Temptation seems to be a valuable tool in the hand of the enemy. The good news is God has his way of manipulating the manipulator. What I mean is even though the enemy tempts us in various ways our God is a God of redemption and he works things out for our good and his glory even when it is initially meant for harm.
There have been several times I have said to others “God means for us to be tempted” and some have responded saying, “But what about when Jesus taught his disciples to pray ‘lead us not into temptation?” Thinking about this the other day a few scriptures came to me for clarification.
While it is true Jesus taught the disciples to pray “lead us not into temptation” I would suggest it was only because they were still immature. You see God knows exactly what it’s going to take to get us where he’s leading so he guides us accordingly.
In the early going of Israel’s journey from captivity to the Promised Land God provided for everything according to their specific need. At first he knew they weren’t ready for too much opposition so he led them around their enemies. In Exodus 13:17-18 we read “God did not lead them by the way of the land of the Philistines, even though it was near; for God said, “The people might change their minds when they see war, and return to Egypt.” This coincides with the immature state of the disciples when Jesus said, “lead us not into temptation.” When we are very young in the faith God seems to cover for us knowing how much we can and cannot handle.
However there is a time for maturing. At some point in our walk of faith God determines we have lived as children long enough and he pushes us out of the nest. We read in Matthew 4 after Jesus was baptized, which signifies him being placed in full son-ship; he is lead into the wilderness by the Spirit to be tempted by the devil. Whoa, God means for him to be tempted. Before anyone gets upset I know the Bible tells us God cannot be tempted with evil nor does he tempt anyone. The reality though is he does have a convenient agent we call the devil to do this task. You see even the devil is still God’s devil.
Finally we see in James 1 that the testing of our faith is a good thing. James says to us “Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance.” After all without something coming against us how can we consider ourselves overcomers? God is developing fully tested sons for the work of the kingdom.
We see examples of testing in every aspect of life. For instance you would never want to purchase something without it being fully tested first would you? Like a car or piece of equipment. They will have a number saying, “inspected by #77”, and that is what gives us the assurance it can be trusted. God is the same way. A faith that isn’t tested isn’t much of a faith at all is it? This is why I’ve heard it said this way “Temptation is an opportunity for faith.” Without a test, or us being tempted, we’ll never know how the Spirit of God operates in and through us and we’ll never discover “Christ fully formed in us” as Paul proclaimed. What God is after is full-grown sons, and daughters, that have been tested and found “lacking in nothing.” This then is the value of temptation.
Written by Louie