Fighting Temptation – Defining Temptation

14 04 2010

Fighting temptation describes a battle that is as much spiritual as it is emotional or physical. To be tempted is not a sin. Everyone is tempted and at different levels. Even Jesus was tempted! Temptation happens when the opportunity is presented to do what we know is wrong, whether against God, ourselves, or others. Being tempted is not wrong – it’s the decision to do wrong and the corresponding action that follows.

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. When God asked Abraham to sacrifice his son Isaac, Abraham was being tested – both his heart to obey God and his ability to trust Him (Genesis 22). God’s Word clearly states that He tries the heart and tests for faith. Proverbs 17:3 says, “The crucible for silver and the furnace for gold, but the LORD tests the heart.”

At the time we are experiencing it, we may not be able to distinguish the difference between
testing and temptation. Afterward, if we are seeking God’s purposes in our dilemma, we will likely understand God’s intent.

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. James 1:12-16 discusses the process of being tempted, “Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him. When tempted, no one should say, (God is tempting me.) For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; but each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death. Don’t be deceived, my dear brothers.”


To be Continued



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