by Ruth Greene
I was amazed. I was working in that psychiatric hospital with all those behaviors and how Satan used their mouths, every bit of their bodies. What’s worse is that they didn’t see it! (That is how it is by those firmly in bondage to the world.) I watched a young man try to seduce one of young women in the ward, to get her to go to his room. I know he had on his mind. His eyes were all over her body. Filth! She was ready to go in there because he was talking his stuff. This is a temptation common to man and woman that happens on this planet every day. The man was tempted and made the offer. The woman was seduced by the temptation in response to the young man. The temptations of other people can easily pull you in! I watched it for myself before I broke it up. This kind of conduct was against the rules of the facility and highly inappropriate. It’s a classic case of temptation. The temptation of Yahshua [Jesus] in the desert really tells the Bible reader what temptation is all about if you are paying attention. (Romans 12:1-3; 1 Peter 5:8-10; 2 Corinthians 11:4; “A Mind of Envy and Competition”)
People will use food for temptation. People will use their body for temptation. Sex is the great tempter. A temptation is anything that your spiritual enemy can use against you and pull you in. The enemy will tempt you over and over again. In Matthew 6:19-21 and 24, scripture shows a common dilemma that Christians can find themselves in. This is especially true in Christian marriage. Money is often like a wedge between a married couple. Either the husband is more relaxed with money or the wife is more relaxed with money. One sees in the other signs of weakness. (1 Timothy 6:9; “Wavering Between Two Opinions”)
“No one is able to serve two masters, for either he shall hate the one and love the other, or else he shall cleave to the one and despise the other. You are not able to serve Elohim and mammon.” – Matthew 6:24, ISR98
The temptation is the beginning of many behaviors based on the person being tempted. Giving in to temptation continually reinforces the behavior to the point that you can die firmly bound to temptations and behaviors that reinforce them. Keep in mind that everything around can tempt you depending on your personal strengths and weaknesses. Satan is good at this kind of thing because he is a people watcher. He looks for ways to compromise your trust in YHWH and he is quite successful. (2 Corinthians 11:13-15; Disciple: Renewing the Mind”; “Spiritual Fruit & Renewing Your Mind”)
While fasting in the desert, Yahshua [Jesus] faced Satan as His tempter. Satan even twisted the Word of Scripture and he was rebuked. Yahshua [Jesus] was steadfast just as you can be; a great testament for every disciple.
“Then was Yahshua led up of the Holy Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil.” – Matthew 4:1, WoY
Yahshua [Jesus] had what most people would consider as a moment of weakness! He was severely tested and had real physical need as a man. However, you don’t need a moment of weakness to be tempted! People are often tempted because of ignorance about YHWH’s Word and His power. They are also tempted by pride, a distorted sense of self. (“The Politics of Pride”)
“And when the tempter came to him, he said, ‘If thou be the Son of Elohim, command that these stones be made bread.’ 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 Yahweh.'” – Matthew 4:3-4, WoY
Satan dared Yahshua [Jesus] to His face. He saw a dilemma. He knows your personal dilemmas by watching. He knows your weaknesses and where you are likely to fall. He makes it his business to know, just as other people sometimes do. (Matthew 26:41; Romans 8:14; 2 Corinthians 2:11; Revelation 17:17; Isaiah 14:12-14) Christians don’t stand a chance without the power of scripture and the Holy Spirit. I don’t know where religion got the idea that you can holler, hoop and shout, stomp and leave the church building with nothing for spiritual support until you return the following week. Knowing what is really in the Bible and making YHWH’s Word a real part of your life is essential. Simply going through motions by attending a meeting or gathering doesn’t build a relationship through the Holy Spirit or serve as a witness to others. (2 Timothy 3:1-5) When you don’t have a life of ‘godliness,’ you are uncommitted, unsanctified, not set-apart to Him. Many declare themselves as Christians and remain uncommitted to serving Elohim, trusting Him, and allowing for His provision. They would rather provide for themselves or let Satan do it. Think about it. It’s true.
