From the writings of the Rev. Billy Graham
Temptation isn’t the same thing as sin, and it isn’t a sin to be tempted, but it is a sin to give in to the temptation.
At the beginning of His ministry, Jesus was tempted by the devil, but Jesus didn’t give in to Satan’s temptations. The Bible says that Jesus was tempted in every way, yet was without sin (Hebrews 4:15).
Jesus will always point the way to victory. He will always provide us a way of escape. He will empower us to overcome! How is this done? We must take our eyes off the sin and look to Him. We must want to do His will, which is to live for Him in every decision we make.
We need to know what God’s Word teaches about right and wrong. Every day we are battered by messages from the media, advertisers, entertainment, celebrities, and even friends. The world hammers away at its message: “Live for yourself!” But, we are to live for God.
We must ask Him to help us recognize temptation when it comes—and depart that environment, that person, that temptation. The story of Joseph (Genesis 39) helps us not only see how temptation can put us in a snare, but it also gives us an up-close look at what departing from temptation looks like.
Questions that help us recognize the difference between right and wrong are: Does this glorify God? Will it harm my health? Will it cause someone else to stumble spiritually or morally? A wise Christian once said, “When in doubt, don’t.”
When our hearts are filled with God’s truth, it helps us recognize Satan’s ploys much quicker. The Scripture says, “Depart from me … for I will keep the commandments of my God” (Psalm 119:115).
(This column is based on the words and writings of the late Rev. Billy Graham.)