What would say if I told you to make the most of every temptation?
You might think I was telling you to fall for every temptation you encounter, and enjoy everything about it to the max.
Call off work to go fishing, telling your boss you're sick. GO FOR IT!
Steal from the cash register. No one will notice. GO FOR IT!
Cheat on your wife or husband because you need a change. GO FOR IT!
Be like Adam and Eve, and disobey a direct command from God. GO FOR IT!
After all, "No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man."
(1 Corinthians 10:13)
No, that's not what I mean.
Millions? Billions? Trillions?
How many times do you think you've been tempted to do things contrary to God's Holy Word, His commandments, and the Holy Spirit’s promptings. Millions? Billions? Trillions?
Temptation is universal and unavoidable. And each time, according to God's Word, "He will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear." And He also provides "a way out so that you can endure it." (1 Corinthians 10:13)
What does the first temptation in the Garden of Eden tell us? What lessons did Adam and Eve learn.
Temptations Can Teach Us
Temptations can be useful and instructive. They can be teaching moments, times to discover our weaknesses, and times to appreciate God's presence and protection in our life. And yes, there are temptations to do good.
Temptations can also humble us, highlighting our weaknesses and emphasizing our need for God's help and His forgiveness.
People jokingly say, "Get thee behind me, Satan." But many fail to realize this is just what Jesus said, and just what he wants us to do.
During 40 days in the desert, the Lord was tempted. But he resisted. "Jesus said to him, 'Away from me, Satan! For it is written: Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.'" (Matthew 4:10)
Jesus used the same command when He spoke to Peter. "Jesus turned and said to Peter, 'Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns.'” (Matthew 16:23)
Satan isn't always behind the temptations we experience. The waitress probably isn't working for Satan when she asks you if you want desert, a slice of fresh apple pie. But when He is, we can learn from the temptations, whether we succumb or step away.
Listen to God's Words
Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. (Romans 12:2)
“Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.” (Matthew 26:41)
For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin.
Also read: Luke 22:40, Hebrews 2:18, Ephesians 6:10-18,
What Others Say
“Temptation is the feeling we get when encountered by an opportunity to do what we innately know we shouldn't.” Steve Maraboli
“The greatest temptations are not those that solicit our consent to obvious sin, but those that offer us great evils masking as the greatest goods.” Thomas Merton
“Why is it that any time we speak of temptation we always speak of temptation as something that inclines us to wrong. We have more temptations to become good than we do to become bad.” Fulton J. Sheen
Think About It
Recall a time when you were tempted to sin, and you took the "way out" God provided. Conversely, consider a time when you succumbed. What could you have done differently.
What lessons, if any, have you learned from times you succumbed to temptation? How about the times you overcame temptation?
Read about the temptation of Jesus in Matthew, Mark, and Luke. Describe the three areas of temptation He rejected and how you have experienced them in your life.