Temptation vs. Testing, What's the Difference? (Hebrews 2:18)
"Because he himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted" (Hebrews 2:18)
Part 5 of 6
God does not tempt us but God does test us, or a better way to put it is that He entrusts us. What's the difference? Temptation is being enticed or allured to sin. God will not tempt us with sin because He is good and no evil is found in Him (James 1:13). Testing, on the other hand, is God trusting us to make the right choice. Look at Deuteronomy 30 for example, God gave the Israelites a choice, "This day I call heaven and earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessing and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live" (Deuteronomy 30-19). He presented them with a choice, He wanted their buy-in, but He also gave them the answer, "now choose life, so that you and your children may live" then He gave them the reasons, "that you may love the Lord your God, listen to his voice, and hold fast to him. For the Lord is your life, and he will give you many years in the land he swore to give to your fathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob" (Deuteronomy 30:20). This is an incredible promise from him. He gave the Israelites full disclosure. He gave them a choice, gave them the answer and gave them the reasons for it. He wanted them to choose correctly and entrusted them to make the right choice.
In the same way, the Lord provides us with choices as believers wanting us to make the right decisions as well. This is not to say that if we don't choose wisely He will punish us. But He entrusts us with kingdom principals watching how we respond and act. Faithfulness in these tests are the road to promotion in His kingdom because He knows He can trust us to do what He has instructed. Money is a good example of this type of testing. Everything is from Him and He wants to trust us with it. So He watches how we use what we have to see if we are trustworthy. If we prove faithful in this area then He is more likely to give us more seed to sow (II Corinthians 9:10). The reason is not to become rich, instead it is to have the means to be generous in every occasion, the result is bring glory and thanksgiving to God (II Corinthians 9:11).
Peter told us, "His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires: (II Peter 1:3-4). God has given us instruction on everything so that we can live set apart lives in the midst of this world. He has been very clear in how we should live and entrusts us to choose wisely. The key to all of this is knowing God and walking after the Spirit because we will know who we are in Christ and we will be strong in the power of His might. It is the perfect solution.
So, when temptation comes, we can know we can resist and be free of it (James 4:7). In the same way, when we are entrusted with the things of God we can find answers in His word (II Peter 1:3-4; II Timothy 3:16-17). He has shown us His desires and gave us full instructions for life. Thankfully by knowing these wonderful truths, God has made this easy for us.
Tomorrow we look at Part 6: Suffering as a Believer for the Cause of Christ