Temptation Free! What a nice thought. The question is how to get there. Alas I must say there isn’t, pardon my language here but – bummer. According to 1 Corinthian 10:13 TLB “But remember this – the wrong desires [temptations] that come into your life aren’t anything new and different. Many others have faced exactly the same problems before you.”
You would think there would be some height of spiritual maturity that gets us out of it. However considering Jesus was tempted, I would say we don’t get a break there either. Hebrews 4:15 “This High Priest of ours understands our weaknesses since he had the same temptations we do, though he never once gave way to them and sinned.”
It’s attributed to Rick Warren the statement that “since God intends to make us like Jesus he will take you through the same experiences Jesus went through, that includes loneliness, temptation, stress, criticism, rejection and a lot of other problems.” Often we admire Jesus, how he defeated Satan, outwitted the Pharisees and Sadducees, his great wisdom, the power and authority he walked in, the relationship he had with God and Holy Spirit, and then lightly glaze over the temptations, sacrifices and sufferings that contributed to who He was.
Although there is no escape from facing temptation – do not abandon hope, all is not lost. 1 Corinthians 10:13 continues with“And no temptation is irresistible. You can trust God to keep the temptation from becoming so strong that you can’t stand up against it, for he has promised this and will do what he says. He will show you how to escape temptation’s power so that you can bear up patiently against it.” So, technically speaking, the temptations we face are in a controlled environment. God doesn’t allow us to be tempted beyond what we can bear; now it doesn’t say what we think we can bear, God alone truly knows what we can bear. But it is not us bearing it or going through it alone. Hebrews 2:18 states “For since he [Jesus] himself has now been through suffering and temptation, he knows what it is like when we suffer and are tempted, and he is wonderfully able to help us.” Jesus has been there and will help us through.
We don’t have to ask to be tempted, temptation finds us. God provides a way out but we have to take it. He doesn’t force us to say no, turn or look the other way. Sometimes we need to resist, other times run or flee. Temptation is not sin, otherwise Jesus would have sinned, sin comes when we give in to it. There are many treasures in scripture to help us overcome temptation. Let us never think we won’t fall to temptation.
Matt 6:13 and 26:41 encourages us to pray for help before temptation comes. It’s like buying insurance, best to do it in advance of the need so we are prepared for trouble.