Welcome to the second episode of Traditores Higher Frequency. Here is hoping the previous week has gone well for you…
And that you are ready to dive into Scripture to take a look at this week’s topic, temptation.
But, before we do that I’d like to introduce you to someone you’ll hear now-and-then on these broadcasts. Sitting beside me is…
[ Let Augie introduce himself and banter a bit. ]
[ Ask Augie if he has ever been tempted to do something wrong…what he should do if he is tempted…etcetera. ]
Sin Is Crouching at Your Door
It’s not just young boys who are beset with temptations. For instance, the inspiration for this episode is a song by Shayne Leighton called “Midnight Man.” Its lyrics are about a woman who repeatedly has intimate relations with a male friend. One who coaxes her into falling for sexual temptation by assuring her, “It’s okay, it’ll be alright. It’s not forever, it’s only tonight.” She then repeats that mantra to herself…that it is “not forever, it’s just one night, just one night.”
Of course, “you’ll get yours, I’ll get mine” (also from the song) happens more than just one night. It’s not safe to open the door to sin even a single time. The Book of James has some strong advice about this. Let’s turn to James 1:14-15 and read it together:
14 But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. 15 Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death.
Now, Shayne Leighton’s musical character was “lured and enticed by [her] own desire” and was looking for an excuse to go ahead and hop into bed with her smooth tongued friend. Her desire conceived and gave birth to sin…a sin that clearly grew…and…without God’s intervention…fully grown would bring death.
The Bible starts of with two perfect examples of how temptation grows into sin. The first is the one that got us into this mess to begin with, where Eve’s “Midnight Man” was a serpent and the temptation wasn’t sex, but a forbidden apple.
[ These are quick broadcast notes…not cleaned-up…and missing the “extras” that come out in the audio (which is available here). All quotes are from the English Standard Version unless otherwise noted. ]
However, I want to go a chapter further and see how the second example applies to our study today by reviewing Genesis 4:5-7 (which is after Cain and Abel both brought offerings to the Lord):
5 but for Cain and his offering he had no regard. So Cain was very angry, and his face fell. 6 The LORD said to Cain, “Why are you angry, and why has your face fallen? 7 If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door. Its desire is for you, but you must rule over it.”
Did you notice what God told Cain? Sin was crouching at Cain’s door…and Cain had two choices…to rule over it or have it rule over him. To reject it, or be enslaved by it.
Sin is crouching at your door…at my door…at everyone’s door in the form of temptation. Its desire is to rule us.
Let’s be honest, humanity’s track record ruling over it is abysmal, and I’ll admit my personal record is embarrassingly bad. To often I have allowed my temptations to lure and entice me…and too often they have given birth to sin.
Common to Man
As I mentioned before, it isn’t just young boys who are beset with temptation. It’s also not just Eve, Adam, Cain, and your sinful broadcast host. Instead 1 Corinthians 10:13 states:
13 No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.
Your temptations aren’t unique. “No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man”…and we’ll later read that our Savior Himself was tempted.
Even Jesus Christ was tempted!
Now, the fact that we are in the same boat as the other 7 billion people on this blue planet isn’t something to be proud of, nor an excuse for all our failures. Instead, looking back at 1 Corinthians 10:13 we can see we have absolutely no excuse for sin because God “will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide a way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.”
So when Shayne Leighton’s musical character gives into her “Midnight Man”…or you or I give into our metaphoric (or literal) “Midnight Man,” we have no excuse.
The Lord gave us an escape.
We discarded it.
We opened the door to our “Midnight Man” crouching at the door.
What should we do?
So far we know that temptation is a pretty dangerous thing that we are all afflicted with.
What should we do?!
The Bible is full advice…and we are going to start with some of Paul’s in a few selections, starting with 1 Corinthians 6:18:
18 Flee from sexual immorality. Every other sin a person commits is outside the body, but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body.
Sexual immorality isn’t the only thing Paul said to flee, in 1 Corinthians 10:14 he admonishes us with:
14 Therefore, my beloved, flee from idolatry.
And in 1 Timothy 6:9-11 he expands it even further:
9 But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation, into a snare, into many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. 10 For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs.
11 But as for you, O man of God, flee these things. Pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, steadfastness, gentleness.
What should you do when tempted?
Flee the temptation!
Don’t hang around, giving your “Midnight Man”…your serpent…time to smooth talk you. Time to convince you that it’s not really that bad. That one time is okay (even if it would really be just one time).
That <fill in your preferred rationalization here>.
Flee! If you’ve got a problem with pornography, don’t surf the web! If you’ve got a gambling problem, don’t go into a casino! If you are turned on by someone outside of marriage, don’t spend time alone with them!
