The lesson of Temptation in our life is one in recognition and then avoidance. There are other words we can use in our vocabulary that denote a more positive meaning of the consideration of something - like persuasion. But the word Temptation carries along with it the enticement and alluring of one to something forbidden.
For many of us, I feel sure that we remember the first great temptation in The Garden of Eden. Because of the human failure in that temptation, other temptations would arrive on the scene quicker than one can blink. The Knowledge of Good and Evil now gave the power to individuals to persuade someone to follow God's ways or tempt people to choose a sinful or rebellious lifestyle.
Many years later, the Holy Spirit would lead Jesus into the wilderness to be tempted. Let us be clear. The Holy Spirit was NOT the tempter. That role falls to Satan. The Holy Spirit had just anointed Jesus at His baptism and Christ's ministry was beginning.
However, this temptation was supernaturally specific to Christ. In the wilderness for forty days and forty nights, Jesus was enticed with all kinds of seductions. The reader is shown only three, but with forty days and nights you know there were plenty more. The outcome here and throughout the rest of His life is said best by Paul in Hebrews 4:15 -
This was Christ's burden for our sake. Later when Jesus is teaching His disciples how to pray, He includes the request - "and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil [or the evil one in some translations]" (Matthew 6:13). Jesus desires us to affirm in our prayers to Father God that Jesus has taken care of all temptations and to not allow them to come near - "and lead us not into temptation". But even moreso totally liberate us from the presence of evil in our lives - "but deliver us from evil".
This does not mean temptations will not come and we will not fall into them from time to time. So for that the Holy Spirit uses Paul once again and says -
There are some wonderful things to take notice of in this promissory passage.
- You will not be thrown a curve-ball of a problem. The temptation you will experience is "common to man".
- God is faithful in being by your side and only allowing the amount of temptation you can bear.
- God goes the step further and provides a way out of the temptation, even though you may have to endure the tempting for a spell. God is still with you as He points and says, "This is the way out".
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