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)
I long ago lost count of how many times I have heard people say that they are struggling with temptations and telling me that is sin. Not true! Jesus was tempted. We are all tempted. Temptation is simply a part of living in a fallen and broken world. It is giving in to temptation that is sin, and who reading this right now does not know this truth by way of personal experience?
So what is the key to fighting against the temptations that we all face? There may be no better section in all of sacred Scripture that can strengthen us when we are facing temptation than the wilderness experience of our Lord Jesus Christ. After forty days fasting, the devil came to Jesus and tempted Him — not once, but three times. And each time Jesus dealt with the temptations of the devil in the same way: with Scripture. With each new temptation, Jesus used Scripture for strength, so as not to be overtaken by Satan’s schemes.
It is important to note one thing in the encounter between Jesus and the devil in the wilderness. Both quoted Scripture; both Jesus and the devil know the Word of God. Both were 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 its authority and rule in our lives.
What temptations have you been wrestling with lately? In your personal life? In your professional life? Remember, 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 for that sin. 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 or even your sin. Now, that is a powerful, personal promise.
This is the Gospel. This is grace for your race. NEVER FORGET THAT . . . AMEN!