Christ was tempted in exactly the same way that you are being tempted today, every temptation that we experience, He experienced, the difference was He did not sin in any of those temptations. The question is, did He feel badly about Himself in the midst of those temptations, did He need to express remorse, or even repentance if you like, because He had a “bad” thought. How does one repent of something they did not do, how long must a thought remain in our heads before it becomes sin?
The path of temptation is an easy path to follow, for we are never tempted by anything that we do not desire, a temptation is something we want, but because of our love for Christ we do not acquiesce to. The born-again believer cares little what the world thinks of him as long as he is not dishonoring the name of Jesus Christ, their moral construct is not based upon the precepts of God, the ability to adhere to them would be impossible anyway, every single individual that is lost has set in front of them their own ideologies of what is right and what is wrong, some for the generalities, they are as varied as the seasons. Some can justify nearly every temptation; self is the only overriding factor in the realm of emotions in the world of the lost.
“There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.” (1 Cor. 10:13) A well known verse among the children of God, but the question remains, do our thoughts constitute a sin, did the man who “looketh on a woman to lust after” (Matt. 5:28) commit a sin because of a simple glance, a momentary sexual desire for what might have been another man’s wife, can adultery be committed without the actual act occurring, does a passing thought constitute a sin?
I would debate the point in the negative, for our Lord was tempted just as we are tempted, that means that He had a thought, the temptation, the exact same one that passes through your mind on occasion is the same thought that Christ had, yet without sin. We do not sin unless we fall to the temptation, but the actual act does not need to be committed in the flesh as it were, the continuing thoughts are enough. When we place ourselves in a position, either physically or mentally, that makes it easier for that temptation to become a reality, we have sinned, for we are attempting to allow circumstances, circumstances that we have not inadvertently set in place, but by choice, to occur. The woman who no longer desires to put back on the weight that she spent so many years diligently striving to lose would do well not to seek a position in a local bakery, the temptation would be too great, the way out that is promised her would be to decline the position, but not to fear the occasional bakery treat.
But this speaks of the physical, what of our thoughts? The man the Lord spoke of did not commit the act of adultery in his flesh, but in his mind, the woman became the object of his fleshly desires, but he never knew her flesh in reality. A passing glance is not a sin, the mind that reflects, the mind that allows itself to be consumed by the temptation is the mind that has already fallen into sin. There is no difference between the man who spends his every waking moment thinking about sex with someone else besides his wife than the man who spends his money at the brothel, the intent is the same, the actions of the mind are counted as reality in the eyes of God in this area.
The world has no shortage of temptations for us in this age, the eyes can be filled at nearly every moment with everything that it offers, and where the eyes allow themselves to ponder, the flesh will almost always inevitably follow, the sin rests in the mind that will not turn itself. Feeling bad about it will not fix the problem, repentance is the only answer, a complete turning away from the continuing thoughts that are not pleasing in the eyes of the Lord is to be the response of the believer in Christ. “Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.” (2 Cor. 10:5)
Do not think that you will ever be completely successful in this endeavor, it is our sin nature and we will not be released from it until we are glorified, it started with our parents and their response to their disobedience to the commandment of our Lord, instead of running to Him and confessing their sin, they hid in shame. Our adversary has little concern for the lost, if he is not allowed to kill the child of God, he will do all that he is allowed to, to dishonor the Lord God Almighty, by having one, if not all, of His children fall into a temptation so that His name will be blasphemed. The man of God is to be vigilant, (1 Peter 5:8) we are to be wise as serpents, (Matt. 10:16) our shield is to be up and at the ready. (Eph. 6:16)
Sin begins in the mind, and it always arrives in a very subtle manner, how much you allow your mind to concentrate on the desires it is not to have is what constitutes a sin. These are the items that are the most personal to us, the ones we fear to speak about even with those we love the most, these are our crosses, and they will not be taken with us into glory, they will not pass thru that narrow gate with us, for no sin stands in the presence of God. But do not expect them to completely disappear while you still draw breath, “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.” (1 John 1:8) Do not try to hide from them, but do not pretend they are no longer there, they will remain with you until that final day when you are finally released from them.
Repent when you fall into them, but do not let the passing glance or the occasional desire for a donut ruin your walk with the Savior, He knows exactly how you feel.