Summary: Three truths about trials and temptations.
The Three Truths
I was speaking to someone the other day and I am not sure exactly how it happened, but somehow we began talking about temptation. Has anyone here ever thought about this subject? This is something that if we begin thinking about can be quite perplexing. Therefore, today I want to speak to you about the three truths about of temptation that we all need to know. We will realize that: Life is full of trials and temptations, that there exists a purpose for trials and temptations and lastly, how to conquer our trial and temptations. Let’s now open our bibles to a passage dealing with the trials and temptations of believers.
1 Peter 1:6-9 - Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations: 7 That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ: 8 Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory: 9 Receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls.
The first truth we find in verse six, Peter is telling us that life is full of trials and temptations. All we have to do is look around and see that life is bombarded with all kinds of trials. What am I talking about? I am talking about things like sickness, ridicule, criticism, disease, abuse, loneliness, suffering, loss, emptiness, sorrow, disappointment. In fact the list can be so long that I would never be able to list them all. Am I right? Has any one here ever suffered any one of these things? Has anyone here ever been tempted? I am talking about being tempted to things like: greed, immorality, drugs, alcohol, envy, deceit, jealousy or uncleanness. The list of trials and temptations in the world are as unlimited as acts of behavior. For every act there can be the sin of too much or the sin of too little, the sins of commission or the sins of omission. Life is abundant with trials and temptations.
This is especially true with genuine believers, for believers to stand in opposition to the selfish, immoral, greedy, and lustful ways of the world. This goes against the grain of the world because the world is in opposition to God. All we have to do is look around to see that this is true Therefore, the world often persecutes believers who proclaim the need for man to turn to God. The world persecutes believers through ridicule, mockery, abuse, and perhaps the one that hurts the most is silence. Every genuine believer who lives for Christ is persecuted to some degree, no matter what society he lives. This was the case with the believers to whom Peter was writing. They were being severely persecuted because of their stand for Christ. They had been forced to flee for their lives and to leave everything behind. They were suffering trial after trial, experiencing what we see so often portrayed in the media: people flooding the roadways fleeing with whatever possessions they can carry by fleeing the tyranny of the persecution of dictators and evil men. Like I said before, the fact of trials and temptations is clear for all to see, we live in a world of trials and temptation.
But, two very important things are said here: "Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations." In other words it is telling us that trials and temptations are only for a season; they are only for a little while, for a short time. The idea is that our salvation is at hand; we shall soon be delivered from the sufferings of this earth. The problem is that trials and temptations cause a heaviness within us.
They make us grieve, cause additional stress, pressure, and mental anguish. We all know what it is to feel heavy and weighed down with grief; to suffer stress and pressure; to be mentally in anguish, wondering, questioning, and suffering under the weight of a trial. As we walk throughout life, we are bombarded with all kinds of trials and temptations. Our human experience proves it. But why face it? Why think about it? Why not ignore the fact, think positively, and look at only the good and move on? There is one reason: facts cannot be handled unless they are dealt with. Ignoring and denying trial, and temptations will not conquer them, not permanently and not eternally. The only way we can ever conquer anything--no matter the trial or temptation--is to squarely face it and fight against it. What does Jesus say about this subject?