Summary: Shows the fallacies about temptation that often cause believers to succumb to it, demonstrating the total victory that we can find in Jesus Christ.
Temptation is a fact of life for all of us. As we know, even Jesus was tempted in the wilderness. So, the question arises, why are some people able to withstand the temptations while others are not? Why do some people come through temptation unscathed while others are completely ruined by temptation?
Now, I feel compelled to mention that temptation isn’t just a miniature devil whispering in your ear, “Do this. Do this. Don’t do that. Don’t do that.” Oftentimes, our temptations are simply derived from the circumstances of life.”
Let’s look at an example. Many times people who are believers have a tragedy in their families. It is often someone dying at a young age, or of an especially horrible disease. The temptation in the circumstance is to blame, and even resent, God because of what has happened. And many people do end up hating God after such tragic events. Countless others, however, rely on God for strength in these trialsome temptations and come out with an even stronger love for God. Why is it that some people can make it all the way, while others cannot? What is the secret?
In order to understand this issue more fully, it will help to look at three fallacies about temptation that the Bible addresses. I would suggest that those who fall, do so because they have bought into one (or more) of these lies. Those who make it all the way with Jesus are the ones who cling to the truth, because they recognize and reject these lies when they come. These lies are addressed by Paul in
1 Corinthians 10:13, “But remember that the temptations that come into your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will keep the temptation from becoming so strong that you cannot stand up against it. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you will not give in to it.”
Lie #1: NO ONE ELSE GOES THROUGH WHAT I’M GOING THROUGH
I actually heard of a pastor one time who was caught having adulterous affairs with several of his church members. Instead of repenting, as he should have, he explained to the church that his actions were excusable because his drive was much greater than that of normal men. So instead of voting to kick him out, they should have compassion on him because of his special condition. Thankfully, the church didn’t buy the same lie this pastor did. There is NO SUCH THING as “special cases” when it comes to sin. There are no people who are excused from sin, because they have more or different temptation than others. 1 Cor. 10:13 says, “But remember that the temptations that come into your life are no different from what others experience.”
Satan would love to convince you that you are alone in your temptation and alone in your trials for at least two reasons.
A. Some people attempt to justify their sin because of their special circumstances, as the pastor I told you about. Not only is this destructive because it leads a person into sinning instead of resisting temptation, but it is also destructive, because if someone doesn’t think they’re guilty they won’t confess, and as John says in 1 John 1:9, “But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us and to cleanse us from every wrong.”
I don’t believe that a single unconfessed sin will send a believer straight to hell. But, by this person not confessing their sin, they are destroying their relationship with God. Eventually the sin will so rule in their life that there is no room for God.
B. When people think that they are the only one experiencing a particular temptation, they will be reluctant to seek help from other believers. As we know, God’s design for the church is to be a body of believers helping one another. One of the major functions of the church is to be an encouragement to each other.
Romans 14:19 So then, let us aim for harmony in the church and try to build each other up.
1 Thessalonians 5:11,14 11 So encourage each other and build each other up, just as you are already doing. 14 Brothers and sisters, we urge you to warn those who are lazy. Encourage those who are timid. Take tender care of those who are weak. Be patient with everyone.
When I’m going through temptation, I should be able to count on the church to help me through. But when someone gets the idea that nobody else will understand, because nobody else is going through what they’re going through, they won’t go to other believers for help. Without that help, there is a very slim chance of them making it through the temptation. Many of the most difficult sins to break free from are also “shameful” sins. People are afraid to seek help, because they think that other people won’t understand, and that because of that, others will judge them.