We think of temptation as a blinding neon light, a shout through a bullhorn, a shocking aroma—blatant and easily avoided. More often temptation comes as a fleeting glimpse, a gentle whisper, a pleasing whiff. As we become more spiritually mature, temptation becomes more subtle and less easy to distinguish. Our tempter is crafty and knows when neon no longer appeals to us.
When Satan tempted Jesus in the wilderness, he didn’t offer glitzy sleaze—he offered good things. Feed Yourself. Prove God’s power before the people. Take the kingdom the Father promised You. Subtle, and he even used Scripture. But Jesus saw the truth. What Satan offered wasn’t God’s will for Jesus at that time, in that way, or by those means.
To discern if that gentle whisper is from the Lord, self, or Satan, we must be so familiar with God’s Word and God’s ways that we can tell truth from lies.
“Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith” 1 Peter 5:8-9.