The Bible tells us that we are all sinners, that there is no one who is righteous or does good; there is no one who seeks God (Romans 3). I know, I know. That is not the way you wanted me to start this conversation. The truth hurts, doesn't it? BUT...the Bible also tells us that God loves us and demonstrates His great love for us in that while we were still sinners, Jesus died for us (Romans 5). God didn't wait for us to get it all together (we can't do that on our own anyway). God saw us in our sin, and He did something about it. He sent His perfect Son to live and die for us. His perfect Son rose from the grace to defeat sin and death, once and for all! Does that mean we won't face temptation any longer? Not exactly. The Bible tells us that we will face temptation; we will face it from our enemy, the devil. Jesus was completely divine, and yet, He was completely human. After He was baptized, the Bible tells us that the Spirit led Him into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil (Matthew 4). Understand, God did not tempt His Son. He allowed the Spirit to lead Him into the wilderness where He would be tempted by the devil. God does not tempt us, but He does allow the temptation to occur. James 1:13-14 says, "When tempted, no one should say, 'God is tempting me.' For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; but each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed." The devil wants to steal, to kill, and to destroy us (John 10). The devil is the one who pokes and prods at our own evil desires.
Why does God allow the devil to tempt us to sin? God loves us and wants relationship with us. God wants our faith to grow. James 1:2-4 says, "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." When the devil tempted Jesus, he tempted him in three ways. He tempted Jesus physically with food. He tempted Jesus spiritually with security and protection. He tempted Jesus socially with prestige and power and significance. All three times that He was tempted, Jesus said three powerful words: "IT IS WRITTEN!" In 1 Corinthians 10:13, Paul tells us that God is faithful and will not allow us to be tempted beyond what we can bear; he tells us that God always provides help for us, a way through temptation without falling. That way is Jesus! We see Jesus, and we follow Jesus. If Jesus fought temptation with the Word of God, then we should fight temptation with the Word of God. After Jesus quoted Scripture to the devil, Matthew 4:11 says, "The the devil left him, and angels came and attended him." Jesus shows us that the Word of God is our shield and our strength against the enemy and against temptation. God provided for Jesus! God will provide for you and for me! Jesus also shows us that prayer is the key. In Luke 22, Jesus tells His disciples to "pray that you will not fall into temptation." He later finds them sleeping and asks, "Why are you sleeping?" He wanted them to know how serious temptation was and how serious sin was, and He said again, "Get up and pray so that you will not fall into temptation." Jesus shows us that prayer is also our shield and our strength against the enemy and against temptation. God has promised us help during temptation. Our help is Jesus. Hebrews 2:17-18 says, "For this reason he (Jesus) had to be made like them, fully human in every way, in order that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in service to God, and that he might make atonement for the sins of the people. Because he himself suffered when he was tempted, HE IS ABLE TO HELP THOSE WHO ARE BEING TEMPTED." Do you believe God's Word? You must believe to receive! If you want help during your temptation, call on Jesus. Use the Word of God in your life! Pray! It really is that simple. Believe it! Claim it! Live it!