“. . . he offered them money,” Acts 8:18
Everyone has their own temptations. Temptations are tempting, otherwise they wouldn’t be temptations! Temptation always comes as a lure. It’s something we can see ourselves doing. What we are tempted by, or why we are tempted by the things we are is not always explainable. Maybe we were hard-wired for it, maybe it was something someone suggested. Whatever the case, one thing is for sure, we will be tempted.
Temptation battles us in the secret places. In every Christ-follower’s life there’s always a Gethsemane. It’s a place where our endurance in the faith is tried. Where we are tempted to compromise. In refusing to take short cuts to the will of God, we find we are prepared for greater use by the Lord.
Simon, the sorcerer, offered the apostles money in exchange for the power of God. This was the moment of temptation for the apostles, because they had no money. Money is a powerful temptation when the pocket is empty. When money is in the hands of the tempter and it’s offered in return for something that is good, it becomes a powerful seduction.
It’s easy for us to deceive ourselves into thinking we’d never fall for such an absurd offer. We think we can predict our response. Too often we forget our weaknesses and the power of real, present temptation. Under the right conditions, we are all capable of falling.
The way to the kingdom always leads through the gate of Gethsemane. The way to the cross is always through temptation and suffering, discipline, and disappointment. It’s a long, crooked, weary way without much rest for the parched soul. Watch out, lest the tempter overpower you. Though the Spirit is willing enough, the body is weak.
The central challenge is to face the tempting, not gloss it over, or pretend like life is all sunshine and roses. But, instead, recognize trouble, temptation, and weakness, and follow the example of our Lord in the garden by crying out, “I want Your will, not mine.”
By what are you tempted the most? In the face of temptation, which wins? Your way or God’s way?