Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters,whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. – James 1:2-4
Trials produce joy? I don’t know about you, but temptation sure does not sound fun to me. But let’s face it. We will all be tempted at some point in our lives. There are no exceptions. Matthew Henry said, “The best of saints may be tempted to do the worst of sins.” With this in mind, did you ever think that if you are being tested more than usual, it’s a sign that you are actually doing something right?
Think about it: when does Satan attack us the most? When we are closer to God! When Christ was in the wilderness, Satan pulled out all the stops – and we only read about three. For forty days Christ was tempted by the devil. Luke tells us Jesus was “full of the Holy Spirit” (4:1), a statement that should not be overlooked. While we don’t have a whole lot of details regarding this time, we can confidently say that the Spirit kept the Son from giving in to temptation.
Consider a recent time when sin trapped you. Now ask yourself, “what was going through my mind right before I sinned?” Sin starts in our mind before it is manifested outwardly. For example, if a man steals from the company that employs him, he made the decision ahead of time. Maybe he was greedy. Maybe he was struggling financially. Perhaps he believed he was worth more than what he was getting paid. The point is that all these thoughts enter the mind prior to the sin being committed.
That’s why it is so important to pause before we act. Or breathe before we offer an emotional response. According to Proverbs 13:16, All who are prudent act with knowledge, but fools expose their folly. A brief pause before we click that web link or a three-second breath prior to answering a difficult question can be the difference between promoting the Kingdom of God and turning people away from it.
There’s a reason Satan is so active in your house each Sunday morning. He knows where you’re going! The devil surely doesn’t want you, the committed Christian, worshiping with your church family. That’s why he tempts you even more when you are closer to the Lord. But please never let that discourage you from persevering. It is not the test, the trial, or even the temptation itself that is wrong. It’s the critical moments that follow that separate right from wrong. Keep that in mind this week as you face the challenges of this world.
In His Name,