The Father’s Word is food, spiritual food, food for our body and Spirit. Many don’t appreciate the importance of that spiritual food. My mother once found me praying in the Spirit and called me a devil. How many Christians claim to have the Holy Spirit, but would judge one another in such a way? Before I knew it, my entire family began giving me a hard time about it and distancing themselves from me. What would your temptation be under similar circumstances? How important is YHWH to you? (Matthew 6:13-15) Would you give up the Messiah for your family? Many do. (Matthew 10:34-36; Mark 10:45)
“Then the devil taketh him up into the holy city, and setteth him on a pinnacle of the temple, and saith unto him, ‘If thou be the Son of Elohim, 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.” Yahshua said unto him, ‘It is written again, Thou shalt not tempt Yahweh thy Elohim.’” – Matthew 4:5-7, WoY
I never will forget a temptation I had over money. I had just received my paycheck. I got in the car to drive to the bank. When I got to the bank I took my regular freewill offering out first to give to my spiritual storehouse. I was on my way to give this money directly to my pastor as was my custom. This fear overwhelmed me as I heard doubt creep into my heart. I yelled to Satan, leave or I will give all my check as my offering! That was the last time I had an issue dealing with the lack of YHWH’s provision. If you are so stupid that you willingly cast your own foot upon a stone, what makes you believe that angels, messengers or anyone else will prevent you from harming yourself out of unbelief, to lift you up? (2 Timothy 2:15, 5:15)
“Again, the devil taketh him up into an exceeding high mountain, and showed him all the kingdoms of the world, and the the magnificence of them; and saith unto him, ‘All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me.’ Then saith Yahshua unto him, ‘Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, ‘Thou shalt worship Yahweh thy Elohim, and him only shalt thou serve.” Then the devil leaveth him, and, behold, angels came and ministered unto him.” – Matthew 4:8-11, WoY
Satan is a great seducer. (Romans 8:7) He preys on what you might consider a real need. He will make every effort to entice you. I have had a lot of opportunities to be enticed as I witnessed in my ministry, especially in my ministry of song. I chose to be a minister of song for my Father and not for the monies. I needed the money, but I was not willing to get monies from a provider that was motivated or generated by the devil or his kingdom. I wanted YHWH to give me my needs and He always did. He did then and He still does.
You will know when your Heavenly Father is in your life. I am happy to say that I have had plenty of angelic intervention to prove this out, to straighten and to keep me walking on His track of righteousness. (“YHWH’s Track of Righteousness”) I was not motivated by something that I wanted to do wrong, but could still become confused or dazed. I stood straight for my Savior and YHWH has never failed to provide! Remember that temptation springs from you through your perception, unique to you as a person. When entertained and acted on, the temptation of rebelling against YHWH brings sin and separation from Him. Satan uses temptation in the effort to bring you out of YHWH’s Will, if you are in His Will! I know for a fact that Yahshua [Jesus] was in the Will of His Father. Satan wanted to try to remove Yahshua [Jesus] from the Fathers’s plan for mankind. This didn’t bother Yahshua [Jesus], just as it need not bother His people. A sanctified disciple will experience troubles as he or she faces the world. You need to be concerned when Satan and the world give you no cause for concern. Does your church discuss Satan and the kingdom that he controls right now? Many gatherings have stopped talking about him as if he will go away or doesn’t exist. Instead, they might have a children’s play and dress up a little boy in a devil costume with horns, but otherwise Satan and his kingdom are simply unpleasant conversation. Matters like this are treated quite lightly by many.
I was a single mother for quite some time, as I matured in the Messiah. I knew what I needed to pay the mortgage, as I did in my former life. I also needed food for my son Joey. I lived in Texas, so I had a large utility bill. Texas is a big place and I needed gas for my car and to keep up maintenance. Satan wanted me to have doubts about Elohim’s provision.
