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Temptation or Testing

God, Christ, & The Holy Spirit

Temptation or Testing

Postby willowtree » Sun Jul 09, 2017 5:01 pm

I am prompted to ask a question because some are wondering why the lack of discussion on the forum. but also because I am still working around my question for quite a while, with no clear answers.

In an earlier post the discussion was raised about the difference between temptation and testing, and generally concluded with saying that temptation indicated the desire to do something wrong, and testing the challenge to do something right. Then someone asked at what point is this determined. This was not answered as near as I could tell but left hanging. It has kept me busy wondering.

When Jesus was tempted in the wilderness to turn the stones into bread, it was reported as a temptation and the answer clearly given by Jesus was 'No'. Not long after, Jesus went to a wedding feast and when the host ran out of wine, was put on the spot to do something about it. At first he hesitated, not surprisingly, since he had so recently refused to turn stones into bread. But he soon responded and the result was that he turned water into wine. This is not a whole lot different from turning rocks into bread as far as my unscientific mind and the process of miracles is concerned. But the question is - what made one a temptation and the other a 'test'?

At what point in our swamp full of alligators do we consider that this situation is a test and not a temptation, or vice versa?

If we consider that the devil used the formula "If you are the Son of God, turn these stones into bread", then I am further reminded that Peter used this same formula when he saw Jesus walking on the water. "If you are the Son of God, bid me come to you on the water."

A further question arises. In the Lord's prayer, we say "lead us not into temptation..." but we are told elsewhere that God does not tempt us, so why are we asking God not to do it? Does this have anything to do with the issue at hand being initially neutral, but taking on a moral stance when we contemplate our alternatives?

Graeme
God, who is Rich in mercy, made us Alive with Christ, Even when we were dead in transgressions - it is by GRACE you have been saved. Eph 2:4.
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Re: Temptation or Testing

Postby robbyyoung » Sun Jul 09, 2017 8:38 pm

Hi Graeme,

This may help.

https://ptv.org/temptation-test/

Blessings!
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Re: Temptation or Testing

Postby mattrose » Sun Jul 09, 2017 9:33 pm

willowtree wrote:In an earlier post the discussion was raised about the difference between temptation and testing, and generally concluded with saying that temptation indicated the desire to do something wrong, and testing the challenge to do something right. Then someone asked at what point is this determined. This was not answered as near as I could tell but left hanging. It has kept me busy wondering.


I believe every test is simultaneously a temptation and every temptation is simultaneously a test. What we call it depends on perspective. In a given situation, God wants us to use an 'obstacle' to take a step toward of faith toward/in Him. In that very same situation, Satan wants to use that obstacle to make us stumble. Every obstacle is either a stepping stone or a stumbling block. There is no need to determine if a given situation is one or the other. It is both.

That is why it is truth that the Spirit led Jesus into the wilderness AND Satan tempted Him there.

When Jesus was tempted in the wilderness to turn the stones into bread, it was reported as a temptation and the answer clearly given by Jesus was 'No'. Not long after, Jesus went to a wedding feast and when the host ran out of wine, was put on the spot to do something about it. At first he hesitated, not surprisingly, since he had so recently refused to turn stones into bread. But he soon responded and the result was that he turned water into wine. This is not a whole lot different from turning rocks into bread as far as my unscientific mind and the process of miracles is concerned. But the question is - what made one a temptation and the other a 'test'?


I think turning stones into bread out in the wilderness would have only served Jesus (who was seemingly the only present in the vicinity). It would not have been a 'sign' to anyone. But Jesus turning water into wine was a 'sign' to many at the wedding feast and, in some ways, a public inauguration of Jesus' ministry. I think that when Satan tempted Jesus, He prayerfully realized that doing such a miracle was not in God's timing. But at the wedding feast, He prayerfully realized that it was time (NOT time for Him to fulfill His ultimate purpose on the cross, but to begin His public ministry). The wedding feast was the right time and place.

At what point in our swamp full of alligators do we consider that this situation is a test and not a temptation, or vice versa?


The former was a test whether Jesus would listen to Satan's temptation or not
I don't really think of the latter as a test or a temptation. It was just a situation Jesus had to discern whether the timing was right to begin His public 'sign' ministry.

If we consider that the devil used the formula "If you are the Son of God, turn these stones into bread", then I am further reminded that Peter used this same formula when he saw Jesus walking on the water. "If you are the Son of God, bid me come to you on the water."


I think this goes to prove that motives behind words are just as important (even more important) than the words themselves. Satan's motives was to get Jesus off course and break His relationship to the Father. Peter's motive was to take a step of faith.

A further question arises. In the Lord's prayer, we say "lead us not into temptation..." but we are told elsewhere that God does not tempt us, so why are we asking God not to do it? Does this have anything to do with the issue at hand being initially neutral, but taking on a moral stance when we contemplate our alternatives?

Graeme


I take it as follows.... "Don't just lead us into situations (that could be labeled tests/temptations), but deliver us out of them"

In other words, we take for granted that we'll be brought into situations that are both tests/temptations, but we ask God to help us pass them as tests instead of stumble on them as temptations.

So, in sum, it's not about determining whether a given situation is a test or a temptation. It's both. It's about using a given situation to deepen one's walk with God vs. allowing a situation to damage our relationship with God.
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Re: Temptation or Testing

Postby willowtree » Wed Jul 19, 2017 9:44 pm

mattrose wrote:
So, in sum, it's not about determining whether a given situation is a test or a temptation. It's both. It's about using a given situation to deepen one's walk with God vs. allowing a situation to damage our relationship with God.


Thanks Robbie and Matt for your helpful responses.

Graeme
God, who is Rich in mercy, made us Alive with Christ, Even when we were dead in transgressions - it is by GRACE you have been saved. Eph 2:4.
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Re: Temptation or Testing

Postby TK » Thu Jul 20, 2017 4:13 pm

A further question arises. In the Lord's prayer, we say "lead us not into temptation..." but we are told elsewhere that God does not tempt us, so why are we asking God not to do it?


I am amazed that I have never asked this question myself before; never even crossed my mind. That's a good one.
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Re: Temptation or Testing

Postby darinhouston » Wed Aug 09, 2017 4:03 pm

Steve suggests this is a hebraism that should be read don't "only lead... but also" and that we should take the passages dealing with God not tempting us as implying He doesn't seek to have us fall into sin.


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