And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.
Temptation is an invitation or an enticement to commit an immoral act. Right now, Satan is raging over the earth as a roaring lion trying to devour Christians through powerful enticements toward immorality. No one is immune, and the closer you get to God, the more Satan will desire to sift you.
Sinners cannot be tempted, only true children of God. Rain cannot touch a body already under water. Sinners are already drowned in perdition. As children of Satan, they do as he dictates. They do not have to be tempted or enticed because they are already immoral, already condemned. As slaves, they are not free to choose. They simply go from dead, to twice dead, to being "plucked up by the roots." Sinners can be teased by the devil but not tempted. Satan teases his own children into deeper and darker pits of immorality. They are already dead in their trespasses and sins and no longer fight the battles of the living. That's why our Lord tells us to rejoice when we fall into trials and temptations. We are experiencing something unique only to maturing Christians.
Temptation is "training under combat conditions." It is "limited" warfare. God limits that warfare to the point of being bearable. God is wanting combat-seasoned warriors who can testify, "I was under fire! I've been in the battle! The enemy was all around me, shooting at me, trying to kill me; but God showed me how to take it and not be afraid. I have experience now, so the next time, I'll not fear."
Temptation is not a sign of weakness or a leaning toward the world. Rather, it is a graduation, a sign God trusts us. The Spirit led Jesus into the arena of temptation in the wilderness so He could learn the secret of power over all temptation. Actually, God was saying to Jesus, "Son, I have given you the Spirit without measure. I have confirmed you before the world. Now I am going to permit Satan to throw at you every device he has so you will see how powerless he is, so you will never once fear his dominion. Then you may go forth preaching the kingdom with faith that Satan is defeated, that he cannot touch you in any way."
That is why Christians are tempted today. Not to teach us something about ourselves. Not to show off the power of the devil. No! Temptation is allowed in the saintliest of lives to teach us the limitation of Satan, to defang the devil and expose his weakness. It reveals Satan as a scarecrow. We fear only what we do not understand.
Satan is just like the Wizard of Oz who uses all kinds of scary devices to frighten unenlightened people. What a horror show he puts on, a tinseled display of power, strength and dominion. However, God knows it’s all feeble noise and phoniness. Behind the stage is a weak wizard, that insignificant, powerless, bespectacled little baldheaded creature pushing buttons and pulling levers. Who in his right mind, knowing the mighty power of God, could but laugh at Satan's puny sideshow?
When we are tempted, it is God's way of saying to us, "Satan is powerless. He isn’t what he claims to be. He wears a false mask and shoots out fiery darts that fizzle and die in the presence of truth, but you must discover this yourself. Go into his circus. Stand up to his cheap threats then conquer your fear of him. He will not scare you; he will not expose weakness in you. He cannot make you do anything. Instead, you will discover his weakness. You will expose him as a phony wizard. He will flee from you because he doesn't want you to share with anyone else the secret you have learned."