There were times that I didn’t have food in my refrigerator. YHWH always provided. I remember when my son Joey came home from school. He noticed bare cupboards and a mostly empty refrigerator.
“Mom, what are we going to have for dinner?”
I said, “We have Cream of Wheat, we have grits, a little butter and we don’t have any toast.”
“Mom, what are we going to have for dinner?”
“I don’t know! I don’t have money to buy food. God will have to supply that for me!”
I had very little in the freezer in the garage. I was tapped out. With what we had I had fixed a tuna fish casserole. We both hated it and it was what we had to eat. My friend Sandra came over to see how I was doing. She was concerned because I had not called in a while. As she prepared to leave, I offered her our tuna casserole.
“I love tuna casserole!”
“Please take it. It’s still warm and you can give me back the dish later.”
She was thrilled and I was rid of the accursed tuna casserole. Sandra had no more than rolled out of my driveway and my friend Helen called.
“What’s you doin’.”
“Why don’t you and Joey bundle up and come on over here.”
That woman had a spread that she put on her table. I was overwhelmed.
“I was off of work today and I felt like cooking!”
We all sat down to eat and poor Joey ate like he had never eaten before. We sat there and talked about the Bible. We finally cleared the table and washed the dishes when I announced that it was getting late and that I needed to go. I reminded her that I needed to get up early.
“I know, but do you have time to load the car?”
“God told me to give you food.”
Helen had picked a huge stash of vegetables from her huge garden her back yard. She had canned goods sitting around in boxes and bags in the back of the house. She had gone in her freezer and it looked like I had gone to the grocery store.
“Ruth, I need to pull from my freezer for your freezer.”
She didn’t know I had anything more than a freezer above my refrigerator and the food she had for me wouldn’t fit in that. She stocked my freezer, she stocked my cabinets and she stocked my refrigerator. She gave me milk, she gave me vegetables, she gave me beans, she gave me rice, potatoes, cereals; everything that I would need to go to the store to buy. It took Joey and I an hour to get all that stuff out of the car and into the house. I had the trunk, the back seat and floors of the car full of food.
Temptation can get you to the point that you will stop trusting in your Heavenly Father. You won’t have trust in Him. You won’t get in His Word. You won’t acknowledge Him to anyone. Temptation is a favorite tool of Satan to rub in your face. He doesn’t want anyone to know about YHWH and he wants to keep you in the depths of depression and oppression. (Revelation 12:9; 1 Thessalonians 3:5; 2 Corinthians 2:11; James 1:13-14; Hebrews 2:18)
Satan boldly walks into churches and keeps people from ever knowing their Heavenly Father! A preacher can stand before you and read you a few scriptures. He can even say a few things to colorize the topic if he isn’t reminding you about the Super Bowl. What does this teach you when you don’t even bother to bring your Bible and follow along? Most won’t reach for a church Bible in the pews. They would rather be entertained. So many have adopted poor habits stemming from a lack of motivation, enthusiasm and laziness, all grounded in temptation and avoidance behaviors. (Mark 4:15; Matthew 7:15-16; Revelation 19:20)
Temptation often arises when people have needs and those needs aren’t seen as being met. You can easily be tempted through what many see as the basics: food, health, shelter, transportation and money. You may have been tempted by your circumstances to be on welfare or food stamps. You may be hard pressed to do otherwise. You may believe you need such things. Perhaps you see man’s system as a blessing from YHWH when it provides for you, but more often it is seen as a perk that you are entitled to when you meet certain standards. Then again, you might not really need help at all. Some make their life fit the circumstance with the expectation that they can reap the rewards forever. What do you think? What would you do? It’s easy to let pride, even anger enter into this situation, so let’s set attitudes aside for a moment as I tell you about another snippet from my life.
