“No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.” -1 Corinthians 10:13
What tempts you? Alcohol? Lying? Sex? Violence? We’re all tempted to some extent, and we’re all tempted by different things. I want to debunk a myth right off the bat: temptation is not a sin. Just because you are tempted to look at porn doesn’t mean that you have sinned. Just because you are tempted to swing a punch when you’re angry doesn’t mean you’re sinning. If temptation was sinful, Jesus would have sinned, making him incapable of dying for our sins. We are tempted by our human flesh and by Satan, the “tempter” as he is called in Matthew 4. Temptation only becomes sinful when we act on the temptation. Read Matthew 4:1-11.
What can we gather from this passage of Scripture?
1. It’s okay to be tempted. We covered this already. When we are tempted, we are not yet sinning. It is only if we give in to temptation that we sin.
2. Jesus counters temptation with Scripture. When we are tempted, we stand no chance if we are not familiar with the Word of God. The bible is our main offense against the enemy. Ephesians 6:17 says, “And take...the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.” God’s Word is our sword that we can use at all times to attack the temptation that comes our way.
3. Temptation prepares us for ministry. After Jesus is finished with the temptation, he begins his ministry. Temptation is often a good test of our character and our faith. When we have strong character and faith in God, then we are able to minister; this is often shown on the outside by our ability to overcome temptation.
4. If Jesus was tempted without sin then we, too, have hope of the same. Hebrews 2:18 says, “For because he himself has suffered when tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.” Jesus was fully God and fully human. Because he was completely human, he was tempted in exactly the same way as us. And because he is fully God, he is able to give us the power we need to overcome.
Do not be discouraged in the midst of temptation, but “Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness.” (James 1:2) Know God’s Word and be confident that Jesus knows what you are facing and can provide you with the power to overcome it.