The word temptation is hardly ever used correctly. We speak of temptation as a sin, but it isn’t. It’s an inherent part of human nature,
something every one of us inevitably faces. Temptation isn’t something we can escape; it’s essential to a full-orbed human life. Many of us, however, suffer temptations we have no business suffering—lowly temptations that afflict us because we have refused to let God lift us to a higher plane. On a higher plane, we would still face temptations, but they would be of a completely different order. If God hasn’t lifted me higher, I can be sure it’s because I continue to yield to a lower temptation.

My disposition on the inside—that is, the makeup of my personality—determines what I am tempted by on the outside. The temptation fits the nature of the one tempted and reveals the possibilities of that nature. Each of us has our personal inclinations, but temptation itself is the common inheritance of humanity. I have to watch out if I find myself thinking that no one else has ever been tempted as I am tempted, that no one has ever gone through what I’m going through.

Am I baffled by temptation? Do I have trouble understanding whether the thing tempting me is right or wrong? This is normal, for a time. When I first begin my walk in faith, I may be tempted by things which are generally considered good, but which fall short of highest and best. Temptation promises a shortcut to what I seek, but it will never get me there. The key is to keep my sights firmly set on the highest—on God himself—and let what is merely good pass me by, however tempting it may be to follow it. Though God will not save me from temptation, he has promised to help me in its midst: “Because he himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted” (Hebrews 2:18).

Wisdom from Oswald

To read the Bible according to God’s providential order in your circumstances is the only way to read it, viz., in the blood and passion of personal life. Disciples Indeed, 387 R