Facts about Temptation - The Warrior's Journey®

Facts about Temptation

Author: Chaplain, COL Scott McChrystal, USA (Ret.)

. Photo by is licensed under CC By 2.0

“Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift all of you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail.  And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.” (Luke 22:31-32) 

At this dreadful time, when Jesus said to his enemies, “Now this hour and the power of darkness are yours” (v.53), Jesus informs Peter that a great test awaits him and the disciples. In His words, Jesus reveals a treasure trove of facts about temptation. 

Fact #1: Satan cannot tempt us without first requesting and receiving God’s permission. “Satan has asked,” said Jesus. Why would he have to ask, unless he was far less powerful than Christ, unless Christ kept us closely guarded, and unless Christ considered us His own property?  Satan had to ask permission to tempt Job as well (Job 1-2). And when God grants permission, it’s always with strict limitations. God “will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able to bear” (1 Corinthians 10:13). 

Fact #2: Temptation comes to all of us. “Satan has asked to sift all of you.”  Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 10:13, “No temptation has come upon you except what is common to all people.”  Satan’s strategy is to isolate us and make us feel we’re all alone in our struggles. We thwart Satan’s tactics by reaching out to others for prayer and help. 

Fact #3: Temptation has a purpose. Jesus uses the metaphor of “sifting wheat.” When farmers sifted grain, they were trying to remove the outer hull, called “chaff,” from each kernel. Using a “winnowing fork” they would hurl the grain into the air. This allowed the wind to carry away the ugly chaff and the heavier kernel to fall back to the threshing floor. Satan’s purpose in temptation is to hurl before us the chaff of our lives – to overwhelm us with our sin in order to discourage us. God purpose is to remove the sin. 

Fact #4: Christ is interceding for us. Christ is at the Father’s right hand continuously praying for preservation and victory under fire (Romans 8:34; Hebrews 7:25; 1 John 2:1-2). And while Jesus prays for us in heaven, the Holy Spirit, Paul tells us, is interceding for us from within our very being where He keeps a close eye on our condition. 

Fact #5: Christ not only foresees our failure (so it’s no surprise to Him). He also foresees our return to Him and has a mission ready for us.  Too often we believe there is no life after failure. But God intends failure to be our teacher, not our undertaker. God used Peter’s failure to make him more humble, compassionate, and effective in restoring others. And that’s the job Christ gave him.  “Strengthen your brothers.”


  • Is your faith being tested by temptation and adversity (James 1:3; 1 Peter 1:7)? 
  • Isn’t God’s purpose to redirect your faith from yourself and onto God? 
  • Feed your faith by reading God’s word. Exercise your faith through prayer. 

Let's Talk

100% Confidential | Warrior-to-warrior

We respond within 24 hours and can provide community support, resources, and referrals.