Let me tell you about the time I went down into a gold mine in South Africa. It was fascinating. Inside this gold mine, I saw a narrow reef in which the gold was hidden away. This reef was only about three feet wide — but it was hundreds of feet deep. The miners used huge machines to chew away at this reef and extract rocks that contained the gold.
I asked one of the miners, “What does the gold look like when you find it in these rocks?”
“I don't know,” he replied. “I've never seen any gold.”
“Why is that?” I asked.
“Well,” he explained, “the gold is in in infinitesimal fragments.”
Then he showed me the great grinding machines where they took all the rock from this reef and ground it smaller and smaller until it was dust. Next, they mixed this dust with chemicals into a paste, which was put into great furnaces so it could be refined and poured out into ingots of gold. It took all that grinding, heat, and purifying to produce the pure gold.
Our loving God allows temptations in our daily lives because, if handled rightly, they can be profitable to us. In James 1:2-4 we're told to “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”
Whatever tests and temptations you're facing right now can be opportunities for you to grow. As God brings out the “gold” in you and pours into you through His Spirit, you'll come out the other end more mature and stronger in your faith.
More on this topic:
Experience victory in the battle against temptation
Jill answers questions about how to avoid being a temptation
How to say "no" so you can say "yes" to God's best
A word from Stuart: What's happening on the inside