By: Scott Shifferd, Jr.
Children cannot realize the temptations that a teenager faces. Teenagers cannot understand the temptations that adults must address. As Christians grow older, temptations that were never a threat become threats as hearts have become strong in opposing old temptations while oblivious and hardened to give into others (cf. Titus 2:1–8).
When a believer first becomes a Christian, they are often unprepared to confront temptations. Each person faces temptations by their own lusts and desires (Jas 1:14–15). The world has no hope of self-control as Paul revealed, “For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate” (Rom 7:15 ESV). Furthermore, “No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man” (1 Cor 10:13).
Jesus has been tempted in every way like man and yet without sin (Heb 4:15). He is able to help those who are tempted. God promised always to make a way of escape so that the Christian can endure (1 Cor 10:12–13). To live a holy life, Peter instructed Christians to prepare their minds by setting one’s hope fully on the grace revealed at Christ’s coming (1 Pet 1:13). Peter emphasized that Christians are to be holy in all conduct as God is holy (1 Pet 1:15–16). God ransomed the faithful from futile ways by the blood of Jesus Christ who is without spot or blemish (1:17–20). For each person to have faith and hope in God, God resurrected Jesus from the dead (1:21). God’s holiness as seen in Jesus Christ is the standard for Christians to live holy lives. That means that people must know their God who came in the flesh and realize His holy nature as the standard of morality and virtue.
God has provided instruction for confronting and enduring temptations. Jesus told His apostles to pray not to enter to temptation (Matt 6:13; 26:41; Mark 14:38). By the Spirit of God, Paul directed Christians to put off the old self that is corrupt through deceitful desires and be renewed in the spirit of the mind to put on the new self (Eph 4:22–23). The new self is one that is created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness (Eph 4:24). Furthermore, to help confront sin, Paul taught to put on Christ by making no provision for the flesh (Rom 13:13–14). Evidently, one who surrounds themselves with temptations will struggle to keep their mind and spirit committed to holy living (1 Cor 15:33; 2 Cor 6:14). The Scriptures teach the faithful to flee temptations (1 Cor 6:18; 1 Tim 6:11; 2 Tim 2:22).
When Christians are ready to face temptations, their training is complete in these acts of righteousness having put on the armor of God (Eph 6:10–20). The Christian’s strength to confront comes from God (Eph 6:10–11). God has given the faithful an armor of truth, righteousness, gospel, faith, salvation, the word, and prayer to withstand evil. God has prepared a way of escape to endure temptations.