Should Temptations be considered Trials
April 13th 2017
A Christian should recognize that there is victory available to him or her at all times and that is because a Believer can never get into a temptation that he or she cannot get out of. The apostle Paul explains that no temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man:
No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it. [1 Cor 10:13 NASB]
Temptation (Gr: peirasmos) means to test or prove. This word has no negative connotation associated with it. If we resist the temptation in God’s power, it becomes a test that has proven our faithfulness. If we do not resist the temptation, it becomes a solicitation to sin. The Bible uses this term in both ways, and the apostle Paul has both meanings in mind here in 1 Corinthians 10:13. Thus, whether a temptation becomes a proof of righteousness or an inducement to evil depends upon our response to it.
God’s tests are never a solicitation to evil. James strongly corrects those who suggest such a thing. “Let no one say when he is tempted, ‘I am being tempted by God’; for God cannot be tempted by evil, and He Himself does not tempt anyone” (Jms 1:13). “By evil” is the key to the difference between the two types of temptation. A temptation becomes an inducement to evil only when a person “is carried away and enticed by his own lust. Then when lust has conceived, it gives birth to sin” (Jms 1:14–15).
God often brings circumstances into our lives to test us. Like Job we usually do not at the time recognize them as tests. Our response to them proves our faithfulness or unfaithfulness. How we react to social issues, health problems, financial difficulty, work-place conflict, or various encounters will constantly test our faith and our reliance upon God. If we do not turn to Him the same circumstances can make us angry, bitter, jaded, and resentful. Rather than thanking God for the actual test, as James advises, we run the risk of actually accusing God for the hardship. Daily opportunities to “stretch the truth,” to cheat on a test at school, or to take advantage of a situation at work will either prove our righteousness or prove our weakness. The circumstance or the opportunity is only a test. That test is neither good nor evil in itself. Whether it results in good or evil, spiritual growth or spiritual decline, depends entirely upon our response to it.
Thus the Christian realizes that temptations will always come their way. God, thankfully, provides three ways for us to endure temptation: prayer, trust, and focusing on the Lord Jesus Christ.
Jesus told His disciples in Mark 14:38, “Keep watching and praying, that you may not come into temptation”. If we don’t pray, we can be sure a test will turn into temptation. The first thing we must do when faced with a test or a trial is to pray. We must turn to our heavenly Father and put the matter before Him. When we pray we must pray believing that the Lord will answer.
Next, the Christian must trust God. We trust that God has allowed trials to come into our lives for our good in order to prove our faithfulness and to teach us something. God has a purpose for everything that comes into our lives. When we are tested or tempted we should gladly endure it in His power and by trusting in Him and His perfect plan for us.
Lastly, we must focus on our Lord Jesus Christ in every trial: “For consider Him who has endured such hostility by sinners against Himself, so that you may not grow weary and lose heart. You have not yet resisted to the point of shedding blood in your striving against sin” (Heb 12:3-4). Christ endured much more than we could ever be called on to endure ourselves. We must praise Him for that! Christ, having lived a sinless life despite all temptations, understands our trials and has achieved the victory that we must rest in.