The Bible is filled with examples of the things that we must flee from; things such as Sexual Immorality and Idolatry perhaps, are at the top of the list. Temptations are things or circumstances that entice us to sin. Temptations come from Satan and he is an expert in how to effectively tempt us. Satan always tempts us with things that our flesh likes. We are not called as Christians to face our temptations, but to flee from them; we are called not to even entertain them. God promises us that He will not allow any temptation to come our way that we are unable to overcome. First Corinthians 10:13 tells us:
“No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.”
The reason we fall into temptation all the time is because we choose to; I have been a prime example of this shameful reality. I do appreciate the fact that after you are a “born again” believer, you can never fully enjoy sin. The conviction of the Holy Spirit will hunt you down until repentance is brought forth in your spirit. What an amazing God we serve! I know that we place a lot of emphasis on speaking in tongues in some denominations, but for me, the greatest evidence that someone is a man or woman of God is that when they receive the conviction of their sin, that inner voice tells us “Stop! This is not good, come back to me!”
However, the emphasis of this article is to explain how to be able to identify and know the difference between a temptation and a test. As we have already established, Temptation is designed to entice us to sin; but, what about the Test? How do we know that we are being tested? James 1:2-3 gives us a good clue concerning this issue:
“My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience.”
Testing is everything that comes in your life that challenges your faith. Just as temptations are related to sin, tests then are related to faith! Let me give you a simple example in order for us to have a very clear understanding of what we are dealing with here:
You are home alone and you get an urge to watch pornography on the computer.
There was a budget cut in the company that you have worked for the last five years, you are a good worker, but you were just told that your job has been terminated.
One boldly challenges you to sin as you sit in front of your computer considering watching pornography. The other challenges your faith as you now find yourself without a job, a family to take care of, bills to pay, etc. etc. The Bible tells us to “count it all for you when we fall in various trials.” However, joy is the last thing that crosses our minds when we are faced with a test. Many of us run into the temptation, rejoice as we enjoy the momentary sweetness of sin and. On the other hand, flee from the test. Temptation, as we can see, is appealing to the flesh; the test never is; however, if we learn how to receive the tests with joy, the end-result is maturity and spiritual growth. James added in verse four of the same chapter:
“But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.”
Do you want to live a life of no lack? Then receive your testing with joy and let that trial workout patience in you. It is then and only then, that you will be closer and closer to perfection, completeness and a state of true prosperity.