I said that I would revisit this topic of temptation as a follow up to last Sunday’s Sermon. First of all, this is an original concept. Someone has though it before, but this is the first I have thought it!☺ (Only saying that to say most profound stuff is ripped off. Not this!)
Premise: I do not think that Christians understand or react to temptation biblically!
First of all, temptation is not an ACT of sin! It is an ATTRACTION to sin. We need to learn to call temptation what it is!
Hebrews 4:15 says simply and clearly that JESUS was "tempted in every way, just as (in exactly the same way as) we are….yet without sin." This word “tempted” is not a different word in Greek. It means what it means!
This makes me think of something profound that Bishop Glenn has recently shared with us at our Christmas Eve Service. “Our God did not avoid earth afraid that we would corrupt him, but rather came to earth knowing that he would transform us!”
However, we treat temptation like it IS sin. We are afraid to share it with others as if we have already sinned. And others often react to the fact that we were tempted with such shock and emotion that we might as well have done it! Don’t believe that? Try telling your spouse that you feel tempted to have an affair at work. (I know that is a harsh example with lots of implications but it gets at my point.) For some, the reaction from the spouse will be just as if they had the affair. So, why would we share the temptation?
My Theory: If we could create safer environments and relationships where temptation could be shared, we would avoid a whole lot of sin, darkness and destruction in our lives.
Listen to this: “When tempted, no one should say, "God is tempting me." For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; 14 but each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed. 15 Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death." James 1:13-15
We need to catch ourselves at the DESIRE stage! Get help at the DESIRE stage! Share with someone you trust in the DESIRE stage! I think that the odds are stacked against you to be able to dig out of strong temptation alone!
If we would truly understand the definition and nature of temptation and then respond to it quickly and wisely, then we could avoid quite a bit of destructive and secret sin.
I Cor. 10:13
What are your thoughts? I am still developing this. What would you add?