I am tempted every day. As I’m flying home from a speaking event, my thoughts want to drift to unhealthy places—either taking credit for what God has done in women’s lives or feeling self-contempt for things I could have done differently.
Daily life involves a continual battle of “kicking out” thoughts and impulses I know aren’t pleasing to God. I worry. I envy. I lust. Sometimes this feels as routine as other daily activities, like brushing my teeth or eating. Other days, I’m hardly aware of temptation until it’s too late and I’ve taken the bait.
Paul told the Roman church the Christian life would be like this. There is a constant battle between the fleshly part of us that wants our own way and the spiritual part of us that longs to please God (see ). We need God’s grace and power every day for this battle.
Fighting temptation is hard enough. It becomes exponentially more difficult when we heap guilt and shame upon ourselves just because we are tempted. Although every Christian is familiar with temptation, we often have misconceptions that set us up for defeat.
It Is Not a Sin to Be Tempted
Hebrews 4:15 tells us Jesus was tempted in every way but was without sin. You can be tempted by the same thoughts a hundred times a day without sinning.
James 1:14–15 helps us understand how temptation transforms into sin and how we can keep it from becoming sin: “Temptation comes from our own desires, which entice us and drag us away. These desires give birth to sinful actions. And when sin is allowed to grow, it gives birth to death.”1