Thursday, February 11, 2010

Thomas Watson: Eight ways that temptation works for good

And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose (Romans 8:28).

There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it (1 Corinthians 10:13).

Are you suffering from particular trials and temptations? Does it seem that God has given you, as he did to Paul, a “thorn in the flesh” (see 2 Corinthians 12:7)?

Here is a summary from Thomas Watson’s book, All Things for Good, in which the Puritan pastor outlines eight ways that God overrules temptations for good in our lives:

1. Temptation sends us to God in prayer. “The more furiously Satan tempts, the more fervently the saint prays.”

2. God may actually use the temptation to sin to keep the believer from the commission of sin. “The more a child of God is tempted, the more he fights against the temptation…. That temptation which the devil uses as a spur to sin, God makes a bridle to keep back a Christian from it.”

3. Temptation abates the swelling of pride. “Better is that temptation which humbles me, than the duty which makes me proud.”

4. Temptation tries what is really in our hearts. “Temptation is a trial of our sincerity.”

5. God uses our experience of temptation to make us better fit to comfort others when they face similar distress. “A Christian must himself be under the buffetings of Satan, before he can speak a word in due season to him that is weary.”

6. Temptation stirs up God the Father’s compassion for us. “The child who is sick and bruised is most looked after.”

7. Temptation makes the saint long more for heaven. “There they shall be out of gunshot. Heaven is a place of rest, no bullets of temptation fly there.”

8. Temptation engages the strength of Christ on our behalf. “Christ is our Friend, and when we are tempted, He sets all His power working for us.”

Watson concludes: “Thus the evil of temptation is overruled for good.”

Grace and peace, Pastor Jeff Riddle

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