The second kind of trial we find in Scripture is the trial of temptation. In Matthew 4:1 we read, “Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the desert to be tempted by the devil.” Interestingly enough, the same Greek word sometimes translated by the word trial is translated here by the word tempted. Satan led Christ through the temptation of the pride of life and the lust of the flesh. He hit Christ at every vulnerable point we struggle with as humans. The Lord countered His trouble at every point by a response from Scripture that kept Him unflinchingly loyal to God.
Temptation is unavoidable. It intrudes into the life of the businessman on the road, the homemaker in her house, the citizen filling out income tax forms, and the person who has been hurt by others. We feel the temptation to strike out in revenge, to gossip, or to slander. These are significant temptations.
I have a friend in the ministry who, after checking into his hotel, got on the elevator with two attractive young women. As the door closed, one of them said, “Hey, how about a little fun with us tonight?” Who would know? He later told me, “It was like God pulled a curtain down in front of me, and on the curtain was Galatians 6:8, ‘The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature will reap destruction.’” He said no to the women and yes to God. His relationship to God was more important than the seductive pleasure of sin.
When I was a little boy, someone wrote in my Bible, “This book will keep you from sin, or sin will keep you from this book.” In the face of troubling temptation, the power of God’s Word is an indispensable ally. As the psalmist said, “Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against Thee” (Ps. 119:11 KJV).