“When tempted, no one should say, “God is tempting me.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; but each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is fullgrown, gives birth to death. Don’t be deceived, my dear brothers and sisters.”James 1:13-18
Temptation is when we get distracted from doing God’s will. Temptation is not a sin, but it is the first step that leads us to sin. Not doing God’s will is a sin. The Lord’s Prayer teaches us that we need to be alert and pray to find victory over temptation. Therefore, it is important to carve out time with God each day. When we are close with God, it becomes easier to resist temptations. It also means that in the moment of temptation, we can stop, take a deep breath, and pray to God for the wisdom and the willpower to not sin.
Temptations are lies that go against what God desires for us. When Jesus was in the wilderness, he spoke biblical truth to renounce the lies spoken to him by Satan (Matthew 4:1-11). Resisting temptation is holding onto the truth so we do not listen to lies. Christians must do what Jesus does and know the truths of scripture to discern what is coming from God and what is not.
Christianity is never meant to be lived in isolation. Being honest with other Christian brothers and sisters about the things that tempt us is the key to not fall into sin. When we have other people to pray with and remind us of what is true, it is easier to resist temptation. To also know that we are not alone in the struggle against sin and that we can have accountability and support will help us find success over the various temptations we will face.
It is vital to keep our focus on the one who never gave into temptation and never sinned (Hebrews 4:15). Jesus Christ not only was sinless but he died so that our sin can be forgiven. Jesus died, rose and ascended so that we can live life with God. We get to call Jesus’ Father, our Father who is in Heaven. And the same Holy Spirit that lives in Jesus Christ can now live within us when we accept Jesus as our Lord and Savior. Jesus can give us the grace to be free from guilt and shame, and the Holy Spirit can give us the power to resist temptation in all its forms. “No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.” (1 Corinthians 10:13). Amen.