“One time when I was much younger, I was flying to Denver on business, and a young woman in her twenties was sitting next to me. As we were flying, I noticed she was crying. I wondered if I should say anything or just respect her privacy. But after several minutes, I finally said, “Is there any way I can help you?”
“I don’t know,” she said, then looked away.
“Well, I’m involved in youth work, in Youth for Christ,” I said. “And I’d be happy to just talk to you if that would help.”
She began to open up then. She said she had been engaged to a young man, and she’d just learned that he had run off to marry another woman. “The worst part of it is I’m still a virgin,” she said. She went on to say that she had always believed that if you kept yourself pure, everything would turn out right. Now she had decided that since a “wild girl” had stolen her man, her remaining pure had been to no avail, and she was going to go to some ski lodge and make up for lost time.
“Do you think it’s worth giving up what you’ve always believed because of one painful experience?” I asked.
“I don’t know,” she said, then sank into silence. Finally she continued, “Well, where are you staying tonight?”
I told her, and she said she was staying there, too. Then she suggested that maybe after we arrived we could “have a couple of drinks together an see how the evening turns out.” In effect, she was inviting me to help her initiate her new lifestyle.
“I don’t want you to be confused,” I said. “Let me show you my pictures.” I took out my wallet and showed her my family photos. Though I didn’t realize it at the time, I was putting myself in context. Looking at your wife and children really cools a potentially hot situation.
After I showed her the photos, I went on, “I sympathize with the pain you feel. If you need someone to tell you you’re pretty, let me tell you that you’re very pretty. If you need someone to tell you that you’re sexually attractive, let me tell you that you’re very attractive and desirable. But if you want me to say I’m willing to act on that desire, no, I’m not going to do it. You’re vulnerable right now; you’re in a difficult situation. Further, I’m married.
I’m also a Christian. And I’m not going to do it because it would mean taking advantage of you and violating my commitments and my faith.” Then I explained a bit of how my faith commitment guides my life.
She was silent for a few minutes, but then she said, “Well, if I thought that by waiting the rest of my life I could find another man who would turn down the offer I mad to you tonight, I’d stay a virgin till I found him.”
I replied, “There are more guys like me out there than you may think. I hope you don’t go through with your plan.”
When we got to Denver, I put the young woman in touch with some female YFC staff, and she stayed the night with them. They spent a few days with her and then sent her back home.
So far, thank God, I’ve never been given that kind of offer when I was vulnerable. But I have been tempted, and it’s always helped me to put both the woman and myself in context.”– Jay Kesler. From the files of Leadership.
We are, indeed, both tempted and tired in life. These are two different things, and we need to understand the distinction.
In Genesis 22:1, we are told that, “Some time later God tested Abraham. He said to him, “Abraham!” “Here I am,” he replied.” In other passages for example James 1:13 says, “When tempted, no one should say, “God is tempting me.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone.”
When Jesus taught his disciples to pray this way “lead us not into temptation.” (Matthew 6:13) And we are commanded to “Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds.” We know that the KJV can be confusing. We need to clear up somewhat when we accurately distinguish between “temptation” and “trail.”
Let us see if we can properly understand what makes temptation different from trail, and maintain the right attitude toward both.
What is “temptation”?
“Temptation” is an enticement or allurement into sin. One of the first temptations that Satan attempted is recorded at Genesis 3:1-6 which reads: “Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the LORD God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?” The woman said to the serpent, “We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, but God did say, ‘You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.'” “You will not surely die,” the serpent said to the woman. “For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it. ” Here in this passage, Satan deceived Eve, by twisting What God said, “We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, but God did say, ‘You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.'” For Satan Said, “You will not surely die.” So Satan deceived Adam and Eve. And this is how Adam and Eve were tempted.
Another way we maybe tempted by Satan is the use people or friends that we may have in the world. When one comes to Christ, we change our attitude. Our way of life, our way of thinking, places or things we used to go and do. For Peter wrote: “For they mouth empty, boastful words and, by appealing to the lustful desires of sinful human nature, they entice people who are just escaping from those who live in error. They promise them freedom, while they themselves are slaves of depravity–for a man is a slave to whatever has mastered him.” (2 Pet 2:18-19 NIV) New converts maybe tempted by their friends or others to offer a so-called better life, then the Christian walk. The depraved false teachers prey on new converts, who have not yet had a chance to developed spiritual resistance. Therefore Peter warns of those who prey on those that are new converts in the church.
There are so many things that are part of the world, that are not from God. Some examples that we can use is choice of music we choose to listen to, Movies that are rated “R,” gambling (to the point that we waste all are money), things we say when we curse, and dirty jokes. For John the writer of The Gospel of John, 1-3 John, and Revelation wrote at 1 John 2:16, “For everything in the world–the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and does–comes not from the Father but from the world.”
The Devil is the ultimate source of all temptation. He is called “the tempter.” When Jesus was in the Desert for the 40 days and 40 nights to fast in the desert, Satan had come to Jesus as recorded at Matthew 4:3, “The tempter came to him and said, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.”
(1 Th 3:5 NIV) For this reason, when I could stand it no longer, I sent to find out about your faith. I was afraid that in some way the tempter might have tempted you and our efforts might have been useless.
Copyright © 2000, Revised 10/2015