Recently I’ve been reading Thomas Watson’s fantastic book on Romans 8v28. He basically just goes through the many, many ways in which this verse is true. I’ve always thought of it in quite a limited way – normally only in regards to God having a plan in our suffering, but there’s so much more to it than that.
One way I’ve never thought of it is, that God uses the evil of temptation for the Christian’s good. Watson sees 8 ways this can be true…
1 – temptation makes us more prayerful.
2 – temptation leads us hate sin more.
3 – temptation prevents us from getting proud.
4 – temptation tests us.
5 – temptations give us experience to help others struggling with the same stuff in the future.
6 – temptations lead us to seek God more. Luther said temptations are ‘God’s embraces because he then most sweetly manifests himself to the soul.’
7 – temptations make us long for Heaven and an end to them.
8 – temptations lead us to experience the special grace and help of Christ.
This has really helped me to see that temptation, though Satan intends it for evil, can be used for good by our loving Father. But not if I continually give in. How much sanctifying, good stuff am I missing out on by reacting wrongly to temptation – caving in straight away instead of fighting and experiencing all the above rewards!
‘Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.’ Amen.