James 1:2-3; 13-14 (NIV) Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds,because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance….When tempted, no one should say, “God is tempting me.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; but each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed.
During this month of June and the next months, I will be preaching about the frequently asked questions by members of my church based on a survey that was made recently. Yesterday, I preached on the topic: Trials and Temptations and How to Deal with Them. Many people find it difficult to distinguish between a trial and a temptation. This is how a explain the difference between the two:
The purpose of a trial is to make one mature; more Christ-like, whereas a temptation is from Satan and is meant to lead one to sin and make us less Christ-like.
How to handle trials:
James 1:2-3 (NIV) Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds,because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance.
Trails are problems and challenges which come our way. They normally come as an interruption to your programs or expectations. It could be an illness, loss of a loved one, work-related challenges, persecutions, etc.
- Endure (if you are tempted to think that God has abandoned you, remember that during the time of the test the teacher is always silent).
- Ask God for wisdom so that you will take God-honoring actions.
Use the experience to honor Christ
- Temptation example: sexual immorality, greed (urge to want more; lack of contentment), lust, pride, anger
How to deal with temptations
James 1:13-14 (NIV) When tempted, no one should say, “God is tempting me.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; but each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed.
A temptation is also an interruption but promises quick and easy (but ungodly) ways to get out of the problem. It promises quick rewards but grosses over the long term consequences of your decisions.
- Take personal responsibility. Don’t blame God, your circumstances, the devil or other people. Say, “I am responsible.”
- Flee: In some instances it is better and wiser to just “flee” away from the temptation.
- Consider the consequences (with self, others, God)
- Pray for wisdom