Summary: We all face temptation and we are solely responsibility for our actions.
Text: 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 (James 1:13).
What is temptation? Temptation is an enticement, an appeal, an attraction which tends to lead someone to commit an immoral or sinful act.
Is there anyone present who has never been tempted? I believe we have all been tempted at some point in our lifetime. Every time we were faced with a situation that we knew was wrong or that we should not do, but looked so good that we gave it second thoughts, we were tempted. As adults we are faced with temptation every day. The important thing is how we react to that temptation.
Story: “The Man Who was Tempted”
A man in a responsible position, entrusted with large sums of money, was one day tempted to put some of the cash to his own account. He knew that it would be a long time before his theft could be discovered.
He resisted the temptation, but felt that he must tell somebody the anguish of mind through which he had passed. He went, therefore, to the man who had occupied the position before him, and told him all about the temptation, and how he had almost fallen.
To his surprise, the man did not reprove him, but put his hand on his shoulder in a fatherly sort of way. “I know exactly how you felt,” he said quietly. “I went through it all myself when I occupied your position.”
How good it is to know that we have One who was “in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.”
Temptation itself is not a sin. Temptation is not a bad thing. Temptation will not send you to Hell. The real problem arises when we are tempted and we give in to that temptation.
Temptation has been around for a long time. In fact, Adam and Eve were the first ones ever tempted. Temptation is a test which demonstrates a person’s obedience or disobedience. If one has never had the opportunity to disobey or one has never been tempted, that person would have no way to show or display true obedience.
Adam and Eve were given the best of everything. They were placed in a beautiful garden. They did not have to labor or work. God provided for all their needs. At this point, they could do no wrong, but God did not want complete control or He didn’t want people that He could manipulate lake puppets on a string. He wanted people to be able to decide things for themselves. He wanted Adam and Eve to have a mind that would enable them to make choices.
God gave Satan an opportunity to test Adam and Eve by temptation. Satan was a created being and could do nothing without God’s permission. Satan is in the world this very day trying to lure people away from God. This is God’s way of testing His children. Satan will never be the winner or the victor because God is in control and God has already revealed his destiny to us.
Did it ever cross your mind that Adam and Eve had available to them a means to resist Satan’s temptation? Yes, they did have a means to resist Satan’s temptation. In fact, they had the same means to resist temptation that you and I have today. What is that you asked?
To start with, we have to know we are being tempted. Then we have to ask the Father to give us strength to resist that temptation. God’s answer to us might be to move away from the temptation. When we realize we are being tempted or enticed with something that will lead to sin, we simply say “No!”
God tested the Israelites as they wandered around in the desert for forty years. He wanted them to follow all His commandments. He wanted to see if they were going to be obedient to His Word. Life was not easy for them, but God needed to know that He was first in their heart. He was checking their commitment to Him. He wanted them to know that everything they had and everything they needed came from Him. They were hungry and He fed them.
As long as they stayed true to God, He took care of them. This is true for us today. If God occupies first place in our heart and we obey His commands, we are in good hands. If we remain faithful to Him, He will remain faithful to us. Temptation will come our way, but this is His way of testing us. Every temptation is a challenge. A strong faith in God will permit us to hold up under pressure and stress.