Satan always attacks when he has the greatest chance of success. One of his greatest successes seems to be when we are alone in our own thoughts. He places a sinful temptation in front of us and we say “no one will know about this so it will be ok just this one time”. And then often we become chained down by this sin. It’s so easy for us to fall into these temptations when nobody is around, and we can convince ourselves that we will get away with it. The problem is that when we sin, we never get away with it. Sin always has consequences, and one sin leads us to more sin. Let’s look at a few biblical examples for this:
The great king of Israel, David, was God’s chosen man. God had blessed him immensely. Scripture even calls David a man after God’s own heart, but even this great man fell into the temptation of sin when he was alone. One day the King was supposed to be in battle, but he decided to stay home. He found himself standing alone on his rooftop overlooking the kingdom. He saw a beautiful woman bathing herself. Instead of fleeing from the situation, he lusted after her and inquired about her. Even upon finding out that she was married to one of his soldiers fighting for him in battle, David allows this temptation to overcome him and he sins with this woman. No doubt David thought that since the woman’s husband was in battle that day he would never find out, and believed that he would get away with this sin. But the woman discovered that she was pregnant, so David still attempting to get away with this sin, ultimately had this man killed and finally the baby dies after it is born. These grave consequences for so many people occurred because David was standing alone when he should have been elsewhere, and a temptation was placed in front of him, and he succumbed. That one small sin that he thought would be no big deal because nobody would find out, destroyed lives and marred a great man of God. This is a great example for us, that no matter how much success that God grants us, it can all be destroyed by one small sin that we allow to compound because of our pride. We must try avoid these situations and temptations, but if we do stumble, we must come before God with a broken heart, and ask him to restore us. When we try to fix things ourselves we will always make the situation worse.
We find Eve alone in the garden, and Satan is speaking to her and appealing to her curiosity about a certain fruit. Scripture says that Eve looked upon the fruit that God told them that they could not eat, and that it became pleasant to her eyes. She could not resist this temptation, and she ate of the fruit. Not only did Eve sin, but she then brings this sin to her husband and he sins along with her. Instead of coming to God and seeking forgiveness, we find them seeking to hide from God in the garden. And when God questions what they have done, it becomes a blame game. Adam blames Eve and Eve blames the serpent. Ultimately each made their own decision to sin, but in an attempt to get away with this sin, they sin even greater by blaming others for their own decision. Again we see Eve allowing herself to be in a place looking at something she shouldn’t be looking at, and thinking about and desiring something that she should not be desiring. It’s in these places that Satan will seek us out and tell us that we can get away with this small thing, and we can convince ourselves that he is right. Unfortunately when we listen to this, it always leads us to our downfall.
Finally, we find Jesus in the wilderness alone fasting for 40 days. Satan comes to him and tempts him to eat, while attempting to appeal to his flesh and his ego. But Christ doesn’t hesitate, and quotes scripture back to Satan to avoid this temptation put before him. Again Satan tempts Christ twice more, and each time we find Christ answer “it is written” and quotes scripture to defeat this temptation. This is our ultimate example.
We should try our best to avoid these situations of being alone in a vulnerable place to Satan’s temptations, but when we find ourselves there, rather than attempting to excuse our own sin, we must use scripture to defeat these temptations and remove Satan’s power over us. And if we do stumble, rather than trying to cover up our sin, and make things worse, we must come immediately before God and ask him to restore us. The examples have been laid out for us. We must learn from David and Eve and countless others on what not to do, and learn from our ultimate example in Christ on what we should do, and follow his teachings and we can avoid these pitfalls. I’ll leave you with this scripture from James warning us about falling into these temptations, and then the solution to the problem from 1 John:
But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.
1 John 1:8-9 If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.