Reflecting on the temptation of Jesus whetted my appetite. As I looked to the scriptures, I discovered as Christians we have a G.P.S. for temptation. There is a place to start, a way through the temptation and a destination.
A Place to Start
In Matthew 6, when Jesus teaches His disciples about prayer, He includes “Lead us not into temptation.” In Luke 22, as Jesus faces the cross, His heart yearns for the support of His disciples. Still, He knows their weakness. In verse 40 He tells them, “Pray that you will not enter into temptation.” In verse 46 He again says to them, “Why do you sleep? Rise and pray lest you enter into temptation.” Paul tells the Ephesians to always be in prayer and to be watchful. Prayer keeps us vigilant. Being in communion with God is the place to be when temptation comes. It is the place to start.
The Way Through
Keeping our eyes open is the way through temptation. We know we have an enemy who desires our destruction. Yet James explains temptation as being drawn away by our own desires and enticed. In the parable of the sower Jesus talks about the person whose heart has rocky soil, which in times of temptation has no roots to hold them. When we know the methods of our enemy, understand our own weakness, and put down spiritual roots, we are better prepared for temptation. Temptation affects all of us. God’s word however tells us He knows how to deliver us from temptation and promises ways to escape. Watchful prayer keeps us informed of the escape route.
James tells us that a crown of life awaits anyone who endures temptation. Temptation is a time of testing. Sometimes we fail. The apostle John teaches us that in those times we have an advocate in Christ Jesus. When we confess our sins, He forgives. The battle can leave us spiritually and physically exhausted. Peter prays that Christ Jesus will “perfect, establish, strengthen and settle you.” We learn through our temptations our great need of a Saviour. We must be watchful in prayer, open to His ways of escape, and working toward the crown of life that awaits us. There lies our G.P.S. for temptation.