Temptations are things that people face on a daily basis. It is not always something as bad a pornography, adultery, or murder. A temptation is anything which challenges our character as a Christian. This could be something as simple as skipping service, dressing immodesty, or telling a “white lie” to save someone’s feelings. Overcoming these temptations is a task that we will face for the rest of our lives.
Does James advice seem contradictory or unusual? James 1:2 (KJV) My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; Christians are not to think of trials or temptations as a punishment or a trap in our lives. These trials are not “placed” in front of us to make us fall, but are rather tests or trials which simply come about because of life. These trials will come but Paul tells us how to deal with them. 1 Corinthians 10:13 (KJV) There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it. We are able to overcome any temptation, but the best method is to look for the route of escape. Sometimes escape is not possible and we simply have to endure the trial, other times we are given the option to not indulge in or take part in an activity which we now is wrong. Often, the best method of escape is to not participate. Jesus Himself told us how to prepare for these trials. Mark 14:38 (KJV) Watch ye and pray, lest ye enter into temptation. The spirit truly is ready, but the flesh is weak.
Now for the important part of dealing with temptations. Face it, we are humans and we make mistakes and give in to our temptations. The important thing is our mindset regarding the temptation and how we deal with it in the future. When we fall into temptations and fail, we have an avenue to become righteous again. 1 John 1:9 (KJV) If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. We then have to figure out how to deal with the trial in the future and this brings us back to Mark 14:38. We must watch for this temptation again in the future in order that we can avoid it from causing us to fall again. Our eyes set on purity and righteousness, coupled with prayer regarding the matter, are our best defense in avoiding and overcoming temptation.