Part of living in a sin cursed world is that we are going to be tempted to sin, even as Christians. Our heart is naturally filled with sinful desires, and out of those come temptations to sin (James 1:14-15). We fight against those temptations and erase those desires as we progress in our sanctification. It isn’t easy, and one thing that happens sometimes is that we have this one temptation that comes up on a regular basis.
Persistent temptation is a struggle I’m sure many of us are familiar with. That one sinful desire keeps coming back up in your life and you don’t know what to do. It will go away for a few months, and you think you’re fine, but then all of a sudden it comes up again. Or maybe it comes up every day or once a week. Either way, you’re wondering what to do and if it will ever go away.
Persistent temptation feels like a curse sometimes. It never seems to go away, and that is what makes it such a point of suffering. Each time you fight and don’t give in, you hope that it was the last time, but it always seems to come back. This kind of suffering is enough to make a Christian want to just give up sometimes. What do you do when a temptation keeps coming up no matter what you do to try and stop it?
There is Hope
“No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it.”1 Corinthians 10:13 NASB
The first thing that stands out in this passage is that there is no temptation that you will face that isn’t something someone else has dealt with. A common thought that happens when someone is struggling with temptation is “I’m alone in this. I’m the only one who has dealt with this.” This thought is a lie. You are not alone. You are not the only one. There is so much hope in combating the lie that you are alone. You are not alone in your struggle. There is someone else out there dealing with the exact same or similar thing.
The rest of this verse is also extremely hopeful. Paul says that God will give us a way to endure temptation. God, through His Holy Spirit, is going to give you the strength to endure the temptation you are dealing with. You will be able to fight each time you are tempted and have victory, if only you trust in God’s strength and not your own. He is faithful, just like the verse says, and we need to trust in that faithfulness when we are struggling with temptation.
God has a Plan
“Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.”James 1:2-4 NASB
The really cool thing about God is that He uses everything for His purposes, even sin. This passage is my favorite in the entire Bible because it has helped me through many hard times. The book of James is all about Christian living, and James starts by saying that our trials and temptations have a purpose. This purpose is our sanctification and ultimately, our glorification. The testing of our faith helps us to become more like Christ. When we have faith in God, He will use the temptation we are dealing with to help us grow in our sanctification. His plan and purpose in temptation is our perfection—our becoming like His Son. I can’t help but think that this is a beautiful plan for something so absolutely horrible.
“Blessed is a man who perseveres under trial; for once he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him.”James 1:12 NASB
That one temptation may never go away or it may stop bothering you tomorrow. We don’t know. What we do know is that if we persevere, God calls us blessed. There is a reward for your endurance dear friend. Have faith in God and His faithfulness. He will not leave you alone in this trial. He will give you strength. You simply have to trust in Him and believe in His perfect plan. Don’t give up.