The Blessing of Temptation

The Cranky GermanSee the angry guy with a dimple in his chin? It's Martin Luther. He said something to me last week that was so profound I thought I would share it with you all. Last week I was sick. You know, fever, aches, all that stuff. I was also studying Romans 6, and fighting against sin; sometimes winning, sometimes losing. In the midst of that Luther leaned in and whispered something to me. You know, the kind of whisper that makes you pay closer attention to what's being said? Well, it felt that way to me, but then again I did have a fever. I was reading Luther's commentary on Romans, and in it he explains that the Christian must make his temptation a servant, forcing it to work for his good and sanctification. Yep, he said temptation can work for our good, and his explanation is very helpful.

If sin tempts us and fails to rule over us, it is forced to serve the saints, since "all things work together for good to them that love God (Rom 8:28)." Thus impurity by its attack renders the soul all the more chaste. Pride makes it all the more humble. Indolence makes it all the more industrious. Avarice makes it all the more generous. Anger makes it all the more gentle. Gluttony makes it all the more obedient. In this way temptation turns out to be a great blessing. Sin indeed rules in our mortal body if we yield to it; but we must resist it and make it our servant.

Don't misunderstand his words. Your sin is not your servant. But temptation, when overcome, becomes a blessing that God uses for your good. Every small victory matters, and only yields more fruit and sanctification (Rom 6:19). Encouraging words for the sinner/saints of the world.