Does Jesus really get it? I mean, after all, he lived a long time ago and the things we face are 21st century issues. Like, did he ever struggle with addiction issues? Internet porn? Insider trading? Road rage?
Probably not those things specifically. But here’s the beauty of temptation – it isn’t all that creative.
Temptation is quite simple, falling into one of three areas: craving for physical pleasure, craving for what we see (I need more) and pride in our possessions and accomplishments (craving to be noticed).
When the serpent tempted Eve, he appealed to her physical desire (the food she wasn’t supposed to eat), craving for what she saw (the tree was beautiful and the fruit looked delicious), and her desire to be noticed (this will make you wise, like God).
Temptation is more than just having a thought. It is what we do with the thought after it comes into our heads. Eve invited the serpent to continue talking, she asked him questions. You might say, she invited him in for tea and cookies. Spending time with the thought leads to temptation which gives birth to sin. See James 1:12-15.
Temptation is not the same as testing. Next week we will look a bit at testing, but in short, the difference is the end result. Temptation is intended to destroy you. Testing makes you stronger and develops character and strength.
Jesus understands your temptation. Matthew 4:1-10 outlines the temptation of Jesus in the desert. Next week we will look more closely at that as well, but he experienced it all. He knows what you are dealing with – approach him with confidence!