No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. 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 stand up under it. (1 Corinthians 10:13)
I long ago lost count of how many times someone has told me that the temptations they are struggling with are sin. Not true! Jesus Himself was tempted. Hebrews 4:15 tells us that our Lord was “tempted in every way, just as we are—yet was without sin.” We are all tempted. Temptation is simply a part of living in a fallen and broken world. Temptation is not sin; it is giving in to temptation that is sin, and all of you reading this know this truth from personal experience.
So what is the key to resisting the temptations we all face? There may be no better section in all of Scripture to strengthen us for facing temptation than the wilderness experience of our Lord Jesus Christ. After He had been fasting for forty days, the devil came to Jesus and tempted Him—not once, but three times. Jesus dealt with each temptation the same way: with Scripture. Each time He was confronted with temptation, Jesus used Scripture for strength so as not to be overtaken by it.
It is important to point out one thing about the encounter between Jesus and the devil in the wilderness. Both of them quoted Scripture. Both Jesus and the devil know the Word of God, which means they were both students of Scripture. They were both in the Word of God. But there was one great difference between Jesus and the devil: Inasmuch as both were in the Word of God, the Word of God was only in Jesus. You see, it’s not enough to simply know and be able to quote Scripture. We must be submitted and surrendered to the Bible’s authority and rule in our lives.
What temptations have you been wrestling with lately? In your personal life? In your professional life? Let me repeat: Temptation is not sin; giving in to the temptation is. The more we get into the Word of God, the more the Word of God will get into us, and the better we will be able to resist temptation.
One final thing. When temptation does overtake you, remember the cross. Jesus already paid for that sin, and you have already been forgiven. Yes, grieve over your sin. Yes, be filled with a godly sorrow and repent of your sin. But never forget, nothing can separate you from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus. Not Satan nor even your sin. Now, that is a powerful promise!
This is the Gospel. This is grace for your race. NEVER FORGET THAT . . . AMEN!