TEST AND TEMPTATION
A test comes from God and temptation from Satan, and not vice versa. God would never tempt a person to do evil. Whereas the purpose of Satan is to lead us to sin against God. When God allows a person to be tested, the devil might take over, as in the story of Job. The Spirit led Jesus to the desert for testing his integrity as a human person. The devil took over as the tempter. Test is a challenging situation where we make a choice between acceptance or rejection of our loyalty to God. Satan might even manipulate the Word of God, to make us sin against the Divine as he did to Eve and to Jesus. Our response is significant. Adam and Eve failed where Jesus succeeded.
The Greek word for “to be tempted” (peirazein) means to assess like we test-drive a car before we buy or interview a person before an appointment. A Biblical example is Abraham, who was tested before God made a covenant with him as the father of all nations (Gen 22:1). God also tested Israel for forty years before their entry into the promised land: “Remember how for these forty years the LORD, your God, has directed all your journeying in the wilderness, so as to test you by affliction, to know what was in your heart: to keep his commandments, or not” (Deut 8:2). God’s intention was not to lead them to sin, but to prove their commitment to God and to empower them to resist future temptations in their spiritual journey.
The struggles of our life in the world and unexpected events in life can be tests to keep our fidelity to God. Even the comforts of life can be a test as in the story of Rich Man and Lazarus (Lk 16:19-31) and in the parable of man who had a bountiful harvest (Lk 12:16-21). Let us be faithful to God in our good times and bad times.