In war, like in sports, sometimes subtle, disguised attacks are more effective than a direct frontal attack.  The same is true of our spiritual battles with Satan and his forces.  As the god of this world (1 John 5:19) he uses the lust of the flesh to tempt us to materialism, greed, ungodly sexual lust, overeating, drugs and alcohol and other ways.  He works through the ‘wisdom’ of the world to oppose God’s truth.  He’ll work through false teaching, even that which appears ‘Christian,’ to set us on the wrong path.  He’ll use sorrow and suffering to get us to question God’s love and care for us.  He’ll even cause us to wonder why God allows us to be attacked by Satan.  Why does our sovereign, loving, just God allow this to happen?

God created mankind with a free will because He wants people to choose to follow Him, not be forced to because they have to alternative.  That started in Eden with Adam and Eve.  He allows us to choose to obey Him or instead reject Him and follow Satan.  Satan is allowed to tempt us because we have options: follow God or Satan (Job 1:12).  His purpose is to turn us from God (1 Peter 5:8).   Even when we struggle or fail, God uses it for good (Romans 8:28; Genesis 50:20).  He uses it to bring us back to Him if we are in sin, and to show us His glory as He forgives, restores and brings victory out of defeat.

We must learn to see attacks and temptations as opportunities to trust.  Instead of wondering why God allows them, view them as a chance to faithfully trust and follow God no matter what.  That’s what Job did when attacked by Satan (Job 1:21-22).  Joseph in the Old Testament did that as well.

James 1:13–15 says it quite well:  “When tempted, no one should say, “God is tempting me.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone;  but each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed.  Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.”

James is writing this to correct those who excuse their sinning by blaming it on God.  “God allows it when He could prevent it.”  “God isn’t removing it from me and I can’t resist.”  “This is just the way God made me.”  None of these are true or accurate.  All are lies.  James clearly states that God has nothing to do with sin.  He is untemptable and He never is responsible for tempting anyone.  He allows man a free will to choose what to do and not do, the rest is up to us.  Just because He does not interfere with our free will by removing the temptation does not mean He is in any way responsible for our sinful responses.  He tests for the purpose of stretching and strengthening us but He never tempts for the purpose of getting us to sin!  Never!

We are “dragged away and enticed by our own evil desires.”  The Greek word translated “dragged away” is used of a fish drawn from its hiding place.  “Enticed” in Greek means “to bait, to catch a fish with bait or hunt with snares.”  James is saying we build and bait our own traps.  God cannot be blamed.

So why does God allow demons to attack us?  He does it so we will grow in our faith as we learn how to fight for victory.  He also does it so we have opportunities to trust Him and glorify Him as we see Him work in and through us.  He does it because He honors our free will.  He doesn’t force us to sin, neither does He force us to not sin.  It is our choice to make, and when we make the choice He steps in and helps us have victory over the temptation, oppression or demonic attacks.  (January 1, 2024  Doylestown, PA)

Genesis 50:20  You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.

How has God used temptations and sufferings you faced in the past to help you grow in your faith?

Why might He be allowing temptations and trials to come against you now?

What can you do today to better trust Him and resist that which comes against you?



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