Temptation is all around us. We long for things that make us feel good. We long for things that we can own. We long for positive recognition and affirmation from others. These are the three avenues the enemy of God pursues in his effort to distract you from sharing God’s love with others. You will be tempted with pleasure, wealth, and prestige on a daily basis. It’s up to you to identify the source of these distractions and keep yourself pointed in the right direction.
Of course, there’s nothing wrong with seeking pleasure, as long as it doesn’t interfere with your ability to love your neighbor. All things are to be consumed in moderation – too much of anything can become a problem. There is far more personal value in serving God by serving others than there is in any amount of personal consumption. The enemy uses food to distract some, various forms of intoxication to distract many, and an over indulgence in physical intimacy to distract others. Don’t be fooled! This is the enemy’s misdirection designed to keep you focused on yourself and distracted from the needs of others.
Like pleasure, there is nothing inherently wrong with seeking wealth. Wealth can be an enormous benefit in doing the work of God. Wealth becomes a problem when we start trusting our bank account more than we trust God. And the pursuit of wealth can become a distraction when we are more focused on a new house, new car, or big vacation rather than helping others. Obviously, your immediate family will all benefit from your extravagant spending; however, in the long run, some careful consideration needs to be given to the needs of those less fortunate. Keep in mind, every dollar you earn is a gift from God – don’t let the enemy tell you otherwise.
It feels nice to be recognized by others as being valuable in some way. God wants you to achieve this blessing by serving others. The enemy wants you to achieve prestige by demonstrating dominance over others. If your desire is to be better than everyone else, you are pointed in the wrong direction. If your desire is to be the best at providing for others, you are on the right path. Always remain humble before God. Every talent you possess is a gift from God. Everything you accomplish in this world is a blessing from God.
If we carefully consider what God wants from us, it’s unlikely the enemy will be able to move us off in the wrong direction. Simply put, when we put others first, we are following God’s plan for our lives. The temptation to seek our own pleasure, wealth, or prestige over the needs of others, is easily identified as misdirection when we put God first in our lives. Don’t let temptation control you! Let God work in and through you to accomplish His will.