Read through the Bible in 2 years: Matthew 4
It struck me that it was the Spirit that led Jesus to go into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. Why? Why would God want Jesus to be tempted? I found the answer in the Word, in Hebrews.
"Therefore [Jesus] had to be made like his brothers in every respect, so that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in the service of God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people. For because he himself has suffered when tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted." Hebrews 2:17-18 ESV
"For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need." Hebrews 4:15-16 ESV
Jesus experienced the very human experience of temptation, yet He resisted the devil by His will and by the Word, and so can we. Like 1 Corinthians 10:13 says, “No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.”
Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God,” for God cannot be tempted with evil, and he himself tempts no one. But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death.James 1:13-15 ESV
So … What should we do when we face temptation?
- Take every thought captive to obey Christ. (See 2 Corinthians 10:5) The battle against temptation is won and lost in your thoughts. If you want to resist temptation, you need to “think about what you’re thinking about!” As soon as you’re tempted, capture that thought and get rid of it. Then, replace it with the truth of God’s Word. After 40 days of fasting, I’m sure Jesus was so so so hungry! I know how I feel after fasting for 12 hours. Jesus overcame temptation with God’s Word, “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes in the mouth of God.” (Matthew 4:4 – Look at Deuteronomy 8:3 for it’s original use) The more of God’s Word you have stored in your heart, the more equipped you’ll be to replace those wrong thoughts with the right ones!
- Resist the devil. Ask yourself this question, “Who am I resisting, God or the devil?” All too often we are resisting God and submitting to the devil. 😩 We’ve got it all wrong! And if we want to resist the devil, we have to keep our eyes open to his temptations and schemes. If you knew you were in the lion’s den, you’d keep alert for a lion, wouldn’t you? Listen carefully to the words of 1 Peter 5:8-9, “Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world.”
- Submit to God. In those tough moments, remember that God is your commanding officer. He has every right to give you your matching orders, and He expects you to obey them. Read what James has to say about this. “Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you.” (James 4:7-8a ESV) When you’re struggling with temptation, no matter what it is, turn to God and obey Him in faith. Trust that He is good and that His plans are for your good.
Heavenly Father, Each and every day the temptations that come our way are many. Some temptations are stronger than others, but all of them can be overcome by Your Spirit and Your Word. He who is in me is greater than he who is in the world. Your Word is my sword by which I can resist the devil’s schemes. Please help me to resist the devil and submit to you. You are my commanding officer. I am no longer a slave to sin. I am no longer a slave to my flash. I am no longer a child of Satan and the world. I am a child of God, by the blood of Jesus. I am a soldier in the army of the Lord. I have been bought with a price and now I want to serve You with my body. I am a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to You, my Lord and Captain and King. In the holy and almighty name of Jesus I pray. Amen.