How do you know if it's the devil who is tempting you to do something, or if God is just testing you to see if you'll do what's right? I try to make the right choices, but I'm not sure I always know what to do.


The most important thing for you to remember is that God never tempts us to do anything wrong. The devil tempts us to do wrong, and so does our own sinful human nature – but not God. The Bible says, “When tempted, no one should say, ‘God is tempting me.’ For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone” (James 1:13).

But it is true that God tests us – that is, He allows us to get into situations where we must make a choice between right and wrong. Remember: At the beginning of His ministry Jesus was tempted by the devil to abandon the mission God had given Him – and God allowed that test to happen. (You can read about it in Matthew 4:1-11.) But Jesus passed the test by confronting the devil’s lies with the truth of God’s Word. So must we.

Sometimes Satan’s temptations are obvious and the choice is very clear. For example, he may tempt you to lie, or be greedy, or commit immorality, or any of the other sins God has clearly forbidden in the Ten Commandments or elsewhere in His Word. When that happens, seek God’s help at once and turn your back on it, definitely and without hesitation.

But sometimes the devil’s temptations are more subtle, and at first it may not be clear which way is right. The key is to pray, and to seek God’s will above all else. And when we choose the right way, we will be spiritually stronger as a result.