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Temptation

By: Beth Lyda (From: Volume 1 - Issue 1)

Temptation comes to every one of us, and it comes in many forms. As Christians, the devil is out to destroy us and our testimony. How then are we to deal with what is thrown our way? The simple answer is to look at our Lord’s example. How did Jesus handle temptation?

After His baptism, Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. How did Jesus prepare for the trial that He knew was coming? Matthew 4:2 tells us that He “fasted forty days and forty nights.” After such an intensive preparation, Jesus was obviously spiritually ready, but physically weakened. The enemy pounced on the opportunity to attack the Lord at His weakest point-physical hunger. In chapter 4, verse 3, Satan says, “If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread.” Of course Jesus had the ability to turn the stones into bread and satisfy His physical hunger, but He had prepared Himself for this attack. His spiritual strength overpowered His very real physical need. How many times does the enemy attack our weaknesses, often when we don’t expect it? What can we do to defend ourselves? How did Jesus respond? He came back against the devil with God’s Word. In verse 4, Jesus replied, “It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.”

The second temptation is an interesting one and ties back to the first temptation in that in both instances, the tempter began his taunting by saying, “If thou be the Son of God…” Was this an attack on the personhood of Jesus? Was the enemy in effect saying, “If You really are who You say You are, do this…?” What an insult to the Lord this must have been! The enemy, in his second trial, attempted to get Jesus to throw Himself down from a pinnacle of the temple with the belief that God’s angels would catch Him. Isn’t it interesting how the devil takes the scripture and twists it in an attempt to trick us into believing his lies? How often does he seek to deceive us this way? Jesus, however, was undaunted by the enemy’s trickery and came back against him with the truth of God’s Word. In verse 7, He says, “It is written again, Thou shalt not tempt the LORD thy GOD.” Another interesting thought to ponder in the Lord’s second statement is was He referring to God the Father, Himself, or both by saying this?

The third temptation involved the devil taking Jesus into a mountain and showing Him all the kingdoms of the world. He offered to give all of it to Jesus if only He would bow down and worship him. In a way, it seems that Satan was grasping at straws in his insane desire to steal God’s glory and have it bestowed upon him. What a triumph it would have been to have God incarnate, the object of all his hatred and jealousy, to fall down and worship him! As for Jesus, He was being tempted with the opportunity of instant gratification. Aren’t we often tempted in a similar manner-to backstab co-workers in an attempt to climb higher in our company, to tell a “tiny” lie to get us out of trouble, etc.? In Jesus’ case, earthly power and glory with no suffering on a cruel cross for the heinous sins of undeserving, unrepentant sinners down through the ages was being offered to Him. Jesus, however, did not hesitate in His reply. In what sounds to be a bit of righteous indignation, our Lord responded, “Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the LORD thy GOD, and Him only shalt thou serve.” What a triumphant reply from the Lord! Yet again, one must wonder was Jesus speaking of the Father only or even Himself. Whatever His meaning, Jesus was victorious over the enemy.

Through fasting, prayer, and using the Word of God as the weapon that it is intended to be (Ephesians 6:17, Hebrews 4:12), we, too, can be victorious over the enemy of our souls.

From: Volume 1 - Issue 1


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