Suffering Under Temptation

For this reason he had to be made like them, fully human in every way, in order that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in service to God, and that he might make atonement for the sins of the people. Because he himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted. Hebrews 2:17-18

We've been looking at Satan's temptation of Jesus in the desert the past few weeks, so this week we're getting a bigger picture of how temptation works.

Did you notice that Jesus suffered when he was tempted? Isn't that an interesting perspective? Jesus, by not giving into the temptation, actually suffered. Of course, whenever we give into temptation, in the short run we do NOT suffer - we feel great. But in the long run, there's always loss and shame and guilt - basically, plenty of suffering. But isn't it odd to think of Jesus suffering for NOT giving in to temptation?

For me, this is a crucial insight in what it means to be human, because to be human is to suffer. To give in to temptation is to suffer, under the ruthless power of sin. But to NOT give in to temptation is to suffer as well. Fortunately, this is a more redemptive sort of suffering - the kind that made Jesus perfect (see Hebrews 2:10), and that will make you perfect, too. Not perfect in the puritanical sense or the perfectionistic sense, but perfect in the sense of mature and flourishing, just like Jesus.

So today, you know you are going to face temptation. Therefore you know you are going to suffer - whether you give in or not. The question is, will you let it be the kind of suffering that shapes you into a kinder, truer, deeper soul? Or will you just give in and pay for it later? Talk with Jesus about these things.