Matthew 4; Exodus 25-27; Proverbs 12
I have heard people talk about temptation as if being tempted was a sin. They remind us, when describing their temptation, often quite vividly, that Jesus told us to pray that God not lead us into temptation. Well, we are supposed to pray that. Why? Because God can and will lead us into temptation. “Then the Spirit led Jesus up into the wilderness so that the devil might tempt him.” (Matthew 4:1) As we read the full story of how Jesus was tempted, it was at the end of a strong spiritual experience. He had fasted for a long time. He had sought God and communed with Him. He was physically weak and emotionally exhausted. Then came the temptation. Isn’t it true that we often deal with temptation after a great spiritual victory or time of service. We are physically or emotionally exhausted; we’ve stayed true to God’s plan. Then we are tempted. Satan promises to meet our physical needs, our emotional needs or even gives us a quick and easy way to accomplish God’s will without any of the suffering and pain. He comes disguised as an angel of light and the temptation to accomplish what we know to be God’s plan seems overwhelming. In truth, God’s plan includes not only the end result, but also the journey. The suffering and pain are part of the process God uses to make us grow closer to Him and more dependent on Him. As we face a fallen world, there are no shortcuts – only a deepening relationship with God. We are called to follow His footsteps to become the person He wants us to become.
Lord, I know that I will face temptations. I ask that You not lead me into those temptations. When temptation comes, give me the grace and the strength to overcome. When I fail, and I know that I will, remind me of Your mercy and forgiveness.