actually do the sin is, As can be seen in the passage below even Jesus had temptations and challenges from Satan placed before his path, but because he was aware of what was happening and because he knew what God expected of him he was able to reject them all.
Mat 4:1 Then was Jesus led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil.
Mat 4:2 And when he had fasted forty days and forty nights, he was afterward an hungred.
Mat 4:3 And when the tempter came to him, he said, If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread.
Mat 4:4 But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.
Mat 4:5 Then the devil taketh him up into the holy city, and setteth him on a pinnacle of the temple,
Mat 4:6 And saith unto him, If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down: for it is written, He shall give his angels charge concerning thee: and in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone.
Mat 4:7 Jesus said unto him, It is written again, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God.
Mat 4:8 Again, the devil taketh him up into an exceeding high mountain, and sheweth him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them;
Mat 4:9 And saith unto him, All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me.
Mat 4:10 Then saith Jesus unto him, Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.
Mat 4:11 Then the devil leaveth him, and, behold, angels came and ministered unto him.
Heb 4:15 For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.
Now the objective of the temptations is to convince you that Gods kingdom and governing laws are wrong and Satans kingdom is the best. At least in action but the rationalization hides this in other nicer sounding illusions. To achieve this Satan has organized itself into a well oiled organization which can work on the victim, the circumstances and material well being around the victim and through other people that can have an effect on the victim in some way. Satan will work on bringing the victim to the point where they will start to question everything they thought was correct and then will give the victim the alternative belief structure or assurance and then ensure that when tested the alternative will appear as the correct and so in small incremental steps bring the victim into full bondage, separated from God in both their beliefs and actions.
However Satan does not get everything their own way all the time. Fact is God is still in control and does put the brakes on, thus preventing Satan from completely over riding free will.
1Co 10:13 There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.
Jas 1:13 Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man:
Jas 1:14 But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed.
Another aspect concerning the use of temptations is the need to propagate Satanic influence from one generation to the next. Indirectly this is done through religions that provide an alternative to the covenant faiths found in Christianity or the Hebrew Judaism. But the deceptions are easily uncovered if you know the desired philosophy behind them or if the control of Mammon is included. Is it God centred or is it self centred. Is there a dominating control from the top down empowering those in control or is there a freedom to choose and be of service by choice. No one is forced to enter the kingdom of God, you have to volunteer. Now the early Apostles soon identified the corruption of the Christian faith by the introduction of erroneous or false doctrines. This is how Satan works, Satan is quite happy to operate right in a church setting so long as they can corrupt the faith from within and present an alternative so as to draw those with limited understanding back into bondage and servitude thus drawing them further away from God.
2Co 11:2 For I am jealous over you with godly jealousy: for I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ.
2Co 11:3 But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.
2Co 11:4 For if he that cometh preacheth another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or if ye receive another spirit, which ye have not received, or another gospel, which ye have not accepted, ye might well bear with him.
1Ti 4:1 Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils;
1Ti 4:2 Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron;
1Ti 4:3 Forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats, which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth.
1Th 3:5 For this cause, when I could no longer forbear, I sent to know your faith, lest by some means the tempter have tempted you, and our labour be in vain.
Now those caught up in this often are not doing it deliberately, They have simply been deceived and then gone off and deceived others thinking they have some form of greater insight. The biggest problem being that the new saints tend to read the Bible commentaries more than they read the Bible itself. This comes from poor discipling.
Demons tend to tempt quietly in the background by manipulating emotions and introducing suggestive thoughts either individually or over select groups of people. You see the anger of a riot start up, bind the influence of Satan behind the masses of rioters and the mob quietens down. Same principle in religions or economics or politics etc.
Then there is the more direct influence which is found in the occult and witch crafts. Yes Satan can mimic miracles but for a price.
Exo 7:10 And Moses and Aaron went in unto Pharaoh, and they did so as the LORD had commanded: and Aaron cast down his rod before Pharaoh, and before his servants, and it became a serpent.
