Temptation and Test
BLESSED IS HE WHO ENDURES TEMPTATIONS
We often associate people in temptation with spiritually flawed characters. Elder James, however, says it is a blessing for those who endure temptation (Jas 1:12). To extract the real meaning of this verse, we need to make sure that James is specifically talking about temptation and not test:
But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed. Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death. (Jas 1:14-15)
Elder James clearly spells out the process of temptation, how it progresses to the point of death.
Joseph's story proves Elder James' point: he endured the seduction of his mistress until, frustrated, she accused him falsely. He was in a situation where he was tempted to the full. Another example is Job. He endured a stream of attacks from Satan.
Facing temptation in life is always real, and to meet with one is inevitable. Which saint in the Bible or believer of God has not been tempted? The important thing is that we must not succumb to temptation. If we can withstand our weaknesses, we will enjoy the continuous presence of God in our life.
One recurrent message to the seven churches in Revelation is to triumph over temptation (Rev 2:7a, 11b, 17a, 26a; 3:5a, 12a, 21a), and their corresponding blessings are spoken of in every message to those who overcome (Rev 2:7b, 11b, 26b-27; 3:5b, 21b). This tells us that overcoming temptation means to be steadfast in doing the will of God.
[to be continued]