When Temptation Comes
I hate being tempted to do something that I know I am not supposed to do. As a Christian, I identify these temptations as desires from the man I used to be. Until recently I understood these temptations to be something that we all must endure as a part of our sin natures and that nothing good came from my temptations. However, through the grace of God, He is revealing to me the purpose for my temptations. God is showing my that in every temptation, I have the opportunity to look for Him!
I believe that when I committed my life to Jesus Christ that I was born again. I became a new person with new hopes, dreams, and desires. Paul puts it this way in his letter to the Galatians: “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.”
I know that the above is true in my life; that the Holy Spirit lives in me. But the desires of that old man continue to creep into my mind. For the longest time I saw these temptations as a weakness, but God has shown me recently that every temptation is an opportunity to choose Him.
For most of my born again life I only viewed temptation as something we all are predisposition to face and fall to. Even Paul in 1 Corinthians 10:13 writes "when" you are tempted, not "if" you are tempted. While this had been my understanding, God is showing me the purpose for my temptation. My revelation came in reading 1 Corinthians 10:13 in its entirety: "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."
Paul is exhorting the Corinthians to be on guard and explaining that the can resist any temptation because God is faithful. My revelation came in the last half of the verse when Paul explains that God will provide a way out when we are tempted. I do not have to be a victim of circumstance when I am tempted. I am given the opportunity to be a conqueror in Christ because God gives me a choice in every temptation!
Knowing that God provides a way out when I am tempted has changed the way I handle temptation. When I am tempted by any sin or personal conviction, I stop and look for the way out. I know that God has provided one and that I just need to find it. This has allowed me to see temptation for what it truly is. Temptation is more than a predisposition that we must live with. Every temptation is an opportunity to look for God and to look for the way out that He has provided. It brings me comfort knowing that even though I will be tempted, God has provided light for me in my darkest valleys!