Tempting or testing
Acts 5:9 -
Then Peter said unto her, How is it that ye have agreed together to tempt the Spirit of the Lord? behold, the feet of them which have buried thy husband are at the door, and shall carry thee out.
There are some words in the Bible which are not understood well in their English translations i.e. the word 'tempt' which is also translated as 'test' or the words 'bless' or 'curse' which have the same Hebrew or Greek words. In English we have two different words test and tempt but in Greek and Hebrew the word is the same, 'peirazo' and 'nacah' respectively. What complicates matters further is when we have scriptures like:-
James 1:13 - Let no man say when he is tempted [peirazo], I am tempted [peirazo] of God: for God cannot be tempted [peirazo] with evil, neither tempteth [apeirastos - negative of peirazo] he any man:
But then we have scriptures shows God tempted:-
Genesis 22:1 - And it came to pass after these things, that God did tempt Abraham, and said unto him, Abraham: and he said, Behold, here I am.
Even though tempting and testing is the same word in Greek or Hebrew yet we see God is not attributed with tempted but He does test and it is through the testing that we grow and mature in Him. He does test only when we are far from Him and He desires us to bring us closer. That is the reason in the prayer Our Father we ask God not to test us but by His grace bring us closer to Him. James clears the confusion between testing and tempting with a clear emphasises on the purpose or intention of testing by using the word 'tempted / tested with evil'.
When Jesus was tempted or tested by Satan He could have easily done that task but He refused to oblige Satan's request because Jesus could discern the purpose of Satan's testing or tempting.
Yesterday in our message we read how we can lose everything for something insignificant if we do not discern things. Today, the Lord is bringing our attention to the importance of discerning the purpose or intention of desiring things, when the purpose or intention is evil than it can destroy or relationship with the Lord and if it is good than it will bring us closer to the Lord.
Having desires is not evil for in Psalms 34:8 the Bible says 'taste and see the Lord is good'; without desire we will never taste or see the goodness of God. What the Lord is telling us today is when we desire let is first understand the purpose of our desire and what fruit it will plant in us and then only we should entertain the desire. A Carnal person is a person who entertains all his or her desires and such a person lands up far from God and close to Satan who is the father of evil desires.
Jacob was a sober person compared to Esau not because Jacob did not have desires, but because his desires were not worldly like of Esau. We should also keep in mind that Esau was a God fearing person and a person blessed by the Lord, yet due to his lack of self-control and discernment of his desires he fell from the eyes of God.
[ Prayer Starter ]
Lord, help us be sober and not reactive to our every desire. Help us not to be carnal minded but reflect on the purpose or fruit of our every desire. Give us more of your Spirit of discernment...
This prayer we make in Jesus' Name, Amen.
[ Reference Scriptures ]
Psalms 34:8 - O taste and see that the LORD is good: blessed is the man that trusts in him.
1 Corinthians 10:9 - Neither let us tempt [ekpeirazo - tempt / test thoroughly] Christ, as some of them also tempted [peirazo], and were destroyed of serpents.
Luke 4:12 (when Satan tempted Jesus) And Jesus answering said unto him, It is said, Thou shalt not tempt [peirazo] the Lord thy God.
1 Corinthians 10:13 - There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.
Psalms 10:17 - LORD, thou hast heard the desire of the humble: thou wilt prepare their heart, thou wilt cause thine ear to hear:
Matthew 6:13 - And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.
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