Why do you think Jesus could endure such a great temptation in the Garden of Gethsemane, even to the point of sweating drops of blood? (Luke 22:44) Was it because He was superhuman; He had some ability we don’t possess? That’s not what Scripture teaches us, for it says that He had a nature just like ours. To show you this, I would like to briefly look at two passage in passing here:
15 For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. (Heb.4:15 NKJV*)
3 For what the law could not do in that it was weak through the flesh, God did by sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, on account of sin: He condemned sin in the flesh, 4 that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. (Rom.8:3-4 NKJV*)
I want you to notice two things. First, it says Jesus can sympathize with our weaknesses because He was tempted just as we are, except He didn’t give into them. Secondly, it says in Hebrews that He came in “sinful flesh.” In other words, just like ours.
As you probably know, the word “flesh” (Greek: σάρξ – sarx), in this context, means human nature (or frailty). The Phillips Translation says it that way:
“But God has met this by sending his own Son Jesus Christ to live in that human nature which causes the trouble…. (Rom.8:3b PHILLIPS).
What Paul tells us in Romans is that Jesus was able to resist temptation, not according to His divine nature, nor did He do it by the Law, which is powerless and only heightens our awareness of sin, but according to the power of the Spirit of God in Him.
Which is exactly what we’re also supposed to do.
Here’s my question: if Jesus can resist temptation to the point of sweating blood, do you think we can overcome all of our relatively light afflictions?
You might say, but I’m not God! Yes, of course, and that’s the point! God is in you, and Jesus is our example in how to live according to His power, not our own.
The reason Jesus could resist even the greatest temptation was not because He was God the Son, but because He learned to trust His Father in all points of temptation. As the writer of Hebrews also says:
8 though He was a Son, yet He learned obedience by the things which He suffered. (Heb.5:8 NKJV*)
And that brings me to my main point.
God allows you and me to go through trials so that we can learn how to trust His power in us. This is how we grow strong in the faith. Paul said this very thing to the Corinthians, which I’ll show in The Passion Translation because it’s more clear:
13 We all experience times of testing, which is normal for every human being. But God will be faithful to you. He will screen and filter the severity, nature, and timing of every test or trial you face so that you can bear it. And each test is an opportunity to trust him more, for along with every trial God has provided for you a way of escape that will bring you out of it victoriously. (1 Cor.10:13 TPT*)
This is the popular “way of escape” verse. In the original Greek, the word for trial (πειρασμός – peirasmos) is interchangeable with the word “temptation.”
But before I go further, I should point out that God is not the one tempting us, as James tells us:
13 Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am tempted by God”; for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone. 14 But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed. (James 1:13-14 NKJV*)
It’s clear that these trials and temptations originate from things within us. And it’s also important to know that God only allows them to the degree that we can overcome them:
“But God will be faithful to you. He will screen and filter the severity, nature, and timing of every test or trial you face so that you can bear it.” (1 Cor.10:13b*)
So, how do we walk according to the Spirit instead of the flesh and live this overcoming life? It certainly doesn’t mean we try harder next time, that’s a hamster wheel called religious legalism. It means we trust more in His power residing in us.
Here’s what you and I need to understand, otherwise we won’t benefit from what’s going on inside of us:
Even though God allows these trials to befall us, He won’t let them be too much for us because their purpose is so that we can learn how to defeat them with His power!
What this means, dear reader, is that you and I were meant to win every trial and escape every trap we may encounter! It also means that when we lose the battle, we’re still believing a lie more than we’re trusting God, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing if we learn this from the experience.
Beloved, there’s no condemnation for those who love God, but He’s also a good Father. He was a good Father to His Son through all the things Jesus suffered, including the Garden of Gethsemane. And He wants you and me to grow up, strong in the faith. Untested faith is superficial and too frail to be of any use to anyone.
He is faithful to complete that which He has begun in us. Embrace the process. You were meant to come out of every trial and temptation victoriously!