If you think you are standing strong, be careful not to fall. The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you can endure. -- 1Corinthians 10: 12-13 (NLT)
We live in a world oozing with temptations that can lead us astray from our walk with God. This is of course not surprising since the enemy to our souls is the lord of this world and his primary goal is to damage the kingdom of God by making us ineffectual in the work God has called us to. The Bible says that we should not be ignorant of the schemes of the devil so let's examine how he operates using temptation by reviewing the Scriptures where he tempted Christ Himself.
Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. -- Matthew 4: 1 (NIV)
Beloved, there are lessons in everything in life, even our moments of testing and temptation. The devil will always come against us when we are about to be used by God. Jesus here was about to enter His public ministry. How could He relate to the temptations the people He would minister to if He Himself had not experienced these temptations as well? We do not serve some abstract God from a far away perspective. We serve a God who humbled Himself to come down to our level and live as we live. When we are betrayed by friends He relates because He was as well. When we weep for loss He comforts because He has gone through the same thing. When we face temptations He understands because He also was led into the wilderness by God. Sometimes we over spiritualize our lives. I hear the lament often from Christians that the "devil has them running" this week. Here is today's deep theology -- stop running!
So humble yourselves before God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. -- James 4: 7 (NLT)
We have been given authority yet so often we are fleeing from what we need to be resisting. While everyone loves quoting the second half of this verse, we often forget the qualifier. People prefer running away from the devil instead of resisting him because we don't like to humble ourselves! The overarching point here is that there is something to be learned and gained from every situation, even the really bad ones. Our faith is not strengthened on the mountaintop. If anything, it is there that we start to take things for granted. We need to stop trying to figure out how to escape the valley and start figuring out why God has us there to begin with. There are only two directions in a valley. Backwards to our old life and forward to the next level in God. How often though do we either sit down and bemoan the valley or try and scale the walls under our own power and understanding? Trust God beloved and always remember -- He sees exactly where you are! He will never leave you nor forsake you.
After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. The tempter came to him-- Matthew 4: 2-3a (NIV)