I had this dilemma many years ago raising my youngest son. I was going through a tough patch and I could have put myself and my son on welfare. My family told me that I should. However, I believed and still believe that I am a “Kingdom Kid.” My Father has wealth that mankind knows nothing about! With a Father like that, why do I need a handout? Hm-m! I am not going on welfare. To me, this was a personal decision of trust in my Heavenly Father. While I still saw lean times, YHWH rose to the occasion to provide for a modern widow and her young son. Another move I made was to find another job over time which better provided for our needs. My Father kept me healthy so that I could meet the extra demands required. Instead of giving in to what seemed to be an easier solution, I opted to press into the Will of my Father, keep my situation covered through prayer and keep my eyes open to opportunity. I’m not patting myself on the back, but I do know that keeping your mind and heart focused on Messiah and Counsel of the Spirit is the answer.
Perhaps if Christians were living a life as the first century disciples of the Messiah did with sharing and caring for those they knew, many disciples would not face such trouble. However, at least in many nations, we live in a ‘church age’ where professed disciples aren’t usually favorably disposed to help their brothers and sisters when they see a need. They’ll leave that to someone else. In this age, so many have placed a great distance between themselves and others. Crossing that great divide is a no-no. Do you personally know of someone that deserves help that needs it? Are you willing to step forward to help meet the needs of your spiritual brother that you know? (Disciples, Sufficiency & Daily Life”; “The Kingdom of YHWH and the Drive for Self-Importance“)
When I was going through these tough times, I was still blessed with a car, but I had to depend on YHWH daily for maintenance and the gas to run it. To make matters worse, my paycheck frequency was changed and was paid less often, once a month. I recall a time that I ran on fumes for a week, which became a daily test of trust. It was either lunch money for Joey or gas for the car. I was tempted to ask someone for money. My options were limited, but more importantly, I knew my Source. I made a choice to trust YHWH for my provision. The gasoline lasted until I was paid again.
You know that with the situations that you often encounter, that emotions and attitudes do enter into your decisions. All people that I know off want to feel secure. What you must decide is what you will trust for your security. Is YHWH your security or is the world around you your security? The world pretends to be secure, but the only security rests under the wings of your Heavenly Father. You have to know that your Father has your back, which is developed through spiritual maturity and relationship. Then there is that doubt that wants to creep into your heart that will make the temptations that you are going through more difficult. When you allow doubt to rule, you will do the opposite of what your Heavenly Father has in store for you. You will likely hinder the blessing or favor that you seek so urgently. You will be tempted, but it is your decision as to how you will act on temptation. How you deal with temptation is especially important where concrete Bible principles come into play. Temptation can be a quick path to sin.
Satan is your enemy and he is the enemy behind the cold hearts and rational minds of men and women. (1 Peter 5:8) Satan seeks to rob, exploit and plunder in any way that he can and he will put into the hearts of other people to do this as well. Keep in mind that he will do this if he can. In a family, hunger is a real concern for the flesh. When you don’t have money, food in the pantry and an empty refrigerator, you are faced with what looks to be a mountain in the moment. Knowing that YHWH will provide for you is an assurance that you have when you rest in His Will and the call of the Messiah. How would I have provided my needs for my child when I couldn’t provide the bare essentials for me? He provided. He provided even when patience and endurance were required of me. (“Is Your Love For Others Cold?“; “How Satan Challenges You (A Personal Story)l“; “Breaking the Hold of Stress“)
Keeping your relationship with your Father tight is so important. I had to stay within my relationship with Him, within the Word. I went to bed reading the Bible and woke up early in the morning doing the same. I often went out into a cold garage to stay awake. I was determined to stay awake to pray and study.
