From time to time, you are tempted to follow your fleshly desires, to say things you should not say and to sin. Even Jesus was tempted. Luke 4:1-2a “Then Jesus, being filled with the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness, being tempted for forty days by the devil.” It is not wrong to be tempted. What is wrong is to yield to the temptation. Hebrews 4:15 “For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin.” Jesus did not yield to the temptations and sin. He was sinless.
You may think that you are the only one going through a temptation, but there are billions of people on this earth who are also being tempted. There are your brothers and sisters in Christ; they too are experiencing temptation. We all are being tempted. 1 Corinthians 10:13 “No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.” God is not sitting above you saying “let Us give My child this temptation to see if he or she will fall!” No, He does not tempt you. James 1:13 “Let no one say when he is tempted, ‘I am tempted by God’; for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone.” He loves you and wants you to succeed and live a life free from sin. The scripture says that “God is faithful.” He is not going to allow you to receive a temptation that you cannot resist. Instead, He will make a way of escape, a street around the temptation, a bridge over the temptation, or the ability to reverse your steps – some way for you to escape the temptation so that you do not succumb. It is your job to maintain a faithful heart, find the way out, and to take it.
Prayer should be one of the main weapons you use against temptation. In the Lord’s Prayer, in which Jesus taught His disciples to pray, He prayed to the Father, Matthew 6:13a “And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.” I encourage you to include this request as part of your daily prayers. When Jesus was in the Garden of Gethsemane before His trial and crucifixion, He was praying. Matthew 26:40-41 “Then He came to the disciples and found them sleeping, and said to Peter, ‘What! Could you not watch with Me one hour?’ Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” From this you can learn two elements in your battle against temptation – watching and prayer. Watching implies carefulness and vigilance on your part to see the approaching danger and potential pitfalls. Prayer enlists the aid of your heavenly Father. I assume that your spirit is willing and desirous to do God’s will. But for each of us, the flesh is weak and that is why you need to be watchful and prayerful.
You are blessed if you endure temptation. James 1:12-15 “Blessed is the man who endures temptation; for when he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him. Let no one say when he is tempted, ‘I am tempted by God’; for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone. But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed. Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death.” I see that James is describing the typical sin process. It begins when you see the desirability of sin and are tempted. Enticement results when you do not immediately reject the temptation but think more about the pleasure of the sin and the desire builds. Sin results when you yield to your desire. If you repent and confess your sin, you receive forgiveness and the process stops. 1 John 1:9 “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” If you keep your sin and allow it to become full-grown, it brings forth spiritual death.
This is my encouragement to you. Hebrews 4:14-16 “Seeing then that we have a great High Priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”