Temptation is Ultimately Not About You

School is around the corner, and there will be so many temptations that come along with the new schoolyear. That’s why I believe it’s important to know something about temptation: it’s not about you, it’s about God! You might be saying, “What are you talking about?” Let me explain before you write me off.

I’ve been reading a book called The Church and the Surprising Offense of God’s Love by Jonathon Leeman. This book is a deep read that has blown me away, but one section jumped out to me in particular when I was reading. He was discussing God’s love and God’s law, and within both of these there is a concept that needs to be understood: God is ultimately about bringing glory to Himself. God’s law is about God, and God’s love is about God.

Our culture pushes individualism, and behind the heart of this philosophy is a rebellion against authority. Think about it. Culture pushes you to express yourself – that you are who you are, and if someone doesn’t like it, they can get over it. Meanwhile, authority means someone else is making the laws that we either have to submit to or rebel against. These laws are placed to protect that which is precious. You’ve heard it before. Do not murder. Why? Life is precious. Do not steal. Why? Your personal belongings are precious. Laws are set to protect that which is precious, and therefore enacts judgment if broken. If there is no judgment, then really there is no worth.

If God then places laws within His Word, He does it for a reason. He values life, your life, but specifically how your life brings Him glory! I’m not saying that you have to do this and be this way in order for God to love you. But 1 John does say that if you love God you will obey His commandments. There is that word, “obey.” Obedience means there is an authority. How does this work? Enter the Trinity.

God desires righteous living. Righteous living is found in Christ through the work of the Holy Spirit. Do you see it? Let me break it down. God desires righteous living from His people. We, in ourselves, can’t do it. He sent His only Son to be that righteousness for us. Knowing Christ, accepting what He has done and submitting to Christ-centeredness feeds the Holy Spirit in you. Seeing what God has done through His Son feeds His own love in you which in turn brings Himself glory!

So what does this have to do with temptation? God gave us His Law for at least two reasons: to show what He sees as precious and to reveal our deficiency. We, therefore, need something greater – Christ. When we are living in Christ, we live in obedience through the Holy Spirit. When temptation arises we need to ask, “How will God most be glorified in this temptation?” The answer is through obedience of His Word, His commands, His law. It’s not about you, it’s about Him!

What does this look like for you, me, and every believer? Good question. There are going to be times during this year that you will be tempted to do things that contradict God. There may be times when friends want you to join in something you know is wrong. There may be times when you catch yourself in a bad situation with the opposite sex. There are a billion temptations that you will face within the year. Remember that ultimately those are not about you but about God’s glory. When you choose God’s glory in these temptations there may be different outcomes as well. You may find respect among peers and others; you may find persecution and suffering from those around you. Either way brings God glory! If you are respected, praise God! You revealed God to those around you! If you are persecuted, praise God! God is confirmed in you!

Are you always going to do the right thing? No, and praise God for grace! Remember though, it is ultimately not about you – it’s about God!


Ryan Thomason has been around Transform Student Ministries for many years. Ryan is a former Boot Camper, Staffer, and Intern.

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