As a disciple you often long for your Father to throw you a bone, to say something. Some of you don’t even have this hope because you don’t believe in such things. On one occasion I was preparing to move into a new city and a new phase of my ministry. My friend Fatima had made a way by making a place in her home for me. Still, I found myself hesitating. I had been in this city so long that I felt locked in. In frustration, I found myself sitting in a park reflecting on this hesitation. Nobody was in this park but me, but in a wink I found myself face to face with only what I can explain as a messenger of the Most High. He had two huge beautiful dogs with him on leads. “How are you doing?” He glanced at my Bible. “I come here to think and pray.” “You have a good day.” I turned to pick up my Bible and as I glanced back, discovered he was gone. I was a bit spooked with the appearance of a man and dogs appearing in front of me and disappearing out of thin air in a huge open air park. A still small voice said to me that I was free and could go now to my next assignment. I didn’t delay, packed up my clothes and prepared to leave in the morning. My Father did understand. Your Father will find a way to show Himself to you and you will understand. Doubt and unbelief are rooted through temptation in combination with other clashing emotions and feelings. These clashing feelings can make the temptation real. Temptation could be compared to watching television. When you act out what you see on television, that is fruit made real in your life. You allow yourself to be enticed or seduced.
One of the benefits of realizing your weaknesses is knowing what to stay away from and when. Satan wanted Yahshua [Jesus] to side with him, to worship him. He wants the same thing from you, except that how he does it may not be so obvious. That is why you need discernment. You must be determined to stay out of idolatry. Today, we are easily led astray by feelings that actually mean very little. Serving the cause of the Messiah and your Heavenly Father isn’t about power or something that you must prove. Your love for YHWH isn’t about being equal with Him, as if this were possible. When you listen to your Heavenly Father and He gives you a task, you may not fully understand the importance of following instructions. In this way Elohim provides through angels and earthly messengers in response to your trust. When you obey what He says, you will come to understand the importance of the Holy Spirit in your life. YHWH works through His people when they listen. He will use you in the same ways that has used disciples of the past as long as you are willing. You can even witness being part of a miracle that you never would have imagined. You can’t do any of this until you begin to live the Word and listen to the Holy Spirit though. He calls you to focus on His plans for your life without compromise. (“Foundation of Salvation“; “Overcoming Satanic Attack“)
How dangerous is compromise and falling away? You can lose it all. Rationalizing the Word of YHWH when you know otherwise is a deadly prospect. (Deuteronomy 6:13-16) We don’t put Him to the test. We are called to put Him first. You are created in His image. He is a person just like you and with the help of the Holy Spirit, YHWH will carry you through. Your Heavenly Father doesn’t ask you for a solution to what troubles you, He is the solution. When a blind child is healed through faith because she doesn’t “know any better,” you can come to know how YHWH provides for His beloved. (“Knowing Where You Stand on YHWH’s Threshing Floor“; “Life Healing and Belief“; “Healing Wounds That People Can’t See“)
Contrary to what many in the world say, humans are not equal to YHWH. Disciples stand before Him as brothers. He favors not one of us more than another yet each are judged on personal trust in Him. The witness of Yahshua [Jesus] is the proof and the strengthening of the Holy Spirit is our support. It’s not about psychology, which I fully witnessed when I was working in a mental hospital. Satan will have you to worship him through psychology and the science of man. Satan would have you to make excuses for your lack of belief, and what is worse, to have you believe those excuses. Your trust isn’t about your significance, your trust is about YHWH’s significance. He does all things through you, through personal willingness to listen and obey. In other words, His significance is your life!
