Mark it down: The more Scripture you know, the harder it will be to sin. Along with that my brethren, the more you are immersed in being a living sacrifice being transformed continually by the Holy Spirit as you stay in the Word (Romans 12:1-) how could your world view become temporal? How could you corrupt your ministry to become man-focused rather than eternally focused on God?
12 Blessed is a man who perseveres under trial; for once he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him. 13 Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God”; for God cannot be tempted by evil, and He Himself does not tempt anyone. 14 But each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own lust. 15 Then when lust has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and when sin is accomplished, it brings forth death. 16 Do not be deceived, my beloved brethren. James 1:12-16 (NASB)
Temptation is an often-misunderstood subject. Many of us tend to think that temptation is sin, that temptation is the problem with living the Christian life. However, as Puritan Thomas Watson wrote, “The devil tempts, that he may deceive; but God suffers [i.e. allows] us to be tempted, to try us. Temptation is a trial of our sincerity.”
That quotation from Thomas Watson nails it! The word “temptation” translates πειρασμός (peirasmos) which comes from the verb πειράζω (peirazō), “to make trial of, to test,” so the idea is “a test, a trial.” It was used in Classical Greek, for example, to refer to a medical test, which would prove either health or disease. We are, therefore, tested to see if we are sincere, that is, whether we really are who we profess to be. As James makes clear, God never tempts us, but rather, we are tempted by our own lusts (James 1:12-16), as well as Satan (1 Corinthians 10:9) Paul adds, and the test is to see if we will remain faithful to the truth. So, temptation is not sin, but rather, yielding to temptation is sin.
To go a little deeper, what are we really being tested to do? Are we just being tested not to do wrong? While that is certainly part of it, we would submit that the more important part of the test is not only to see if we will prove to be sincere, but to see how we will prove it. In other words, how do we get victory over temptation? Is it by some psychological technique or sheer willpower?
The answer lies in the temptation of our Lord in Matthew 4:1-11.