The Enemy hands out temptations every chance he gets. He and his cohort save stacks and stacks of them. They stand on street corners and force them into the hands of anyone who walks by. Sometime the temptations are carefully planned, but many times they’re just thrown out in droves in hopes that they’ll eventually be picked up.
The sad thing is that many Christians feel obliged to take them. They see the temptation staring them in the face and have no clue what to do with it, so they quickly grab it and tuck it away in their hearts before anyone sees. They feel ashamed that such a temptation was ever offered them, like it’s their fault the Enemy wants to see them fall. I’ve done this so many times. I’m embarrassed by a temptation that’s being handed me, so I quickly take it and hide it inside. I feel that if I were somehow a better person or if I were closer to God that the Enemy wouldn’t have access. Though I usually never do anything with the temptation, I still feel guilty. That guilt trips me up and distracts me from the beautiful things God is doing in my life.
I’m sure the Enemy hopes that the temptation will linger and grow roots, but he’s satisfied with our guilty feelings. If we’re constantly feeling guilty, we’re not going to be very confident Christians. And if we’re not confident Christians, it will be hard to be a Christ-like example to this world.
I finally read something that was so simple and obvious, but I just never applied it to my life: “Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the desert to be tempted by the devil” (Matt 4.1). The perfect son of God was tempted, and I’m going to go out on a limb and suggest that Satan attacked Jesus with EVERYTHING in his arsenal. So whatever small or outrageous temptation we are given, Jesus was probably given it too. And please note that the “Spirit” led Jesus into the desert to be tempted. That’s an entirely different topic, but Bible does say that God tests the hearts of His children: “The refining pot is for silver and the furnace for gold, but the Lord tests the hearts” (Proverbs 17.3).
I bet Jesus was tempted a lot — much more than what is documented in the Bible. Satan pumps up his attacks against anyone who is serving the Kingdom of God, and Jesus is the supreme servant. But, Jesus never took ownership of those temptations. He rebuked them, and He never felt guilt over them. How could He? He is the perfect son of God. Jesus has no reason to feel guilt.
Now when I walk down the street and those temptations are being thrust at me left and right, I’m going to give them to God. They have no power over me. In fact, God promises to never let us face temptation that we are unable to claim victory over. (1 Corinthians 10.13). I will also search my heart for temptations that I’ve surrounded with guilt and tucked away. I’m going to expose them to God too, so they will no longer have any control over my life. God gives me a choice of what I claim ownership. Forget the temptations and guilt! I’ll take more blessings and peace, please!
“This day I call the heavens and the earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live” (Deuteronomy 30.19 NIV).