Temptation: The Ways We Trap Ourselves

Memory Verse

Romans 8:26 “In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness.  We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express.”

Introduction

No one likes to talk about temptation.  No one likes to admit that they allowed things to get out of hand and a situation resulted in sin.  But it has happened to everyone.

I’m not overly comfortable with the topic either.  The first thing that comes to mind when I hear the word “temptation” is the sin that I let rule over me when I was a teenager.  It’s not that I haven’t sinned since then; it’s that those are the times when I could so clearly see that I was walking on a thin line…and often stumbling across it.  I tested the waters so much that sometimes I’d find myself swimming in the water without realizing how I ever fell in.  I was horrible at avoiding temptation.

Lately I’ve found that if I let things get out of hand, I curse—sometimes under my breath, and sometimes out loud.   It’s nothing I’m proud of and I’m even shocked when it happens.  I’ve used the excuse, “It just came out,” but I know it’s not true.  I know that if I would just avoid getting angry in the first place and stewing in my anger, I wouldn’t eventually get to the point of sinning.  But because I am too lazy to deal with whatever it is I’m angry about from the beginning, I slowly let things boil inside of me until the swearing happens.  I tend to walk the line until I let the temptation take over.

Discussion

What situations are the most tempting for you to sin?  Do you ever try to avoid these situations, or do you tend to “push the limits?”

Reading and Questions

Read 2 Samuel 11:1-5

God always gives us the chance to do right.  In fact, he often gives us many chances to avoid sin.  Unfortunately, David missed many of those opportunities and kept digging himself into a deeper hole.  Let’s look into each of these mistakes:

In verse 1, what is the springtime described as?  The time when…

What did Kind David do?

We don’t know why David stayed behind.  Maybe he was being lazy.  Maybe he had other things to do.  But it is quite clear that he was evading his normal kingship duties.

At what time of day does verse 2 occur?

What was she doing when he saw her?

Do you think God approved of this?

Doesn’t it seem that we tend to get into more trouble at night?  God’s word talks about the darkness in a spiritual realm, but it seems that even the physical darkness can get our guards down.

What appalling action did David take next?

Name some situations which are the most tempting for you to sin (as discussed earlier with the group):

Read James 1:14-15.  These verses describe what happens to me when I curse.  How can you relate to this passage?  Or can you think of a hypothetical example of this?

Let’s not forget one important thing: God helps us when we are weak.  Our memory verse Romans 8:26 says, “In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness.  We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express.”

Who helps us in our weakness?

When we don’t know how to pray, and we lie there in bed groaning for lack of words, who helps us (hint: same answer as above!)?

How do we get the Spirit to live in us (see Romans 8:9)?

The message is simple: The Holy Spirit helps us.  When we are weak, we have a spiritual help that only believers in Christ can claim.

Conclusion

God is amazing.  First, He sent his son Jesus to die so that we could be free from the spiritual consequences of our sin and have eternal life in heaven with God.  In addition, after salvation, He gave us the Holy Spirit to guide us and help us in our weakness.  Not only does God want to help our spiritual lives, but He wants to give us the greatest physical life as well, and He knows that the best plan for each of us does not include sin.

Life Application

Think of your earlier answers to the question, “In what situation are you most tempted to sin?”  Avoid this situation completely in the coming week, whether it is as simple as counting to ten before disciplining your child (to calm down) or as difficult as having to let go of a harmful relationship.  If your temptations are a bit more serious or life threatening, talk to a YoungLives leader, a counselor, a pastor, or a mentor.  Or, look into joining rehabilitation treatment or other support groups such as AA.  There is no better time to better your life than right now.

Further Study

Matthew 7:1-5 Think of your child.  How can we teach our children to do good, when we ourselves are enslaved to sin?

Colossians 3:1-17

To view a printable version of this document, click Temptation PDF.

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