One needs to draw a clear distinction between test and temptation. Job in the Old Testament is perhaps a very appropriate circumstance that can be used to differentiate what test means as distinct from temptation. In the Book of Job 1: 6-22 the bible made it clear that HE (God)knew Job as a perfect man who would never abandon HIM, the God of all creation. The basis for allowing Satan to test Job was that He was very sure who Job was, it was a means of proving Satan wrong that Satan has not conquered all the children of God; more so that not all his children had allowed pride to ruin their relationship with God. Whereas, Satan’s idea of temptation is seeking to destroy those who stood in complete obedience to God. In Job 1: 6-22 Job was blessed richly and would always make sacrifices to cleanse his children in case they have committed sin against God. The following scenario proves the point. When God called His children, Satan followed them. At a point Satan referred to Job as being reverent to God because of his riches and went ahead to take excuse to tempt Job. God trusted the faith of Job that he would not fail; and therefore allowed Satan to tempt Job whose excellent relationship with God would prove Satan wrong. As far as Satan was concerned he was to tempt or coax or persuade Job to do wrong, or simply put to coax Job into denying God. In this, he troubled Jobs’ life with a series of losses or calamities including loss of all his children and complete destruction of his wealth. Within twenty-four hours all he stood for in life was ruined. His health was afflicted, three friends provoked him so as to denounce God, even his wife asked him to curse God and die as the pain and anguish got to a breaking point. In all, the faith of Job stood unshakened
In another circumstance, the serpent’s deceptive method to cause Eve to sin was by carefully leading Eve to take an action forbidden by God. The popular quote verse from Genesis 1: 1 “Yea, has God said, Yea shall not eat of the tree of the garden?” was the misleading question with Satan’s answer “Ye shall not surely die”, which led to the fall of Adam and Eve. Genesis 3: 1-4 (KJV) Joseph was also tempted with amorous relationship with Potiphar’s wife, but he being guided by God refused the overture Genesis 39:7-23. It landed him in jail and the wisdom of God led him from “From prison to the Palace” of King Pharaoh as the Prime Minister in a foreign land. To Potiphar’s wife, it was an enjoyable offer but to Joseph, it was an abominable breach of trust and heinous crime against God.
It is crucial to know and watch out for the ways in which Satan has always tempted we humans. He attacks that most vulnerable part of any person in order to make human species sin. According to 2Corinthians 2: 11 (KJV). It says “Lest Satan should get an advantage of us: for we are ignorant of his devices”. Briefly, temptation has the nature of “carrot and stick” whereas testing a person has the nature of who is on the defensive mode and cannot be moved? The barrenness of Sarah did not cause Abraham to stumble in faith. The need for him to sacrifice Isaac to God was the most daunting test of faith. Abraham obeyed and God showed forth at the point of slaughtering the promised child. Testing is thus for evaluating known faith, or standard of living, but more so, faith in God. Is there anyone that is above temptation? Of course, no one is above temptation. Our Lord Jesus was even tempted by the devil. In Matthew 4: 1-11 Jesus used the word of God known to be the sword of the spirit to defeat the devil. Jesus always countered the devil by saying. “It is written: Man shall not leave by bread alone, but by every word that procedeth out of the mouth of God”. To be able to overcome temptation it is still the precept of Christ we are supposed to follow, because that was how Jesus Christ overcame the devil. The way to corner and defeat the devil using THE WORD OF GOD can be traced to 1 Peter 5: 8-9 where Jesus declared “Be sober, be vigilant because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking who he may devour: Whom resist steadfast in the faith, knowing that same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world”.
Let us realize that Satan always shows itself as Angel of light 2 Corinthians 11: 14-15 “And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works.” What can we do to overcome the temptation always posed by Satan? Jesus has told us to watch and pray or else we would yield to temptation as in Matthew6: 13 “And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and power, and the glory for ever Amen”. It is reechoed in Matthew 26: 41 that says: “Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak”. In 1 Corinthians 10: 12, we are admonished to take heed: “For we dare not make ourselves of the number, or compare ourselves with some that commend themselves, but they measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves are not wise. Also in James 4: 7, we are enjoined to; “Submit yourself therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you”. We should be praying without ceasing.
The bottom line in Ephesians 6: 10-13 (KJV) “Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. Put on the armor of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Wherefore take unto you the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand”. Praise the Lord.