Dear friends, do not be astonished that a trial by fire is occurring among you, as though something strange were happening to you.
[1 Pet 4:12 NET]
Most persons after a step of faith are looking for sunny skies and unruffled seas, and when they meet a storm and tempest they are filled with astonishment and perplexity. But this is just what we must expect to meet if we have received anything of the Lord. The best token of His presence is the adversary’s defiance, and the more real our blessing, the more certainly it will be challenged. It is a good thing to go out looking for the worst, and if it comes we are not surprised; while if our path be smooth and our way be unopposed, it is all the more delightful, because it comes as a glad surprise.
But let us quite understand what we mean by temptation. You, especially, who have stepped out with the assurance that you have died to self and sin, may be greatly amazed to find yourself assailed with a tempest of thoughts and feelings that seem to come wholly from within and you will be impelled to say, Why, I thought I was dead, but I seem to be alive. This, beloved, is the time to remember that temptation, the instigation, is not sin, but only of the evil one.