Temptation is an intriguing theme in faith, that is frequently mentioned in the Bible. The term is often misunderstood as merely tempting individuals to do wrong, to seize opportunities, to lure them into committing crimes, and convincing them to choose the wrong path. However, the original meaning is quite different, signifying a test or trial. It is not meant to make us do evil but rather to make us do good; not to make us weak but to strengthen us all, make us kinder, and holier after undergoing severe trials. Therefore, such temptations are not punishments for humanity but rather opportunities for glory.
In Matthew 4:1-11, it records to Jesus facing the temptations of Satan in the wilderness. Satan first tempted Jesus to turn stones into bread to satisfy His physical needs, then encouraged Him to test the authenticity of God, and finally, tempted Him with the splendors of the world to worship the devil. These temptations were not just tests for Jesus but trials for every believer in the secular world. When a believer faces a conflict between honesty and personal gain in their work, it is a temptation.
Temptations often arise when we are at the peak of our spiritual height or in our most confident places. For example, a person blessed with beauty may face the temptation to use it to gain everything through seduction. Someone gifted in speech may be tempted to use their eloquence to justify their actions. When everything is going smoothly, it can lead to thinking that success is solely one’s own achievement and forgetting that all comes from God’s grace, especially the ability to help those in need. Jesus faced temptation after His baptism, when He was filled with the Holy Spirit. Hence, we must be especially cautious when our lives reach their pinnacle, as it is precisely at that moment we may be most vulnerable to falling. Where we are strongest, we must remain vigilant and alert forever.
When facing temptation, Jesus had no special resources, and His method is one we must use—using the Scriptures. True victory lies in His loyalty to God and obedience to God’s word.
Rev Ping Li