“Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the body is weak.”
Temptation is a big issue! It’s the only practical issue as far as Satan is concerned – for it is his standard method of encouraging mankind to disobey God and so worship him instead. And it’s the standard way through which mankind is deceived into feeding the desires of his carnal nature and then falling yet again into the “tiger trap” which Satan carefully digs beneath the pathways, along which we journey through life.
Long before the days of wild-life conservation, in the days when local people in Asia had to protect themselves and their families from the carnivorous intent of this most fearsome of creatures, a tiger trap was the traditional way in which such a predatory beast could be caught, without risking life and limb in a hunt which could prove fatal to the hunter. A huge hole would be dug in the ground beneath a jungle path along which the tiger would be likely to go. The hole would be so deep that not even a tiger would be able to jump out of it. The top of the hole would then be covered with lightweight branches and then grass to make it look as though it was part of the pathway.
The hope was that the tiger would walk along the pathway and when it put its giant paws on one of the thin branches that covered the hole, the covering would give way and the huge weight of the tiger would take it down to the bottom of the pit from which there was no escape! This is a very accurate picture of how Satan lures us into his temptations – he sets a life-trap which we are deceived into thinking is OK, but in reality Satan has dug a pit beneath it in which he wants us to be caught.
So why do so many Christians fall into one of Satan’s ‘tiger traps’. I believe it’s because they only battle with the temptation, instead of exercising their authority over the tempter. No-one would willingly join hands with Satan – but people do succumb to his temptation. As soon as we recognise that we are facing temptation we need to take our eyes off the temptation itself and deal with the tempter. As soon as you realise who’s behind the temptation and that there is a pit beneath the deceptive covering, it’s much easier to walk away from it.
Don’t engage with the temptation – recognise who’s behind the temptation and deal with him! This is the thinking behind the wise words of James: “Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” (James 4:7).
Prayer: Forgive me, Lord, for the times when I have fallen into sin following temptation. Help me now, Lord, to recognise the traps of the enemy and who it is that lays them for me. Help me not to engage only with the struggle over the temptation, but to face directly the one who is the source of the temptation, deal with him and so walk away from the trap. In Jesus’s Name, Amen.