This passage is so much more than temptation, but I thought we could focus a bit on that today.
What tempts you? If you’re on a diet, maybe a juicy hamburger and fries is your hot button. If you’re trying to cut down on sweets, maybe it’s a piece of dark chocolate cake. Non-food temptations may be laziness or the opposite, over-working. Evil temptations are deeper than these examples, yet the motivations are similar.
When evil steps in to put a desire on our heart, it is generally not a helpful thing. But evil, being evil, will make it seem enticing. We are then quick to justify and let the temptation overtake us.
This passage is clear. Temptations are not from God. He cannot be tempted, nor does he tempt. It is all in our heads! It starts with an evil desire and blossoms from there.
Can you think of examples from your life where you were enticed to do the wrong thing? Maybe it was telling a “white lie” to make a situation sound better. Maybe it was looking on your neighbor’s paper during a math quiz. Maybe it was driving over the speed limit because you were in a hurry.
Zing! That last one got me!
There is another passage that really helps put this into perspective. 1 Corinthians 10:13 says, “The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you can endure.”
God is faithful. Evil is not. Evil will deceive us and fail us. God will never fail us. He provides us a way out when we are tempted. The promise is here for us. The passage doesn’t say God will not allow any “trial” beyond what we can stand as many people often interpret. So be careful in that regard.
Today’s reading also talks of trials, but the promise is different. If we are to withstand our trials and persevere, then we will receive the crown of life. Our final reward is with our Father, forever. If that doesn’t bring us joy, I don’t know what can. So to be clear, we’re not to be joyful for the trial, but to consider it pure joy when a trial comes knowing you will grow stronger from it.
In either case, trials or temptations, it is important for us to remember that “Every good and perfect gift is from above…” God wants the best for us. He created us for his own delight, and we are his. Find your joy!
Let’s pray. Heavenly father I thank you for the life you have given me. Forgive me for when I let temptations take hold of me. I know you have given me the way out. I need to do a better job of looking for that provision. I thank you, too, for how I am growing in perseverance as we walk through the challenges and trial of life together. Knowing I am not alone is such a comfort and brings me joy. May the joy I feel overflow to others around me. Use me this day, and may I walk in your perfect will. In Jesus’ name. Amen.