Q & A
Why is it that even after we become Christians we find ourselves still pulled by temptation?
Being one with Christ does not negate being human. As Norman Grubb explains in Yes, I Am, “ our oneness with Christ does not alter our two-ness in being He and I.” He explains further that the human faculties that are affected by temptation are necessary in that they are the same faculties that are used by God to express Himself through us. So if we became insensitive to the temptations “of the world” to do the wrong things, we would also be desensitized to the “temptations” or “pulls” of the Spirit to do the right things.
Inability to resist temptations in and of my own self is what leads me to let go of the lie of independent “self,” because it becomes obvious to me that “I of myself can do nothing” and that if God does not do the living of this life in my form, then it will not be done. So temptation serves this initial purpose to drive me into recognition of my powerless self.
Now those same temptations keep me aware of Christ living this life out through me, for when I think that I can keep myself from doing evil, I have bought Satans lie (not God tempting me, as James makes it clear in 1:13) that I have power apart from God to do right. My failure to be able to do this presses me into affirming it is Christ only who has power to live right.
Temptations are a part of a life, a walking out of God’s perfect plan. Hebrews 4:15 clarifies that temptations cannot be sin in and of themselves, since Jesus was tempted in all things and yet did not sin. So we see that temptations are opportunities to watch God in action. Before temptation is even given, God has already provided the answer. Our response is simply to accept the situation as God’s situation and watch Him walk it out through us. In doing this, we become a light to the world (Matt. 5:14) that draws others to want for themselves what they see operating in us.