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The typical recited line from The Lord’s Prayer is “lead us not into temptation.” Is God a controlling force in whether people are tempted to do evil?
The difference between tests and temptations is whether we pass or fail.
The Holy Spirit led Jesus into the wilderness “to be tempted by the devil” (Matthew 4:1). We know he passed the test, because he was “tempted in all points, yet without sin” (Hebrews 4:15).
Jesus told Peter that Satan desired to sift him like wheat. Jesus knew Peter would fail the test. “After you have repented,” Jesus said, “strengthen your brothers.” (Luke 22:31–32).
Our self-serving desires make us vulnerable to temptation.
Both when Jesus was in the wilderness and when Peter was accused of being a disciple, temptation presented a choice.
When tempted, I also face a choice. If I am fully committed to the Father’s will like Jesus was, I will pass every test. But if I fail, it’s because I was led astray by my own desires (James 1:14).
Why would God allow that?
Temptation reveals the truth that God knows but we don’t.
When told he would deny Jesus three times by morning, Peter didn’t believe it. He swore that he was ready to die for Jesus (Matthew 26:35). During Jesus’ trial before Annas, Peter faced a choice. Would he tell the truth and die with Jesus, or would he save his life by lying?
When Jesus turned and looked at him, Peter remembered what Jesus had predicted (Luke 22:61). Outside the courtyard, Peter now knew something about himself that he hadn’t known before, and he wept bitterly.
Perhaps, in repenting of his sin, Peter remembered what Jesus said at another time: “If you try to save your life for yourself, you will lose it. But if you lose your life for my sake, you will find it” (Matthew 16:25).
God will not allow our choice to be taken away.
We can never claim innocence by saying, “The devil made me do it.” That’s because Satan will never be allowed to control our choices.
God is always faithful to those who rely on him. The choice is yours. He won’t allow temptation beyond what you can bear, but with your surrender to him, he will bring the victory. — 1 Corinthians 10:13