2004-10-27 - Tests Versus Temptations
Luke 4:13 (NIV) When the devil had finished all this tempting, he left him until an opportune time.
Does God tempt us? Does He test us? Let's take a look at His word and see. There is a significant difference between testing and tempting.
God never creates temptations for us:
James 1:13 (NIV) When tempted, no one should say, "God is tempting me". For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone.
God will test us to build us up. The evil one tempts us to tear us down. God wants us to succeed; the evil one wants us to fail.
1 Timothy 6:9 (NLT) But people who long to be rich fall into temptation and are trapped by many foolish and harmful desires that plunge them into ruin and destruction.
Why is it important to know the difference?
It helps me to distinguish between a test and a temptation. My reaction to both is different. With temptations, I run.
Proverbs 4:14-15 (NLT) Do not do as the wicked do or follow the path of evildoers. 15 Avoid their haunts. Turn away and go somewhere else.
With tests, I try to persevere, knowing that God is using the situations to build me up, to grow me up, and to make me more like Him.
1 Peter 5:9 (NLT) Take a firm stand against him, and be strong in your faith. Remember that your Christian brothers and sistersï»¿ all over the world are going through the same kind of suffering you are.
A test would be God allowing financial struggles to enter our lives. We can pass the test, but we need to adapt to the season of struggle. When we pass and enter a season of fewer struggles, we will be more frugal and less likely to fall into the trap of overspending.
Satan could place temptations in front of us during a test. During the financial struggle, he may tempt us to take a shortcut or to do something illegal to relieve our struggle. We must realize the test and persevere, just as we realize a temptation and run.
Satan appears in different forms. He may tempt us with pornography on the internet. If we fail the temptation, we are brought down. A wall rises between us and God. Satan wins; we fail. But, if we resist the temptation, Satan loses and we win.
1 Corinthians 10:13 (NLT) 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 can't stand up against it. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out, so that you will not give in to it.
Thank God for your tests and for giving you the strength to resist temptations. When you fail, repent and ask for His forgiveness.
God is always faithful. 1 John 1:7 (NLT) But if we are living in the light of God's presence, just as Christ is, then we have fellowship with each other, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, cleanses us from every sin.
Lord, help us to recognize the difference between a test and a temptation. Keep us fleeing from the evil one, and help us to persevere during the test. Thank you for loving us so much that you do not want us to stay the same, but rather grow to be more like you. In Christ's name, Amen.
Questions or Comments?