2 Chronicles 25-27
“Blessed is the man who endures temptation…” —James 1:12 (NKJV)
Temptation is the common lot of every person and an issue we battle with all the time. The NKJV says, “Blessed is the man who endures temptation,” but the NIV says, “Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial.” The Greek word used here is peirasmos, which can be translated as “trial” or “temptation.”
Trials are usually external issues we face, brought on by difficult circumstances. While we will face numerous and continuous trials in our lives, they are ultimately for our good, producing in us perseverance, maturity, and even joy (1:2-4). The objective in enduring trials, therefore, is to strengthen us.
Temptations, on the other hand, are internal issues we face with the intent of weakening us. In this regard, James says, “Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown gives birth to death” (1:15). Rarely do we dive headfirst into sin. There are things most of us say we would never do, but over time, we might behave like Lot, Abraham’s nephew, who “pitched his tents near Sodom” (Genesis 13:12). We might enjoy sinning vicariously—that is, hearing about or watching other people’s sin—but this is a sure-fire path to destruction. There is a very real danger of wearing our consciences down when we remain close to the sin that tempts us, because slowly, inevitably, we will find ourselves nudging a little closer until we are engaging in it.
The only people who know the full force and power of temptation are those who have resisted it, and in resisting it, realize how powerful it can be. Jesus was the only man who did not yield to temptation and the only one who knew the full extent of its power because He held against it at every turn. Hebrews 4:15 says, “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to feel sympathy for our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet He did not sin.”
The end result of both trial and temptation is that they either weaken or strengthen us. What we need to recognize is that the very thing that would destroy us is actually the same thing that would build, perfect and mature us. Fighting the battles on our own will inevitably exhaust, frustrate and deplete us. But God has given us Jesus Christ and no trials or temptations can defeat Him. In dependence on Christ alone, we come out stronger, wiser and equipped to persevere through any peirasmos that life throws at us.
Prayer: Dear Jesus, I know how easily I am tempted in certain areas. I ask that You be the Rock in me to overcome it. Thank You, Lord.