In a recent effort to lower my monthly expenses as a retiree trying to support 5 people on a pension, I inadvertently joined the Suckers-R-Us club. You may have heard of the claim of a certain communication company that they can give customers a same price for life deal. Tempting! But don’t do as I did and accept it over the phone. Once I got the paper work I soon discovered a disclaimer which says that one’s monthly rates for services, leased equipment fees, or surcharges are not guaranteed and may increase during the time of one’s service. Like many other “deals” there is an attractive free gift or big savings offer before one reads the fine print.
This strategy is not restricted to the secular world. In the New Testament book of James we find that … “God does not tempt anyone but that each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed.” (Js 1:13-14) Like a fish on a hook we are dragged in by Satan to sin and death (v 15). Satan has used this tactic since the Garden of Eden (Gen 3: 2-6) but each time he doesn’t force anyone to join his evil band. We have to be willing and complaisant in our own temptation.
Cain found sin and temptation “crouching at (his) door” (Gen 4: 5-8) and let anger and jealousy lead him to murder. Satan tempts Peter many times and Jesus even tells him that Satan has made him a stumbling block because he does not have in mind the things of God (Mt 16:23). It is not too surprising that later in one of his letters Peter says, “…Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” (1 Pe 5:8)
Is there then any antidote to temptation? Yes, indeed! We must follow the lead of our Lord and Master when Satan threw every cunning trick in his manual at Jesus (Mt 4:1-11). After every effort, Jesus responded with scripture. We can do likewise. We need to be content with what we have (Heb 13:5) (1 Tim 6:8) (Php 4:12). We have to think of our brethren and our neighbor’s needs as well as our own (Gal 6:2) (Gal 5:14). There are many, many other scriptures which warn against selfishness. Perhaps the best advice, however, is to adjust our outlook. “Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.” (Col 3:2)