Temptation – we all face it, yet most never talk about it. It hides in the dark areas of our life. The temptation whispers, “No one need know.” but the condemnation from the guilt and shame of giving in to temptation shouts.
We believe the lie that we are alone in our temptation. We believe the lie that no one else faces the temptation that we do. We believe the lie we must face temptation alone. Satan is the father of lies, and He should not be trusted. Jesus is the Truth and offers a trusted method for dealing with temptation. He openly shared (Luke 4:1-13) because He knew that Satan would try to isolate us in our temptation. He shared so that we could be set free.
Then Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan River. He was led by the Spirit in the wilderness, where he was tempted by the devil for forty days. Jesus ate nothing all that time and became very hungry. (Verse 1-2)
The Scripture says Jesus was tempted for forty days. That means there were likely more than just three temptations. Why did Christ only share these specific temptations? What made these three tests make the written history of Christ’s life? They cover a plethora of areas.
The area of weakness (verse 3-4)
Then the devil said to him, “If you are the Son of God, tell this stone to become a loaf of bread.”
But Jesus told him, “No! The Scriptures say, ‘People do not live by bread alone.'”
Jesus didn’t eat for forty days. In the perfect Son of God, through forty days of fasting, hunger became His weakness. Every person on the face of this earth has weakness. For some that weakness is physical, for others emotional, or mental. Regardless of the form it takes, it is only through Christ that our weakness can be covered. II Corinthians 12:9 tells us “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me.
In His response to Satan, Jesus quoted from Deuteronomy 8:3 “Yes, he humbled you by letting you go hungry and then feeding you with manna, a food previously unknown to you and your ancestors. He did it to teach you that people do not live by bread alone; rather, we live by every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord.” Jesus proved that the power of Christ works in our weakness. Jesus knew that the weakness of His hunger could not be trusted to earthly bread. Only the Word held the power to overcome the temptation. In His response, Jesus fully encompassed the power of the Word, the Bread, and the Lord.
The area of purpose (verses 5- 8)
Then the devil took him up and revealed to him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time. “I will give you the glory of these kingdoms and authority over them,” the devil said, “because they are mine to give to anyone I please. I will give it all to you if you will worship me.”
Jesus replied, “The Scriptures say, ‘You must worship the Lord your God and serve only him.’”
Jesus went with Satan during this time of temptation. Jesus knew that we would all face temptation, and if He did not go He could not be trusted to show us the way out.
Jesus is the Son of God, He left heaven to come to earth to show us the way. Yet Satan offers Jesus the glory of earthly Kingdoms and Authority. Satan asked in return for Jesus to worship him. The earth is the Lord’s footstool, why would He compromise for the kingdoms of it? By giving in to temptation Jesus could forfeit the cross and just have the glory and authority of the current earthly kingdoms, but He would have to forgo His true purpose.
At times we are all tempted to compromise and find a short cut to our purpose, even if in the long run it short changes what God has for us. We make choices daily that impact our purpose and destiny. We think that there is a way to get to our purpose without going through the process. In response to the temptation against His purpose, Jesus reminded Satan “I will only worship God. My purpose is to serve Him.”
So it is with us. Our purpose, whatever it looks like, is to serve God. Compromises may make things easier, but God didn’t call us to easy, He called us to abundant.
He was tempted in who He was (verse 9-12)
Then the devil took him to Jerusalem, to the highest point of the Temple, and said, “If you are the Son of God, jump off! For the Scriptures say, ‘He will order his angels to protect and guard you. And they will hold you up with their hands so you won’t even hurt your foot on a stone.’”
Jesus responded, “The Scriptures also say, ‘You must not test the Lord your God.’”
Satan questioned Jesus to tempt Him to prove who He was. He questioned if God would come through for Jesus. But Jesus quoted the Word and basically said “Don’t test Me. I know who I am. I am the Lord.”
Satan does the same thing with us. He tries to make us question our salvation. He tries to make us question the truths of who God says we are. He tells us that maybe the Word of God is true, but will it apply to us? We have to respond with the Truth of the Word and who God says we are. We can hold on to the promises that God has given because His Word will not return void. It may not happen in our timing, but it will happen in His perfect timing.
Just as this passage ends “When the devil had finished tempting Jesus, he left him until the next opportunity came,” the enemy will also come looking for more opportune times to tempt us. We must be on guard. We must trust that God will help us to walk in victory against the temptations if we stand on His Word. We will overcome temptation if we trust our purpose to serve God and not compromise our service to Him. We will be victorious against temptations if we trust our true identity in Christ.
This blog is part of a #Write31Days series on trust. 31 Days is an online writing challenge, where bloggers pick one topic and write a post on that topic every day in October.