“What’s your greatest temptation?”
This question came to mind while praying for someone I was mentoring. Whether this question or another, great questions provide possibilities for awareness, growth and transformation. Specifically around the temptation question, I was convicted that this question is worth personal reflection for all Christ-followers and particularly critical for leaders.
Why the Temptation Question?
Scripture teaches that the enemy of God tempts God’s children. Remember his question to Eve in the garden, “Did God really say…?” (see Gen. 3). His tempting approach with Adam and Eve twisted truth, created confusion and communicated false promises.
In another example, Jesus was confronted with testing in the desert when “the tempter” came to him and said, “If you are the Son of God…” (Matt. 4:3). The enemy’s tempting approach was to hit Jesus when he was physically weak, relentlessly threatening his identity from three different angles. Each time Jesus resisted temptation by quoting Scripture. Finally Jesus authoritatively declared, “Away from me, Satan!” And, with that, “the devil left him, and angels came and attended him” (Matt. 4:10-11).
Again, Jesus faced a significant time of testing in the garden of Gethsemane, expressing anguish and modeling prayer. He prayed for himself and told his disciples to “get up and pray so that you will not fall into temptation” (Lk. 22:46). As temptation pressed in on Jesus, he pressed in with his Father through prayer. And as Jesus prayed, an angel from heaven appeared to him and strengthened him (see Lk. 22:41-43).
Are You Paying Attention?
Jesus faced testing and temptation. We will too.
Jesus resisted temptation. With God’s help, we can too.
Christ-followers can be assured of the following (see 1 Cor. 10:13):
- Temptation is common to all;
- God is faithful;
- God will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear;
- When tempted, God provides a way out so you can endure it.
Knowing where you’re most vulnerable to temptation can be helpful. This might be a blind spot or shadow side. It could be an unhealthy obsession, unguarded strength, unmet need or form of escape from reality. It may even be masquerading as something good, but is really reflecting something false. What’s your greatest temptation right now?
God does not promise to keep us from falling if we do not apply care, alertness and caution. But by paying attention with practices of prayer and Scripture, and inviting others to pray with us too, we can celebrate God’s amazing provision and protection as he ministers to us during times of temptation.
Who’s Asking You Great Questions?
Jesus was masterful at asking questions. His questions brought awareness, challenged people’s scripts and drilled down into the deepest places. His questions were often surprising and sometimes perplexing, but for those who were willing to engage, his questions proved to be revolutionary and liberating.
When we abide in an intimate relationship with Jesus and surround ourselves with wise advisors who ask great questions, we are positioning ourselves to experience freedom, transformation and fruitfulness.
On the journey with you,
Dr. Sharon Simmonds