- “Other Christians I know don’t seem to struggle with temptation like I do. I have thoughts and feelings sometimes that scare me, but other members seem so confident.” Other Christians, even the strongest ones, battle temptation. Even the apostle Paul said that he had to keep his body in subjection (I Cor. 9:27). Others may not appear to have the same thoughts and feelings you have, but they do. You only see a small part of a person’s life. Deep inside we all struggle against temptation.
- “But other Christians don’t have the temptations I have. Their problems seem so minor compared to what I’m dealing with.” Different people are troubled with different forms of temptation, but the pull of temptations is essentially the same for us all. “There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it “ (I Cor. 10:13).
- “I know I need to grow, and when I am strong enough I won’t have much temptation.” How strong was David—a man after God’s own heart? How strong was Paul? No matter how mature you are in the faith, the devil will always be after you. Satan is like a roaring lion that relentlessly stalks his prey (I Pet. 5:8). Growing stronger in the faith helps us to resist temptation, and in time certain temptations become less of a problem. But the devil is always looking for a weakness, and he is a master at finding one and using it against us.
- “Maybe when I’m older and my physical desires subside I won’t have to struggle with temptations.” Bodily passions diminish with age, but temptation is still real. Solomon’s wives turned away his heart from the Lord when he was old (I Kings 11). Temptations that begin with a bodily desire are not the only temptations. There are “desires of the flesh and of the mind” (Eph. 2:3). Fear, worry, doubt, bitterness, envy, pride—these and other internal turmoil can trouble us as we age.
- “Sometimes I feel the pull of temptation and then I feel guilty. When this happens I question my salvation. How can I ever be sure that I am saved?” Did you give in to the temptation and act on it in an outward way or take pleasure in the fantasy of sin? Then repent of it, ask God to forgive you, and accept His forgiveness. The very fact that you are wrestling with temptation shows that you are doing something right. If you didn’t care, you wouldn’t have this struggle. If being tempted means that you’re lost, then none of us will be saved. As for assurance, I can think of no better book to read than I John.
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