Summary: We can use the example of Jesus in His temptation in the wilderness as our methods of overcoming temptation.
POWER OVER TEMPTATION!
4:1 Then was Jesus led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil.
4:2 And when he had fasted forty days and forty nights, he was afterward an hungred.
4:3 And when the tempter came to him, he said, If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread.
4:4 But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.
4:5 Then the devil taketh him up into the holy city, and setteth him on a pinnacle of the temple,
4:6 And saith unto him, If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down: for it is written, He shall give his angels charge concerning thee: and in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone.
4:7 Jesus said unto him, It is written again, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God.
4:8 Again, the devil taketh him up into an exceeding high mountain, and sheweth him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them;
4:9 And saith unto him, All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me.
4:10 Then saith Jesus unto him, Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.
4:11 Then the devil leaveth him, and, behold, angels came and ministered unto him.
Immediately Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist in the River Jordan, he was led by that same spirit that had come down out of heaven like a dove and came upon Him when the Father said, “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased," into the wilderness of temptation.
The very first thing that Jesus faced in his public ministry was an attack from the Devil. This would signify once and for all whether Jesus could withstand every power that Satan could muster against him and still remain the perfect man.
All of eternity hang in the balance during this long battle. Satan’s reign was threatened and he knew that this was a do or die situation. The devil determined to bring Jesus down, thus securing Satan’s reign forever.
I stop here only briefly to say that the moment you stick your head above the crowd and determine that you are going to take on a position of leadership in ministry for the Kingdom of God, that’s the same moment that Satan will begin to scheme and plan for temptations, troubles, tests and trials to come against you. If he can stop in the beginning, he will effectively have destroyed your ministry for a long time.
It takes years to overcome failure. If you fail morally, not only is your life permanently affected but your testimony is ruined. There aren’t many people who will sit under the ministry of a man guilty of moral failure. Even sincere repentance does not repair the damage done to your effectiveness to the Body of Christ. Just ask Jimmy Swaggart, Jim Baker and others who have damaged their ministries greatly.
God can forgive, and we, as the church can forgive also. But forgiveness and repentance does not negate the negative impact that we have caused through sin.
This battle, that began to rage in both the physical and spiritual nature of Jesus, was in direct fulfillment of Genesis 3:17 where God told Satan that hatred and strife would be between the seed of the woman and the serpent and that her seed would bruise Satan’s head.
For 40 days Jesus fasted in the wilderness. Moses, the lawgiver of Israel, had fasted 40 days in the mountain. Elijah, the prophet, fasted 40 days and now the giver of the New Covenant would do the same.
How could a man fast for 40 days without taking food or water? They could so because they were walking in the realm of the Holy Spirit and were in communion with God and living a life that was closer to Heaven than earth in the realm of the Spirit.
It was after this 40 day fast that Satan came to Jesus to tempt him.
Often after our greatest spiritual experiences is the time when we will experience the greatest time of testing. Satan knows to attack you at your weakest hour. He knows to come against you when the natural mind and body are too weak to resist. Thank God that we do not dwell in the flesh but we live in the Spirit by faith in God.
1) Satan’s first great temptation of Jesus was to command him to turn stones into bread to satisfy the hunger of the flesh.