Tempt - Is God Enough?

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Thursday, August 29, 2013 0 comments

A young man has a dream of playing in the NFL and works hard to achieve his goal for many years. Just when he seems to be on the cusp of fulfilling his dreams, he suffers a rare injury during a hit that he receives in what would turn out to be his last college football game. At the hospital, it is discovered he has torn one of the veins that pumps blood into the heart, a condition that is considered to be fatal 95% of the time. He survives emergency surgery to repair the torn vein, but now his football dreams are in serious doubt. The man and those close to him might be tempted to be angry with God or question why something like this would happen. But not D.J. Hayden. He is quoted as saying, “This is all part of God’s plan”. He gets back to work, and just months later, is drafted by the Oakland Raiders in the first round of the 2013 draft. I encourage you to read more about his story.

Another person struggles with an addiction to pornography. He accepted that Christ died to save him and has made Jesus his Lord throughout his life. But for whatever reason, the struggle just never seems to end. Because the man knows the truth about Jesus, he feels guilty every time he indulges in his sin and experiences the dissatisfaction and empty feeling that comes from the choice to meet his need his own way rather than relying on God and his promises. You could replace pornography in this story with alcohol, drugs, gossip, violence, revenge, and just about any other sin that tempts people. A third person has been a follower of Christ for as long as he can remember. Yet, he suddenly faces imprisonment, torture, and possibly even death if he does not renounce his faith. He stands to lose his family, his friends, and his job at the very least. As he counts the cost of proclaiming his faith in Christ, he is tempted to take what appears to be the easy choice and simply deny Jesus.

The three stories I have shared above all have one thing in common – temptation. When you and I think of being tempted, we usually think of things that we know aren’t good for us but that we desire anyway, like certain unhealthy foods or vices. While those things certainly do tempt us, the Greek word for “tempt” in the New Testament, peiradzo, carries a broader meaning. The word can mean to “tempt, test, or try”, according to both Mounce and the United Bible Societies’ Greek New Testament. As Katie mentioned in Monday’s blog, God does not tempt us, so the word is never used in that fashion with God as the subject. But God does allow us to go through trials and tests. I believe one of the reasons why the same word is used for both is because the times we are tempted (by our own evil desires) are often attached to our tests and trials.

An oft-quoted, and I believe misunderstood, verse is 1 Corinthians 10:13. “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”. We often hear people say “God will not put more on you than you can bear”. But I think it’s unfortunate that we put certain expectations on God and call it truth. If you look at the verse, it is telling us that God will always provide a way out of our overwhelming temptations. The point is that it WILL be more than we can bear on our own, which is why we need God’s way out rather than our own solution. It’s interesting that God provides a “way” because Jesus says, “I am the way” (John 14:6a). The TEST for us is whether we accept the “way out” or give in to the temptation.

One of the things I’ve been thinking about for a long time and have mentioned in other teachings and writings is that we are really all tempted by the same thing. No matter what the situation or trial is, we are tempted to want to be our own God, to believe that what we can see, feel, and understand is a better option than trusting in God and his promises. Now, I understand that this temptation takes on many different forms that have varying levels of power in our lives. Chemically and biologically speaking, it is much harder for those addicted to drugs and alcohol to resist them than it is for someone to resist chocolate. However, NO ADDICTION is more powerful than our Lord! So regardless of your addiction, Christ is your way out of it!

Even if you don’t struggle with some vice, and you are just in the midst of trials in your life that are not your fault, the temptation is still to trust ourselves as “god” instead of the one true God. Peter denied Christ three times because he gave in to the temptation in the face of his fear of persecution. Others over the course of church history have been burned alive, torn apart by wild beasts, and beheaded because they chose to trust in God and his promise of their eternal reward rather than their fear of man. Samson gave in to his temptations of women and alcohol rather than trust God’s promises for his life, yet many of you who struggle with loneliness or desiring a mate today can choose to trust and wait on God rather than figure it out on your own. No matter how you are tempted, whether it’s by a vice or because of the trials you are facing, the only thing you need to decide is whether or not God, his Son Jesus, and his promises are enough for you to resist your temptation to sin. Will you pass that test today? Worry about tomorrow when, or I should say “if”, it gets here.