Tempting the Lord begins when God allows a crisis in our lives to intensify. Why does he do this? What is he after? Our Lord allows this to happen so he can get at the last roots of our unbelief! His Spirit goes into every chamber of our hearts, searching out the most damnable things — pride, self-sufficiency and all else that hinders his fullness in us.
In short, this is what it means to tempt God. It happens when his chosen, blessed ones are placed in the fires of testing and their crisis keeps growing more intense until fear grips their hearts and they cry out, “Lord, where are you? Where is my deliverance? Are you with me or not?”
John the Baptist faced the kind of trial that can lead to tempting God. As he sat in prison, he must have wondered where God was in his situation. Word had reached him of all the wonderful things Jesus was doing — healing people, performing miracles, drawing crowds who had once flocked to John. And now, here he sat alone, awaiting execution.
John had known he had to decrease so Christ could increase, but now the thought crossed his mind, “Decrease, yes. But death? Why do I have to die if Jesus is truly God? Lord, this is all too much to endure.”
The last words Jesus sent to John were incredibly significant: “Blessed is he who is not offended because of Me” (Matthew 11:6). Christ was telling this godly servant, “Don’t be offended at me, John. God has a plan in all this and he is worthy to be trusted. If he wanted me to come and release you, you know I would be there in a moment. Be assured that whatever comes of this will be to his glory and it will mean eternal glory for you!”
John did endure. And when he was finally beheaded by Herod, he went home to glory full of faith and honor.