There is no sin in being tempted. Everyone is. Even Jesus was (Hebrews 4:15). John Wycliffe was of the opinion that “the holiest and highest in life have the most temptations. How much higher the hill is, so much is the wind there greater; so, how much higher the life is, so much the stronger is the temptation of the enemy.” He may well have been right. The godliest of lives was not an untested life, rather it was a life that faced temptation in all points, “yet without sin.”
So, you are tempted. Like every man. “Every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed” (James 1:14). The question is, “How are you going to deal with it?”
There are two lies Satan would like you to believe when you’re dealing with temptation. The first is that, “Just once won’t hurt.” The second, after you’ve given into temptation, is that “You have ruined your life; you are useless and beyond God’s help, and you might as well just go on sinning.”
In reality, just once WILL HURT! It will hurt because the wages of sin is death (Romans 3:23). It will likely hurt your conscience, your influence and your sense of self worth. It will hurt because it will weaken you and make you more susceptible to other temptations in the future. If we can resist temptation to begin with, much “hurt” can be averted.
But if you have given in, don’t give up! There is still hope for living a righteous life. What is true in war is also true in our struggle with Satan — You may have to fight a battle more than once to win it! God will enable your victory. Some of the greatest lives ever lived were lived by men who had once committed grievous sins. Peter told Jesus, “Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord!” (Luke 5:8). Paul declared that “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief” (1 Timothy 1:15). But when sin was at its strongest, grace was stronger still. “Where sin abounded, grace abounded much more” (Romans 5:20).
Are you facing temptation? We all are. Let us face it courageously, with our heads up, swords drawn, eyes clear. Have you succumbed to temptation? Don’t despair! The Lord takes fallen soldiers and helps them up, cleans them up and stands them up. Trust Him. By faith we stand. Respond to Satan’s brief triumph in the words of the prophet of old, “Do not rejoice over me, my enemy; When I fall, I will arise” (Micah 7:8).
~ Steve Klein