“I can resist everything except temptation.” –Oscar Wilde, the playwright
At the outset of Jesus’ public ministry, Jesus was led by the Spirit Jesus to be tempted by the devil. And, while the text doesn’t say it, He was being tested by God. Every temptation is both a test from God and an enticement from Satan. Temptations will test to prove a thing genuine or a test will become a temptation to prove a thing false. In the former sense God tests us. But it is in the latter sense that the devil tempts us. The battle Jesus faced in the wilderness is the battle we face every day.
We see this pattern occurring in every area of life. God sends a trial and Satan turns it into a temptation. For example, a child contracts a deadly disease; you lose your job; you get a promotion and a nice raise in salary. All events in life are used by God to build us up or used by Satan to pull us down. Tests and trials are a normal part of the Christian life. A trial, however, becomes a temptation when we respond wrongly. That which was sent into our life in order to make us stronger is that which actually tears us down and makes us weaker when we respond in the power of the flesh. What God means for good; Satan uses for evil. We hang in the balance between the tests from God and the perversions of Satan as he twists that which God gives us and whispers in our ear to thwart the things of God.
Every temptation, therefore, is an opportunity to demonstrate our faith in God and prove our allegiance to Christ or succumb to evil and give in to the Devil. Chose God. Pass the test. Win the battle.