The Devil Offers You Something Good Ahead of Time
One way the devil tempts you is to offer you something good ahead of time. He offers you something now that he knows you’re going to get later. In this, the devil is very subtle. You can have what you want now, if you’re willing to disobey God. And it doesn’t seem to be a big deal to disobey God. The thing the devil’s offering you is good and God is going to give it to you later, anyway. Furthermore, God is merciful and forgiving.
The Devil Offered Jesus the Kingdoms of the World
We see the classic example of this temptation in Lk 4:5-7. The devil offered Jesus all the kingdoms of the world. Jesus could have had all the power and glory of the kingdoms right then. At the time of this temptation, Jesus knew that he would get them in Rev 11:15. But he also knew that to get them he would have to suffer first, wait around 2,000 years, and then finally receive the kingdoms. To get the kingdoms right then, Jesus only had to bow down and worship the devil. Worshipping the devil was certainly a lot less complicated and torturous than dying on the cross with the sins of all men on him.
But Jesus didn’t budge. Jesus knew that to get this power and glory right then he would have to disobey Deut 6:13. This verse says, “Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve”. Rather than disobey God, Jesus obeyed God and rejected the devil’s offer. Of course, we’re all glad that he obeyed God. We would have no redeemer if he had given in to this temptation. God the Father put everything at risk by allowing his Son to endure this temptation. Thankfully, Jesus passed the test.
Achan Took Some of the Spoil Ahead of Time
Another example of this temptation is in Jos 6:17-19, 7:10-12, 19-21. When the men of Israel destroyed Jericho, Joshua told them not to take any of the spoil. All the silver, gold and other spoil was consecrated to the Lord. However, when Achan saw a Babylonish garment, two hundred shekels of silver, and a wedge of gold he coveted and took them. Because of his disobedience, Israel was accursed and 36 men died in the first battle against Ai. When Achan confessed, all Israel took him, his sons and daughters, his oxen, his asses, his sheep, and his tent and all that he had, and stoned them and burned them with fire. If only Achan had waited till Ai, he could have taken the spoil for a prey, Jos 8:2, 27. And Ai wasn’t the only city from which the men of Israel took the spoil, Jos 11:14. He could have had much more than he took.
You see, the devil will tempt you with something good that he knows God is going to give you later. Because the thing is good, the temptation is tougher to resist. However, to have what he’s offering you now, you’ll have to disobey God. And that’s ultimately what the devil wants you to do.
Fornication is Taking the Marriage Bed Ahead of Time
One of the most common areas for this type of temptation is fornication. Take for example, a young couple who love each other enough that one day they could get married. The devil offers them the marriage bed ahead of time. And why shouldn’t they begin to enjoy this privilege? They love each other. Yet, when they give into this temptation, they disobey God. God said, “Flee fornication… he that committeth fornication sinneth against his own body”, 1 Cor 6:18. This sin does something to your relationship with Christ that no other sin can do.
The Devil Offers You Glory Now Instead of Later
Another common area of temptation is the offer of glory now. The devil will take a young man with the potential to do some good things for God and tempt him with some success and glory now. In 1 Pet 5:1, 4-6 and 4:12-13, Peter knew that he was going to partake in Christ’s glory. However, he also knew that to be crowned with glory, he had to suffer now and be clothed with humility. The devil really delights in building a young man up in pride, because he knows that God resisteth the proud. He encourages the young man to exalt himself now in an attempt to destroy him. Don’t fall for this temptation. If you remain humble, God will exalt you in due time.
When the devil tempts you with something good that God doesn’t want you to have till later, you must resist the devil, Jas 4:7. Resist the temptation to have now in disobedience what God will give you later as a result of your obedience. If you take it now, you’ll lose it later. Achan lost his life and the spoil. Jesus would have lost the kingdoms. And you will forfeit the glory if you take it now.