“I can resist anything except temptation.”

~Oscar Wilde

Most temptation comes in the form of something good. For example, I am never tempted to indulge in mushy green peas. Perhaps someday farmers will grow peas that taste like chocolate or pizza! Isn’t it interesting how temptations can differ wildly between us? There are sweet things my wife cannot walk past but I can, and vice versa.  Within every temptation we find things attractive to us. They may well be good things, but good things desired for the wrong reasons, in the wrong amounts, or at the wrong time. For instance, for me, an offer to play golf on a Monday is a blessing; but the same offer on a Saturday afternoon, when Sunday’s sermon is not finished, is a temptation! From just this short reflection we can see that temptation is something distinctly personal and contextual. 

Something to Understand:

Notice the three temptations of Jesus concerned his identity (the Son of God) and his circumstances (he was hungry). The devil enticed offering food, security, and authority; none of these things bad in themselves, but things which would have compromised Jesus’ motives, ministry, and mission. James speaks to the personal nature of temptation: “But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire (James 1:14).” The devil tries to take advantage of us using our existing desires to tempt us to do wrong. What can we do about it? Like Jesus, know God, know yourself, and know what you are called to do (notice how he used the Word of God to this effect). Moreover, pray as Jesus taught us “lead us not into temptation (Matthew 6:13).” Being in the right place at the right time reduces the chances of temptation; remember, it’s easier to avoid being tempted than it is to resist temptation!