“There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.”
The definition of temptation is an act that looks appealing to an individual. It is usually used to describe acts with negative connotations and as such, tends to lead a person to regret such actions, for various reasons: legal, social, psychological (including feeling guilt), health, economic, etc. Temptation also describes the coaxing or inducing a person into committing such an act, by manipulation or otherwise of curiosity, desire or fear of loss.
Temptation is as old as mankind, beginning in the Garden of Eden. When Satan tempted Eve to do what God had forbidden, he appealed to her reasoning. God wants us to succeed and prevail over temptation, but Satan, God’s sworn enemy, longs to devour us. The Bible says, “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: Whom resist stedfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world.” 1 Peter 5:8-9 KJV When Adam and Eve gave in to temptation in the Garden, and not obeying God as He desired, they yielded control of this physical world to Satan. His goal in our lives is two-fold: first, he wants to take us with him to hell. If he loses that battle because we become Christians, his goal is then to make us ineffective for God in this world. He uses temptation to carry out his purposes. The very essence and meaning of sin is to miss the mark, and this is accomplished through giving in to temptation. Sometimes we can confuse temptation with God’s testing of our hearts, but temptation and God’s testing are very different. Most of the time, though, what we’re experiencing is both. God’s testing presents the opportunity to do that which would please Him. At the time we are experiencing it, we may not be able to distinguish the difference between testing and temptation. Temptation can occur on many levels. We may be tempted to eat something we shouldn’t for health reasons, we may be trapped in a harmful pattern of thinking, or dangerously involved in a lifestyle that is harmful. In all cases, temptation is rarely a one-time event. Tests may occur more than once in similar ways, but temptation is almost always cyclical. In the Bible it discusses the process of being tempted, “Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him. Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man: But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death. Do not err, my beloved brethren.” James 1:12-16 KJV The Spirit’s role in this is not to directly tempt Jesus, for God cannot tempt any man, but rather, to lead Jesus to the situation where Satan would provide the temptations. Why was Jesus tempted? While Jesus was God, He was also man. Jesus hungered as a man, thirsted as a man, suffered as a man, and ultimately died as a man. He was also tempted as a man, yet without sin. The Bible says, “For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.” Hebrews 4:15 KJV This was necessary so that He could become a merciful High Priest. It says in the Bible, “Wherefore in all things it behoved him to be made like unto his brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people.” Hebrews 2:17 KJV This is where Jesus was tempted at in the Bible, “Then was Jesus led up of the spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil. And when he had fasted forty days and forty nights, he was afterward an hungred. And when the tempter came to him, he said, If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread. But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God. Then the devil taketh him up into the holy city, and setteth him on a pinnacle of the temple, And saith unto him, If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down: for it is written, He shall give his angels charge concerning thee: and in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone. Jesus said unto him, It is written again, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God. Again, the devil taketh him up into an exceeding high mountain, and sheweth him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them; And saith unto him, All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me. Then saith Jesus unto him, Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve. Then the devil leaveth him, and, behold, angels came and ministered unto him.” Matthew 4:1-11 KJV When fighting temptation, society’s solutions revolve around personal stamina and will-power. However as worthwhile as this may seem, the chances of success are minimal, due to the focus being on natural ability.The Bible Tell’s us clearly, the battle is not natural, but spiritual, “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.” Ephesians 6:12-13 KJV As an example to us, Jesus used the weapon of God’s Word in resisting temptations as it said in Matthew 4. Since He is the only human who has ever been tempted, yet did not sin, His example is a good one to follow. God knows how to provide a way to both get through temptation, and overcome temptation. Everybody faces temptation, even Jesus did. But how do we face temptation? Answer temptation with truth from God’s Word. See it as an opportunity to make God and His Word real in your life. So why not today open your heart to Jesus Christ because He is the One that died on the cross and shed His blood and paid the penalty for your sins so you could have the free gift of eternal life. Amen
By: Jeff Ellinger