As Christians, we’re told over and over “God will never tempt you”. 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.”
Even though God does not tempt us, He very well might lead us into temptation.
Take a deep breath, Christians, I know I just ruffled some of your feathers.
But if God doesn't sometimes lead us into temptation, why would the prayer that Jesus himself taught us to pray say, “lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil”?
And please make a note regarding who led Jesus into the wilderness to be tempted.
Matthew 4:1 “Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted there by the devil.”
Heads up Christians. You can be following Jesus step for step and step right into the greatest temptation you’ve ever experienced.
Perhaps this is why we see so many great Christian leaders “fall from glory”. Because it started as “right”, not “wrong”. Please hear me, not that sin is ever “right”, but maybe their actions did not start as sin. Perhaps they were simply following Jesus when He led them into temptation.
Why would He (God, Jesus, the Holy Spirit) do that, we might ask.
Well, we read in Deuteronomy 8:2 that God led Israel into the wilderness to HUMBLE and to TEST them.
Why might we need humbled?
Well, one reason could be that we have allowed the righteousness of God in us to become “self-righteousness”. How many times have you perhaps noticed someone else’s sin and thought disgust toward that person, “well, I would never do that.” or “How could they be so dumb, or weak, or bad?” or “Don’t they know better than to do that?”
We, in essence, become “self-righteous”, and may need a good humbling so that we no longer judge people in their weakness, but minister to people in their weakness.
Or perhaps we need humbled because, for whatever reason, we have become prideful in our walk with Christ. Maybe people look up to us and we have internally begun to think, “wow, I’m really good at this Christian thing, I’m really guiding people into a closer walk with Christ”, instead of giving God glory for all that He’s doing through you.
Those are just a couple of examples of why we might need to be “humbled”. Why would God test us?
If we look at Deuteronomy 8, we find this:
“Remember how the Lord your God led you through the wilderness for these forty years, humbling you and testing you to prove your character, and to find out whether or not you would obey his commands.”
I love what the Life Application Bible says regarding the Spirit leading Jesus into the wilderness to be tempted (Matthew 4:1-10)
- This time of testing showed that Jesus really was the Son of God, able to overcome the devil and his temptations. A person has not shown true obedience if he or she has never had an opportunity to disobey.
- Remember, your convictions are only strong if they hold up under pressure.
- Satan is a fallen angel. He is real, not symbolic, and is constantly fighting against those who follow and obey God. Satan’s temptations are also real, and he is always trying to get us to live his way or our way rather than God’s way. Jesus will one day reign over all creation, but Satan tried to force his hand and get him to declare his kingship prematurely. If Jesus had given in, his mission on earth, to die for our sins and give us the opportunity to have eternal life, would have been lost. When temptations seem especially strong, or when you think you can rationalize giving in, consider whether Satan may be trying to block God’s purposes for your life or for someone else’s life.” (emphasis mine)
God led Jesus into the wilderness to test him.
He led the Israelites into the wilderness to test them.
We, too, will be tested.
Because we know testing will come we should be alert and ready for it.
Ephesians 6:10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
1 John 4:4 ...The One who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.