Because he himself [Jesus] suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted. Hebrews 2:18 NIVTemptation results in suffering when we don’t give in to it. Why? I am tempted when something forbidden seems to be very attractive and desirable to me; when it appears to meet my legitimate needs. When I say no to temptation, I face the possibility that my need won’t be met and that I am losing out on pleasure I would really like to have. Doing without produces pain which leads to suffering.
An extreme example of this can be seen from the martyrs. Their temptation was to avoid torture and/or death. All they had to do was renounce Jesus in some form or another. When they refused to give in to the temptation, their suffering was extreme. But what about the sorts of temptations we have here in North America?
Do I suffer when I refuse to berate the person who has just done something really dumb and annoying? It may not be as painful as being burned in a fire but yes! my suffering comes from accepting the person’s behaviour and perhaps being perceived as a wimp by those around me.
Did I suffer when I chose to walk away from the woman I loved so that I could remain faithful to my husband and God? Very much so! The pain of separation seemed excruciating.
Jesus suffered when he was tempted and refused to give in and because of this he understands the pain I face when I choose to walk in obedience instead of giving in to my sinful desires. He understands and is able to help me. He can help you too.
Thank you, Jesus, for being willing to suffer in the same ways we must when we choose to follow you. Sometimes the pain of obedience seems too much to bear and I find ways to justify what temptation is screaming at me to give in to. Help me to remain steadfast, to choose your ways even when it means giving up what I want, even when it seems that the need I’m feeling may never be met. Give me the courage to endure the pain regardless of the severity. Help me to remember that if I cannot be faithful to you in little things, I will be unable to be faithful to you in the bigger things. I love you and want to honour you in every way.