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Testing and Temptation

by Bobby Bruno  
4/06/2014 / Christian Living

Testing to be assigned a standing or evaluation on the basis of test.

Temptation a cause or occasion of enticement

The Merriam-Webster Dictionary interprets testing this way: to be assigned a standing or evaluation on the basis of test. Of temptation it says: a cause or occasion of enticement. I would agree with our book that Jesus was being tested more than He was being tempted based on these two definitions. Jesus showed Satan that He was not going to do things the world's way of achieving greatness and power. To me, these would be temptations only if Satan would have kept on holding out the carrot stick and saying, "Come on, you know you want it!" As tests, if Jesus had failed just one of them, His mission would have come to an early end. As temptations, if Jesus had failed them, God would have forgiven Jesus, but His reputation as being perfect would have been destroyed. Either way, Jesus' giving in to them for any reason would have seriously jeopardized His mission as the perfect man who could be the only one to take on the sins of the world.

In my life I have watched God test me in many ways. I have also given into many temptations that come my way, sometimes knowingly and sometimes unknowingly. I know that they are different for the reasons I gave above with Jesus' time in the desert. For example, I call it a testing when God is trying to see where I stand with Him. I have watched Him place me in many circumstances where I could either trust Him and have peace, or do things my way and make myself miserable. Is it a testing when I am writing an article and during the writing Satan tries to get me to sin by doing the opposite of what I am telling others to do? By the definition above, I consider that a test from God through Satan because if I did sin then the article would be a lie because I didn't live out what I am telling others to live out in their lives in Christ. To me, God is testing the waters of my life to see which wave I ride: His or my flesh.

With temptation, I believe it is a temptation only if something outside of yourself is enticing you to go through with what you are being tempted to do. If I am driving to work and someone cuts me off, I am tempted to get angry, but if I call on the power of the Holy Spirit, I don't have to give in to that temptation. A testing can only be overcome by continuing to do what God has called you to do, and by staying in the center of His will as Jesus had done during His testing in the desert. Temptations are the growth spurts we have to endure as we slowly become more like Jesus. The more we are tempted, the more we see the weaknesses that still need to be dealt with in Christ. The more we are tested, the more we see the strengths we have already acquired by through the teaching of the Holy Spirit in our lives. Yes, there is a fine line between testings and temptations. But when we understand the purpose for each, we will see that we are indeed growing in the Lord. And that's all that really matter to God that we are continually growing to completion in Him.

Comment: "I struggle with pornography; worse I struggle to depend on the Word of God rather than depending to the evil desire."

Author Response: Because of the sexual abuse in my childhood, I began to use pornography at the age of eight. Because what happened to me was sexual, I adopted sexual ways of satisfying my hunger to be loved. Today, many years later, I still struggle to give it up completely. I know what the word of God says, but I can't seem to stop even though I very much want to. There are so many things I am doing for God these days that I hate this issue getting in the way of being holy and pure for the sake of the Gospel.

I know that I am now loved by God and that issue has been put to rest. Today, I consider this problem to be a temptation from Satan, and a test from God, to see who I am going to listen to more. There are times when I don't feel as if I am doing anything wrong. But there are also those times when I find myself crying out to God to take this issue from me because I don't want to deal with it anymore. But I know that when I am able to overcome this temptation, I will be stronger in the Lord knowing that His grace is sufficient for me, and knowing that He truly can break any stronghold I may have. This is one of those issues where surrendering is not an easy thing to do.

Comment: "For one to be tested on a subject one has to have knowledge of the subject..."

Author Response: I have to disagree. The Bible clearly says in Romans 1:20 -- " From the creation of the world, God's invisible qualities, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly observed in what he made. As a result, people have no excuse" (GW). Creation itself lets people know that God is God. Also in Hebrews 10:15-16 it says -- "The Holy Spirit tells us the same thing: "This is the promise that I will make to them after those days, says the Lord: 'I will put my teachings in their hearts and write them in their minds" (GW). Even if a man does not realize it, he has God's laws written in his heart, so he does know that he is doing wrong even if it is not a conscious thought. I believe that God can test us so that He can bring a sin to our attention even when we don't know consciously that we have committed one. All of us can sin without realizing it, which is why we need to ask the Holy Spirit to point out these hidden sins from time to time. I also believe that is what testing is for: to find out what we don't know so that we can deal with it and learn from it and change our lives to live according to it.

Comment: "You said that "Sometimes it is so easy to forget that all "tests" are allowed by God for our benefit." What scripture are you basing that on please?"

Author Response: This is based on the scriptures in Genesis that tells about Abraham being tested by God telling him to sacrifice his son. This was a test from God to see if Abraham would follow God in whatever He told Him to do. God needed to test Abraham since He was going to tell Abraham to leave his city and go to wherever God told him to go. God had to know that Abraham would follow God's directives to get to the land God promised Abraham He would give him. Also, Joseph was tested by God to see if he, Joseph, would stay faithful to God no matter what God put him through. When Joseph passed the test God made him second in command of Egypt during the seven years of famine. This is also found in the Book of Genesis. God does and will test anyone He chooses to find out many things about the strength of their faith, whether they will listen to Him or not when He asks them to do something impossible and important for Him. Every time God tests us it is an opportunity to show Him how much we really do love Him, and how much we really do want Him to run our lives.

Comment: "I believe the term in the case of Abraham was proven. God proved Abraham's faith. It was already built."

Author Response: How do we normally prove that we know something? How do I prove to my math teacher that I have learned all the she has taught me? She gives me a test. The answers I give on the test will prove whether I know the subject well enough to pass it. God does the same thing. I could give you plenty of biblical examples of tests that God gave His people so that He could show THEM that they had learned what He had taught them. As we learn more about God and how to live the Christian life, God will test us to see for Himself, and for us, that we have made it to the next level. These tests are not always for us to show God how far we've come in growing as His children. God always tested someone before He put them on the road to accomplish His plans for that time. Read your Bible carefully and you will see that these are tests because they didn't always include a temptation of some kind.
Adam and Eve, Abraham, David, Solomon, Jesus: all of these men/woman were tested to see where their faith was, in whom it was, and how much of it was faith in God. Before God sent Jesus to the cross, He sent Him to the Garden of Gethsemane to see if Jesus would go through with the crucifixion. Jesus did ask if there was another way to save humanity, but He gave in and did it God's way. God tested Jesus and Jesus proved to His Father through that test that He, Jesus, was fully faithful to His Father to go to the cross knowing that He would suffer greatly. You can't be proven without a test. Thankfully, we can't really fail one of God's tests because He will test us again and again in the same area until we have proven to Him that we can be trusted with the next level of His plan for our life.

Bobby Bruno was saved 15 years ago in a way that left him no doubt that Jesus wanted him to reach others with His great and abounding love. He started writing at the age of 12 and hasn't stopped since. He achieved Associates Degree in Biblical Studies from Ohio Christian University in early 2014.

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