Dear Dr. Graham:
When I gave my life to Jesus, I got the impression that I’d no longer be tempted to do anything wrong. But it isn’t true, and I’m tempted all the time. Why do I still face temptation? Maybe I’m not a real Christian.
Dear S.A.: Nowhere does the Bible say that we won’t be tempted to sin if we belong to Christ — not at all. In fact, we may face even stronger temptations once we commit our lives to Jesus — because the devil will do everything he can to make us sin and fill us with doubt.
Remember: No one ever faced stronger temptations than Jesus. —The Bible says that before He began preaching, the devil tempted Jesus for 40 days and nights, trying unsuccessfully to get Jesus to turn away from God’s plan for His life and follow Satan instead. But if Jesus faced temptation, won’t we face temptation also? Jesus, the Bible says, “has been tempted in every way, just as we are — yet he did not sin” (Hebrews 4:15).
How should we react to temptation? First, react with truth — the truth of God’s Word, the Bible. Be clear in your heart and mind what God’s will is, and ask God to help you turn away from Satan’s lies. A friend told me once, “When temptation knocks, I just send Jesus to the door!” That’s good advice.
Second, react with God’s help. You aren’t the same person you once were; God now lives within you by His Holy Spirit. Turn, therefore, to Him for the help you need to fight temptation. The Bible says, “No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful. ... He will also provide a way out so that you can endure it” (1 Corinthians 10:13).