When I think of God and temptation, they seem like polar opposites. After all, James 1:13 clearly tells us that God cannot be tempted and He doesn’t tempt anyone else.
And that’s probably exactly how the enemy wants us to think- that God and temptation should stay in opposite corners, never venturing near one another.
But that isn’t what Jesus said.
In Gethsemane he instructed his disciples to watch and pray specifically not to fall into temptation.
Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the body is weak. Matthew 26:41 (NIV)
Earlier in His ministry, his disciples asked Jesus to teach them how to pray. In His prayer He included this plea:
And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one. Matthew 6:13 (NIV)
To be honest, very few of my prayers have ever been about temptation. I pray for the lost, for me, for the poor, for me, for my family, for me, for the government, for me- you get the picture- but I’ve probably prayed less than a handful of times about avoiding temptation and not succumbing to it.
And do you know why?
Because I’ve always believed that God and temptation don’t mix. You’re either in one camp or the other.
Jesus clearly demonstrates that we are to pray about temptation before it arrives. And since we never know when it’s going to show its ugly face, we should be prayed up in this area all the time rather than avoiding the mere mention of the word.
Still, temptation will come. It came to Eve in paradise; it will certainly come to us in a fallen world.
Even in the middle of temptation, God wants to be right there in the thick of it with us. He even provides a way out!
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. I Corinthians 10:13 (NIV)
And what happens if we don’t reach for God’s help and we give in to temptation? Even then He is with us.
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. I John 1:9 (NIV)
God wants to help us in every part of life, even when we are tempted. Maybe especially when we are tempted.
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