Exo 7:11 Then Pharaoh also called the wise men and the sorcerers: now the magicians of Egypt, they also did in like manner with their enchantments.
Exo 7:12 For they cast down every man his rod, and they became serpents: but Aaron’s rod swallowed up their rods.
Exo 7:20 And Moses and Aaron did so, as the LORD commanded; and he lifted up the rod, and smote the waters that were in the river, in the sight of Pharaoh, and in the sight of his servants; and all the waters that were in the river were turned to blood.
Exo 7:21 And the fish that was in the river died; and the river stank, and the Egyptians could not drink of the water of the river; and there was blood throughout all the land of Egypt.
Exo 7:22 And the magicians of Egypt did so with their enchantments: and Pharaoh’s heart was hardened, neither did he hearken unto them; as the LORD had said.
Exo 8:6 And Aaron stretched out his hand over the waters of Egypt; and the frogs came up, and covered the land of Egypt.
Exo 8:7 And the magicians did so with their enchantments, and brought up frogs upon the land of Egypt.
The temptations of personal power has a strong pull and is what draws many people into the occult but it is also through these people that Satan is able to find the intermediaries that they want so maintain an influence over our physical world. Physical manifestations such as poltergeist activity etc are basically the Sanitist recruitment operations where they show themselves in a way that attracts attention to the occult. Spirit mediums and chanelars are a mimic of prophets etc. All of which the Bible strictly warns against because it leads into total bondage culminating into full blown possessions.
God is very clear about not getting involved in any of these practices and Satan uses all the temptations and hollow promises at its disposal to recruit people to get involved, be it under the illusion of a religion or open witchcraft.
Psa 119:155 Salvation is far from the wicked: for they seek not thy statutes.
Deu 18:9 When thou art come into the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee, thou shalt not learn to do after the abominations of those nations.
Deu 18:10 There shall not be found among you any one that maketh his son or his daughter to pass through the fire, or that useth divination, or an observer of times, or an enchanter, or a witch,
Deu 18:11 Or a charmer, or a consulter with familiar spirits, or a wizard, or a necromancer.
Deu 18:12 For all that do these things are an abomination unto the LORD: and because of these abominations the LORD thy God doth drive them out from before thee.
Every time someone gets involved in the occult they open a door for Satan to gain a form of access to our physical world and do the rest of us harm. The bribe is power and prestige and lots of Mammon but at the loss of their eternal soul.
However there is one other manipulation or temptation that Satan uses and that is condemnation. Look you have sinned and now you are unworthy, no hope for you, you may as well just give up and go with the flow etc. So many fall for this but it could not be further from the truth. Consider the verses below concerning the depths of Gods forgiveness.
Joh 5:24 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.
Rom 8:1 There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.
Act 5:31 Him hath God exalted with his right hand to be a Prince and a Saviour, for to give repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins.
Act 13:38 Be it known unto you therefore, men and brethren, that through this man is preached unto you the forgiveness of sins:
Act 26:18 To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me.
Eph 1:7 In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace;
Col 1:14 In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins:
The real problem is that many coming to Christ do not actually understand what the salvation message is all about or how it works. This opens the door for this temptation of condemnation to take root. Christ took upon himself and took the punishments for all the sins of this world, thus setting us free and enabling us to be redeemed back to God. Fact is what is a sin for the one is not necessarily a sin for another in many cases, it is a play on our conscience that Satan works through. It is through Christ Jesus that we have forgiveness of sins so as to be reconciled to God and through the shed blood of Christ and the infilling of the Holy Spirit that we gain authority over Satan to drive him back and away from ourselves.
All that is required is a bit of commitment and perseverance on our part. If we are to be Christs then just settle it in your own mind that you are Christs, Wether you are up to expectations in your own mind or not is not the issue. Either you accept Christ and acknowledge him as your King and Saviour through redemption or you do not. If you do then take your stand in that place.