Then Jesus went into the desert against the wishes of the Spirit and so that’s why he got tempted by the devil.
Not the Bible: The Ungospel of Matthew 4:1

Here’s something we often miss. The HOLY spirit led Jesus into the desert to be tempted.

Surely that can’t be right – James says that God does not tempt anyone (Jas 1:13) and besides every one says that when you become a Christian then you’ll live a charmed life free from trouble.

Surely, that’s why we pray “lead us not into temptation” (Mt 6:13) – so we don’t ever get tempted and have an easy and blessed life.

Hold on!

God doesn’t lead us into temptation – He leads us through it.

That’s why the next part of the Lord’s prayer says “and deliver us from evil”.

He provides a way out of temptation (1 Cor 10:13) or grace to walk through the trial (2 Cor 12:9). We are following in the footsteps of Jesus who was tempted in every way but did not sin (Heb 4:15) and “We know that anyone born of God does not continue to sin” (1 Jn 5:18).

Why is that?

Is it because we try harder? Or because we are now motivated by love instead of law?

No.

It’s because we have Christ’s Spirit living inside us, the same Spirit that raised Christ from the dead that gives life to our mortal bodies (Rom 8:11). We are no longer slaves to sin – we are given the power to choose.

But why can’t we just have no temptation?

Because it’s part of the process of being transformed from glory to glory.

Suppose after I married my wife I never found another woman attractive. Choosing her day to day would be easy.

But when there is an opportunity to choose her over others – then my love is strengthened. Our relationship becomes deeper.

So too in our relationship with the Father.

Every temptation, every trial is an opportunity to become more glorious, to become more Christ-like and to deepen our love for Him.

Father, help me to stop pursuing the dream of an easy life and instead start pursuing you in the midst of temptations. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

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