Everybody experiences temptations. Moreover, it is important for us to recognize the differences between sin and temptation. For instance, forgiveness is required for debts and trespasses. Temptation requires deliverance (Matthew 6:12-13). Jesus Christ was tempted in the same manner as we are, yet remained unblemished from the stains of sin (Hebrews 4:14-16). That is how He can sympathize with our weaknesses and failures. He was tested and shown to be faithful.
Temptation can originate from one of three sources: Satan (Ephesians 6:11; 1 Peter 5:8), our surroundings (1 John 2:15), and our own flesh (Romans 7:18). Man has an inherent desire to entertain sinful ideas. While Satan is the ultimate source of all evil, our sinful nature works alongside him to ensnare our souls. The process of spiritual temptation begins with desire, blossoms into temptation which leads to sin, and can then lead up to spiritual death (James 1:14-15).
Temptation itself is not sin. After all, even Christ experienced it (Matthew 4:1-11).We know that He lived a sinless live. Temptation becomes sin when we choose to act in accordance to our sinful desires. It makes no difference whether they take place in our minds where such desires are not made manifest to others. They are not hidden from God. Christ was tempted externally, but not internally inclined to act sinfully. He does not have a sin nature.
Worldly thoughts would include characteristics such as pride, lust, greed, and covetousness. They stem forth from our hearts and defile us (Matthew 15:11). We need to flee from temptation. That is the best thing we can do in such contexts. Temptation revolves around sin. Evil thoughts are sin. Temptation makes us want to act contrary to the commandments of God. What both sin and temptation have in common is that they can ruin our souls.
All people who die in a state of unbelief will end up eternally condemned in the lake of fire. What we need to do is replace the fruits of the flesh with the fruits of the Spirit. Despite the fact that overcoming temptation can refine our character, we need to do our best to avoid situations that will place us into a state of temptation (Romans 13:13-14). We need to distract ourselves from the sources of temptation by focusing on the promises of God. Only through Him can we have true and lasting joy, hope, peace, and fulfillment.
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