temptation is an invitation to sin, while a trial is a test of our faith. God allows trials and temptations but he never tempts anyone for sin. Temptation is often part of the trial.
Trial and temptation are linked in the Bible. So it is difficult to understand the difference. The Old Testament does not speak directly about temptation, it only mentions trial. In the New Testament, in the original Greek, the word peirasmon is used for both “temptation” and “trial”. Peirasmon can have the meaning of:
- A test or a test
- An attempt or an experiment
- A temptation
In both trial and temptation, we are tested and have to make a choice. So how can we distinguish trial from temptation?
Trial – the test of faith
A trial is a situation in which our faith is tested . Faced with life’s problems and difficulties, we are faced with a choice: to continue to believe in Jesus and obey him, despite everything, or to abandon our faith in him. That choice is not always easy, but when we choose Jesus, we win.
Abraham was tested when God told him to sacrifice his son Isaac ( Genesis 22: 1-2 ). Now he had a very difficult choice: to kill his beloved son and only heir, or to disobey God. Abraham chose to believe in God, who had told him that he would have many descendants from Isaac. He believed that God could raise Isaac to fulfill His promise. So Abraham decided to obey God. Seeing his faith, God prevented Abraham from sacrificing Isaac and blessed him greatly.
See here: why do we go through trials?
Temptation – the invitation to sin
Temptation is the calling of evil . We can be tempted by our own sinful nature, by the sin around us in the world or by the devil. The temptation to seek to create the desire to sin ( James 1: 14-15 ). The desire then leads to the act, if we are not alert and resist. In this situation, we also have a choice: succumb to temptation or resist and remain faithful to God.
Jesus was tempted in the desert, when the devil offered him the government of all the peoples of the world, if Jesus worshiped him ( Luke 4: 5-7 ). The offer was appealing, Jesus could dominate the whole world, without a fight or dispute. It was so easy … But for that, he would have to betray the Father. Jesus resisted temptation and chose to conquer the world in the best and most difficult way: obeying God and dying on the cross.
Trial and temptation usually go together. Abraham was probably tempted to disobey God when He asked him to sacrifice Isaac. Jesus’ temptation was also a trial, because he had to choose whether he wanted to remain faithful to the Father. The trial is the situation that generates the choice, while the temptation is the suggestion of choosing the wrong option.
Find out here: where does the temptation come from?
Does God tempt us?
No, God never tempts anyone for evil ( James 1:13 ). But He allows us to go through trials and temptations throughout our lives. These situations compel us to take a stand and make us grow. When our faith is tested, it gets stronger. We have to put all our trust in God and then we see how powerful He is!
Jesus never promised a life without difficulties or challenges. He himself was tempted by the devil! But he showed that God is faithful to help us in all trials and temptations. When the situation is too much for us, we can ask for His support and He helps us to escape. God’s goal is not to make us suffer, but to help us achieve greater glory, with full trust in Him ( James 1: 2-4 ).