Of all our struggles on Earth, perhaps the most troubling and defeating is temptation. The enticements may vary, but the pressure just never seems to let up. Before we know it, a little white lie pops out of our mouth, a casual glance quickly turns into a lustful look, or an overwhelming craving renders us powerless to resist.
Temptations can arise from three sources: our human fleshly tendency to struggle with sin even after salvation; the world system around us, with its promises of satisfaction and pleasure; and the demonic forces that seek to pull us away from righteous choices. But today’s reading assures us temptations never originate with God. When we are tempted, God wants us to find Him sufficient: He will strengthen us so we can resist and follow through in obedience. Our Father doesn’t want us to fail. Rather, He desires that His children come out approved after testing.
It’s helpful to understand how temptation originates. The first step in the process is a thought. At this stage, sin has not yet taken place, but if we start to entertain the thought, then desire takes root, and we imagine the pleasures or advantages to follow. According to Matthew 5:28, it is at this point that sin has occurred: In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus expanded the interpretation of God’s law to include not only actions but also thoughts, motives, and sinful desires (see Matt 5:17-48).
The place to halt a temptation is at the first thought. God wants us to let it pass, call out to Him in prayer, and stand firm in obedience to Christ.
Bible in One Year: Ezekiel 17-19