26. Growing through Temptation


Character development always involves a choice, and temptation provides that opportunity.

You can't claim to be good if you've never been tempted to be bad. You can't claim to be faithful if you've never had the opportunity to be unfaithful. Integrity is built by defeating temptation; humility grows when we refuse to be prideful; and endurance develops every time you reject the urge to give up.

Satan is entirely predictable:

  • Temptation always starts in your mind, not in circumstances. It may be a sinful or legitimate, normal desire.
  • Satan tries to get you to doubt what God has said about the temptation: is it really wrong?
  • Satan is incapable of telling the truth; anything he tells you will be untrue or just half-true.
  • by (finally) acting on the thought you've been toying with in your mind.


To overcome temptation, there are steps you need to take:

  • Refuse to be intimidated. Many Christians feel guilty that they aren't "beyond" temptation. They feel ashamed just for being tempted. This is a misunderstanding. It is not a sin to be tempted. Jesus was tempted, yet he never sinned. Temptation only becomes a sin when you give in to it. In one sense you can consider temptation a compliment: Satan does not have to tempt those who are already doing his evil will. It is also a normal part of being human and living in a fallen world. Don't be surprised or shocked or discouraged by it.
  • Identify your typical pattern of temptation and then prepare to avoid those situations as much as possible. There are certain situations that make you more vulnerable to temptation than others.
  • Request God's help. Temptations keep us dependent upon God. Heaven has a twenty-four-hour emergency hot line. He says "Call on me in times of trouble. I will rescue you, and you will honor me." God never gets irritated, bored, or impatient with us; even if you have to cry out for God's help two hundred times a day to defeat a particular temptation. Ask him for the power to do the right thing and then expect him to provide it.


Question to Consider:
What Christlike character quality can I develop by defeating the most common temptation I face?


Verse to Remember:
God blesses the people who patiently endure testing. Afterward then will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love Him.

James 1: 12