It is not a sin to be tempted! This may sound simple and obvious, but sometimes we become paralyzed and even feel ashamed for simply experiencing temptation. Temptation is an enticement to sin, but it is not sin itself. It is when an “opportunity” to sin is presented in front us. The key is what we do once the temptation comes.
There is a significant difference between being tempted to sin, and sinning. We live in a fallen world, have a nature that is pulled toward sin, and face an enemy that constantly seeks to draw us away. In this life, temptation is inevitable. But we do not have to fall into sin just because we are tempted. God has made provision for us to walk in victory over sin and the devil.
Consider Paul’s words in 1 Corinthians 10:13:
“No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.”
Notice that temptation is “common to man.” In other words, everyone faces temptation and we should not be surprised when it comes. We should not be paralyzed or taken off guard, but must be ready to stand against it and overcome it by the power of Christ.
We also learn from this passage that there is always a way of escape from temptation. This means that God has given us everything we need to be victorious in our battle against temptation. The power of the cross is enough to put the sinful nature to death. The Holy Spirit inside of us is stronger than sin. And the Word of God is a sword that we can use to stand against the devil.
Instead of being caught off guard when temptation comes your way, learn how to overcome it by the means God has given you. Believe in the finished work of Jesus, and the power of His grace.
Don’t feel ashamed or condemned because you experience temptation. Don’t forget that Jesus Himself was tempted. The gospels record Him experiencing the devil’s attempt to pull him into sin in various ways. Hebrews 4:15 gives us this encouraging word:
“For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin.”
Jesus was tempted in every way, and yet He never sinned even once. Because Jesus came as a man, he can sympathize with our human frailties. He knows what it is like to experience temptation. And because of Him, we can be victorious over it!
Have you ever felt ashamed for simply experiencing temptation? What is your first response when temptation comes?