Tackling Temptation


August 22nd 2023

#31: Tackling Temptation

Ever wondered how to counter the lure of temptation? Let’s explore the complex nature of temptation and how it intersects with our boundaries and struggles with sin. 


This episode is your guide, leading you through the entangled maze of solitude and temptation, connecting you back to the Garden of Eden and tracing the thread right up to the temptation of Jesus in the desert.

Explore the intricate equation of temptation and isolation, and discover how it is intended to mislead us from our authentic destiny.

Let’s arm ourselves and head into battle with the shield of faith!

Drawing insights from Priscilla Scheyer’s study on the Armor of God, this episode emphasizes the significance of community in combating temptation.

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Uncover the power of the ‘turtle formation’ and how it symbolizes collective strength against the fiery darts of the evil one.

Remember, Jesus stands ready to meet us in our moments of temptation. Join the ranks of the mighty men and women of God as we navigate through these trials with Jesus, scripture, and a supportive community at our side.

Transcription: Tackling Temptation

Andrea Smithberger [00:00:00]:

You’re following Jesus. You’ve got an accountability partner or two and you’ve set up boundaries. So this should all be adding up to erasing temptation, right? Wrong. I know that’s annoying and frustrating, but there is no X plus Y equals zero temptation. So what do we do? Let’s consider another set of variables, because temptation plus isolation, now that’s an equation to be aware of. Together we’ll flip back through the Old Testament to see how it points to your temptation and Jesus and a weapon. First. We have eve.

Andrea Smithberger [00:00:41]:

I think that we forget that Adam and Eve were the only two humans living among animals in a lush garden. So maybe a serpent moving towards Eve wouldn’t have been so shocking to her. But Satan was on a mission and his goal was to get her alone from the beginning. This first story of lies and deception shows us it’s important to recognize temptation as a slippery beast slithering through humanity since the beginning of time to get you alone. Even now, staying in the book of Genesis, we have two brothers, Jacob and Esau. Jacob is the quiet homebody, and Esau is the expert outdoorsman. Esau’s been hunting. He’s starving.

Andrea Smithberger [00:01:26]:

And Jacob is cooking a stew of lentils. Esau begs him for some of the stew and Jacob says, sure, give me your birthright. What? He finds himself one on one with his brother, who has food. And Jacob, starving for power, finds himself one on one with his brother, who needs food. Esau agrees to sell his birthright to give up his inheritance for some bread and lentils. So let’s park it here for a second, because how many times have you been in the midst of temptation and find you can’t think of anything other than what is right in front of you? Yes, that bowl of lentils seem small and insignificant, but you can feel the weight of it. When we say yes to anything other than God, we can find ourselves trading in our inheritance. The inheritance God sets you apart for, for something less.

Andrea Smithberger [00:02:24]:

These two examples alone reveal and connect us to the brokenness in all of us from the beginning of time. They highlight how isolation is the key to temptation, and we see that with Jesus. Matthew Four shows us that as Jesus newly baptized hair, still damp from the waters of the Jordan, follows the Spirit’s lead into the desert, and Jesus is alone in the desert. Notice how the equation changes now that temptation plus isolation. Meet Jesus. Satan has Jesus one on one, and he’s trying to seduce his body, his identity and his calling. Jesus knows what it feels like to have that temptation hunt you down. Jesus endured his enemy.

Andrea Smithberger [00:03:12]:

He fought back with scripture. He pressed into the deception with truth about his body, his identity and his calling. He did that for you. So Jesus gets it. He gets the powerful pool of Satan’s offer in such a real way that later on, when the disciples ask Jesus how to pray, he teaches us to say, and do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from the Evil One. Jesus sympathizes and understands our weaknesses and teaches us to fight our temptation. Jesus gets what it’s like to be tempted. He knows exactly how it feels to be human in every respect, as we are, yet without committing sin in Christ.

Andrea Smithberger [00:03:57]:

With Christ, because of Christ, is when you can recognize that something pulling you away from who you are called to be. That there’s a tension there. You can feel it. The tension of temptation exists because you hear, you know, you believe, deep down, God wants something better. For you, this is a perfect opportunity to say out loud, god, I want this. I want him. I want her. But I feel attention.

Andrea Smithberger [00:04:27]:

It’s mud in my feet. It’s a swirling in my head. It’s a clenching in my gut. What do you want from me? I believe you want something better. Okay, let’s talk practical. What does this fight against temptation look like in real life? Community is good and necessary. In this fight against temptation, get in community with other believers. Faith plus community equals strength.

Andrea Smithberger [00:04:57]:

There’s an equation. Let’s turn to ephesians six, because we’re going to see one way to move against temptation. But let’s go beyond memorizing the armor of God, to put the armor of God into action. Specifically, your shield. I want to focus on the shield because it covers your body, your torso and your heart. Your shield is a vital covering. Scripture says, in every situation, take up the shield of faith with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the Evil One. When the Evil One wants to get you, his first move is to isolate you, get you one on one.

Andrea Smithberger [00:05:37]:

He loves a lonely environment to work his manipulation so he can try seducing you away from who you are working to be. He will aim flaming arrows at your body, your identity and your calling. Extinguish those arrows, take up your shield, and assume the Turtle Formation. Okay. The Turtle Formation. This is so good. I learned this from Priscilla Shire in the study. The armor of God.

Andrea Smithberger [00:06:05]:

When the flaming darts of the enemy started to fly, roman soldiers would dip their shields into water, huddle together, and hoist their shields over their heads. Their shields had hooks on them so that they could link together. Together, shields linked. Not a shield on its own. Together, shields linked. In Turtle Formation, they not only deflected the arrows, they extinguished the arrows. We are designed for community. We are better together.

Andrea Smithberger [00:06:36]:

And when seduction comes calling, take up your shield and have other soldiers on call to help you in battle. Fight Satan’s equation of temptation and isolation by busting through with Jesus with your shield and take up the Turtle Formation. Jesus knows to expect temptation for you, and he is ready to meet you. In the midst of our temptation, when we endure, through it, we place ourselves with mighty, holy men and women of God. This is.

Discussion Questions:

  1. How does the concept of temptation and isolation resonate with you personally?
  2. In what ways have you experienced the slippery nature of temptation in your own life?
  3. How do the stories of Eve, Jacob, and Esau highlight the connection between isolation and temptation?
  4. What does it mean for Jesus to sympathize and understand our weaknesses in the face of temptation?
  5. How can we effectively fight against temptation in our daily lives?


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