As you grow spiritually, your achievements are not through the flesh, but from YHWH’s Spirit. Your life is as much as a part of worship as a passing moment is. Satan offers each human a similar presentation that he made before Yahshua [Jesus]. Satan believes that he has the power because the world has given him that power by obeying him. He is deceived by his own mania. Disciples of Messiah have no need to test YHWH because they know He is Truth! Satan must have thought Yahshua [Jesus] was really stupid. The only benefit that Yahshua [Jesus] could have had through compromise would be the avoidance of His sacrifice for all men. Yahshua [Jesus] did not make earthly splendor His stronghold. On the other hand, Satan has thoroughly deceived himself. (Matthew 6:29; 1 Kings 11) That is what Satan’s world wants you to do, to turn aside from YHWH in any possible way. Satan wants to be your father. When Satan is your father, you and your father are headed for the same Lake of Fire when the time comes. It’s been up to you all along. (Luke 4:8; Matthew 4:10; Exodus 20:1-7)
Overcoming the voice of Satan is as much a part of your earthly ministry as it was for Yahshua [Jesus] on earth. What you do will not often be popular, even among those in the proclaimed church. Long before I became active in ministry, I was in Puerto Rico teaching little children during a vacation Bible school program. I didn’t really know the Word of YHWH then, but was willing to help. Still, I found the Word of my Father bubbling up in me as I instructed the children. I would end each session with a holy hug as everyone left. A little girl told her mother about her classes and how her teacher gave them each a hug before they left. The mother was outraged, believing this to be inappropriate for a teacher to do. When she approached the pastor, the pastor rebuked any argument against inappropriate conduct. “She is teaching those children how to love one another in Christ,” was Brother Hooper’s response. This dear child was removed from the fellowship because of the disagreement. Offense was taken. Life experience can often induce you to take offense instead of forgiving or realizing your error. This was a perfect occasion for me to rise up and to become defensive. Even a deacon had suggested that I was having a “love thing” going on with those children. This is just one small case of how the love of Messiah is distorted among people that profess to love Him. We can’t let negative emotions rule us during tough moments. Instead, you place your trust firmly on Messiah, the power of the Most High. YHWH doesn’t rescue His people through emotional displays. Emotional displays focus on self instead of Messiah. Your trust is sidetracked and placed on yourself, preventing the Holy Spirit from operating in your life. He will deliver you from misapplied misunderstandings of others through the application of mature brotherly love. What a privilege to teach the love of my Father, even when that love is discipline!
“For He shall give His angels charge over you, to keep you in all your ways. In their hands they shall bear you up lest you dash your foot against a stone. You shall tread upon the lion and the cobra, the young lion and the serpent you shall trample underfoot. Because he has set his love upon Me, therefore I will deliver him; I will set him on high, because he has known My name. He shall call upon Me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him and honor him. With long life I will satisfy him, and show him My salvation.” – Psalm 91:11-16, NKJV
Your Father allows times for testing. A person has not shown personal obedience if he or she has never had an opportunity to disobey. (Deuteronomy 8:2) YHWH demonstrated that He desired to give everyone possible the opportunity to willingly obey and love Him even when they refused. He presents the same opportunity for each human being today. With a world of mankind that is larger than ever, talking to others about the truth of scripture is vital. There is plenty of misinformation being cast about by the devil and his henchmen. Testing will come and you know to be ready for it. However, this is not a cause for you to fall away, but to become empowered deeper within your Father’s Will and purpose. Temptation is not sin, but a threshold of sin where you make a personal choice to step aside from your Father or to obey Him. Temptation is opportunity to walk firmly in the track of YHWH’s righteousness! (“Disciples: Focused on the Messiah & His Purpose“; “Source & Solution of Temptations“)
You can resist Satan and his henchmen just as Yahshua [Jesus] did in the desert. Ephesians 6:17 reminds us that YHWH’s Word is a sword to use in spiritual warfare. Knowing is great, but obeying is the proof of your love, your devotion to Him. Even Satan had memorized scripture, but he failed to obey it, just as most of the world does today. When you know and obey, the Bible helps you to follow your Heavenly Father’s desires instead of Satan’s. (Luke 16:31)
Sometimes friends and associates will present attractive and convincing reasons why you should try something you know is wrong. They may even find Bible verses that seem to support their viewpoint. Be certain to study the Bible carefully and in context to surrounding scriptures. In this way you come to a true understanding of YHWH’s principles for living and what He wants for you. Only when you seek the truth, understanding what the whole Bible says will you be able to recognize errors and see those errors for what they are. This is critical to the discernment that you need as you grow in spiritual maturity. Temptation comes into play when you ignore the discernment that the Holy Spirit has given to you or when you founder in self-focused ignorance. Satan is only too happy to keep you distracted from receiving the Holy Spirit and instead, taking on a religious spirit of man.