“Nobody sins out of duty. We sin because we believe sin’s promise of pleasure.” I didn’t say this. John Piper did, so you know it’s true. In this post we will discuss 3 temptations all men face. Keep reading to be warned about those little, yet not so little, foxes that chase us all.
So why do we sin? Because we want to, it feels good, and because we get pleasure in some way. That’s why we do it.
The question is not if you will be tempted. The question is how, when, where, with what or with whom you will be tempted. Three of Jesus’ apostles—the men Jesus personally selected to follow Him—faced temptations of doubt, greed and pride.
Oh, and they failed. If they failed, what hope do you and I have? I’m here to give you hope. But first, let’s talk.
Catch the foxes for us—the little foxes that ruin the vineyards—for our vineyards are in bloom. —Song of Solomon 2:15
As we look at these three temptations that all men face, or “little foxes”, please look inward and consider your behavior. Maybe these temptations aren’t so little in your life. If the Apostles aren’t above them, neither are we. Now, I get it. This list isn’t exhaustive. But, it’s a good start.
1 The temptation of doubt.
Thomas is the example of doubt in Scripture. John 20:24 writes that Thomas said, “If I don’t see the mark of the nails in His hands, put my finger into the mark of the nails, and put my hand into His side, I will never believe!”
What does doubt look like to you? It isn’t wrong to study and discover the evidence that leads us to believe in Jesus. You have doubts. Awesome, now go ask questions and find answers. Honest doubt implies seeking. Struggle until you make decisions. Struggle until you change your behavior.
How do you combat doubt? You combat doubt with trust and belief. James 1:6-8 says:
But let him ask in faith without doubting. For the doubter is like the surging sea, driven and tossed by the wind. 7 That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. 8 An indecisive man is unstable in all his ways.
Dad, your job in biblical fatherhood isn’t to know every answer your child asks. Your responsibility is to show your child God through your behavior. You will have more authority when you learn to say the words: “I’m not sure. Let’s find out together.”
2 The temptation of greed.
Read Matthew 26:6-16,20-25 and you’ll meet Judas. Judas betrayed Christ for 30 pieces of silver. He would turn Jesus over to the Jewish leaders, which led to Jesus’ death on the cross.
What does greed look like to you? Greed comes in many forms and will have you constantly thirsty for that next thing. It is that elusive desire for “more” where “more” isn’t clearly defined.
Let me explain, greed isn’t wanting or owning nice things. Greed is the lifestyle that constantly seeks after those things and never finds contentment.
How do you combat greed? You combat greed with contentment. 1 Timothy 6:17-19 says:
Instruct those who are rich in the present age not to be arrogant or to set their hope on the uncertainty of wealth, but on God, who richly provides us with all things to enjoy. 18 Instruct them to do what is good, to be rich in good works, to be generous, willing to share,19 storing up for themselves a good reserve for the age to come, so that they may take hold of life that is real.
Dad, watch out for greed in your life and guard against it in your home. Part of intentionally discipling your child may mean practicing contentment and modeling it for your kids. The holidays are coming up. Nothing wrong with loving on your kids with gifts. But, maybe, just maybe, you could use this opportunity show your kids the importance of serving others.
3 The temptation of pride.
Peter fell into this temptation and denied he even knew Jesus three times . But Peter knew he had sinned; he learned the lesson and repented. Years later, Peter wrote these words to other Christians in 1 Peter 5:5-9:
All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because, “God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble.” Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. . . . Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith.
What does pride look like to you?
Pride comes in where you least expect it. For instance, caring what people think can be healthy. However, there’s a problem when all you care about is what people think. We’ve all seen the difference in these too desires.
How do you combat pride?
You combat pride with humility. Proverbs 11:2 says: When pride comes, disgrace follows, but with humility comes wisdom.
Dad, you can take the lead in combating pride with humility. The godly husband and father knows how to live humbly with his wife and kids. I have not perfected this yet. But apparently, there’s a demeanor and tone in which some dads report gaining respect in their home instead of getting angry and sinning.
Here’s the deal: Spend time with God each morning, pray without stopping through the day and think back to Thomas, Judas and Peter as you face temptation. Remind yourself that God is all-powerful and you’re not. Put others’ needs above your own. Be thankful to God for what He’s given you. Do these things and the little foxes will chase you—but they won’t ruin you. These are temptations that all men face. Will you be one to fight against them?
Find this post helpful?
Most of this post comes from our Working Well Guides exploring God’s design for work and responsibility. Learn more about leading your son through the Working Well 1 on 1 Guide and leading a group through the Working Well Group Guide.
Here’s what’s covered in these guides:
- Seeing work through God’s eyes
- Working to develop character
- Satisfying work
- Working to serve God and others
- Resisting Satan’s fiery arrows at work
- Charting the future