Don’t dance with the devil. He is smarter than you! I love Charlie Daniels’ “The Devil Went Down to Georgia,” but I have to tell you…when the fiddler accepted the challenge from Satan, he already lost.
Flee your “Midnight Man”!
Oh…one final thought about fleeing. When you flee…don’t half-heartedly do it. As Lane Olinghouse is quoted said:
Those who flee temptation generally leave a forwarding address.2
If you’ve got a problem with pornography, fleeing temptation isn’t boxing up and storing the magazines in the attic. If you’ve got an issue with gambling, it’s not doing the same with the poker chips and cards. If you’ve got the hots for somebody, it’s not just avoiding them for a couple weeks.
Or, as Jesus says in Matthew 18:8-9:
And if your hand or your foot causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life crippled or lame than with two hands or two feet to be thrown into the eternal fire. 9 And if your eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life with one eye than with two eyes to be thrown into the hell of fire.
Don’t give your “Midnight Man” your forwarding address. Flee and make your “Midnight Man’s” mail undeliverable.
Fleeing…submitting to God…and metaphorically cutting or tearing out body parts…aren’t the only anti-temptation advice Scripture has. Do you remember toward the end of the Lord’s Prayer where Jesus says:
13 And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil (Matthew 6:13).
Jesus wouldn’t have told us to pray not to be led into temptation if prayer wasn’t a good option for fighting it. Think my logic is a bit fuzzy? Jesus “unfuzzies” it just before He is taken away to be crucified. If you look at Luke 22:40-46 you’ll see that just before He went off on his own He said, “Pray that you may not enter into temptation.” Then, after coming back and seeing they weren’t awake said, “Why are you sleeping? Rise and pray you may not enter into temptation.”
In those six verses Jesus told the disciples to “Pray that you may not enter into temptation.”
That part of the Lord’s example prayer put into action.
Fight temptation with prayer to the only one who has the power to provide you with a means of escape.
Pray that you may not enter into temptation.
When you blow it.
Now, as sure as the sun will rise tomorrow, even if you follow the biblical advice I’ve shared, sooner or later you will blow it.
I mean, the disciples did. Not only did they sleep when Jesus went to pray, every one of them abandoned the Son of God after He was arrested.
Every one of them!
So, we should just listen to our “Midnight Man” and give up. It’s no fun playing a game that you are doomed to lose.
Well, before you settle on that conclusion, might I suggest we take a look at what the writer of Hebrews has to say followed by the Apostle John?
First, Hebrews 4:14-16:
14 Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. 15 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. 16 Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.
Remember how before I said even Jesus was tempted? There’s your proof.
And, as you can see, that means that He fully understands what we are going through…and Hebrews 4:18 also tells us that “because he himself has suffered when tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.”
He is able to help you. He is able to help me.
And since He “has been tempted as we are, yet without sin” we can “with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”
Praise God! He understands! He cares!
How do we receive this mercy and grace? This is where the Apostle John comes in with something he wrote in 1 John 1:9-10:
9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.
How do we receive Jesus’ mercy and grace? By confessing our sins. Simple.
Confess your sins, ask for forgiveness.
“He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleans us from all unrighteousness.”
Praise God! He understands! He cares! He is faithful and just!
As we come to close of the second episode of Traditores Higher Frequency, we’ve learned:
- How sin crouches at our door in temptation
- That everyone is tempted—even Jesus was!
- That we should flee temptation (and without leaving a forwarding address)
- That we should pray that we aren’t tempted
- That Jesus fully understands what we are going through
- That if we ask for forgiveness we’ll be forgiven
Those last two bullets are truly good news, but they are incomplete.
In the end you may defeat a “Midnight Man” here and a “Midnight Man” there…but the ultimate “Midnight Man’s” smooth tongue will enslave you for eternity unless you fully, wholly choose another master…another Lord.
We’ll talk about how exactly you go about that in a future broadcast.
We’ve come to the end of episode 2 of Traditores Higher Frequency, entitled “Who Is Your Midnight Man?”
Well, who is it? Are you read to fight him?
You can’t do it successfully without Jesus and if you haven’t accepted Him as your Savior, you will lose eternally.
It doesn’t have to be.
If you want to know how to be saved…or want to reach out for any other reason…you can do so through our site, thf.fyi as in The-Higher-Frequency-dot-for-your-information. thf.fyi.
Thanks for listening…until next week…
Love and grace be with you as we tune into Jesus’ higher frequency.
2Streiker, L. D. (2000). Nelson’s big book of laughter: thousands of smiles from A to Z (electronic ed., p. 422). Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers.