Summary: Many battles are won in our minds! Temptations are first overcome in our minds because that is where the battle is and that is where the victory also is. Hiding God’s Word in our hearts is a great weapon to fight temptations.
My wife is a consummate shopper and she once saw this cart with variety of rugs being sold near our home. When she asked how much it was, the guy said, Rs. 17,000/-. She managed to bargain and bring the price down and she got the rug. Later another day, the same cart guy comes in front of our home, and it was surprising that she just let him pass by. I appreciated her winning over the temptation and asked her how she overcame it, she said, “I knew you were watching me. I am sure the cart guy could make out that I wanted to buy too, but I had my shades on.” So the shades helped her overcome the temptation.
Temptation means tested. It can mean that you are drawn to do something you should not do. Most of us do not like tests, but God will allow us to go through tests. We must pray, “Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.” He does not want us to give in to temptation, but will provide for us testing so that we mature through it.
James 1: 13 says, “Let no one says when he is tempted that I am being tempted by God. For God cannot be tempted by evil and He, Himself does not tempt anyone. But each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own lust, and when lust can conceived, it gives birth to sin, and when sin is accomplished, it brings forth death.”
We will look at 7 things from the word: T E M P T E D.
1. Temptation is TAILORED.
2. Temptation is EVASIVE.
3. Temptation leads to MISBELIEF.
4. Temptation is PASSING.
5. Temptation is not a TUSSLE.
6. Triumph in temptation leads to EXECUTION.
7. Triumph in temptation leads to DOMINION or authority.
1. Temptation is TAILORED.
Satan waited until Jesus was hungry to tempt him. There are days when you are busy and get to the end of the day and suddenly you realize you forgot to eat. When you are busy, you do not realize this. But if you choose to fast, one hour into the fast, and you are famished. You must eat NOW! Fasting has this kind of power that as soon as you decide to deny the flesh the flesh is going to come to life. Jesus chose to take the full fast.
I went to speak at a church convention. The pastor came to pick us up at the train station, and said would give us lunch. But he said, he would not eat, because he was fasting. So we got there and we ate lunch, and the pastor was standing there the whole time we were eating. We asked, “Pastor, will you not eat anything.” He said, “No, I am fasting.” I was looking at him for some time and asked, “Do you fast like this very often?” He said, “Yes, we are very regular in fasting.” But as I looked at him, I thought if he were to dress like the Santa Claus, he would perfectly fit the role, because when he laughs his tummy would jiggle like a bowl full of jelly. He said, he was fasting till 4:00 pm and after that he would feast!
So, some people fast part of the day and then feast! But the fast that Jesus was following here is the fast where you do not eat at all – a fast of famish. After 3-4 days your stomach gets used to this and does not any longer send the signal to your brain that you are hungry. But Jesus had gone beyond the 3 or 4 days fast. After between 20 and 40 days, depending on your metabolism, you will get hungry again. If you do not eat at that time, you will soon die. The Psychologists tell us there are few fundamental drives – air, water and food.
Satan waits until Jesus is at his vulnerable state of his fast. He “tailored” this temptation specifically for Jesus.
Satan will tailor his temptation to fit you. For different ones there are different areas of temptation, maybe it is pride, greed, power, lust, or some other issue that you have to deal with. Wherever your area of weakness is, that is where Satan is going to hit you. So it is important to identify our areas of weakness and build up barriers so that Satan cannot tempt us.
2. Temptation is EVASIVE
Several pastors mention this passage as a war. One pastor titled this passage as “Sword Fight in the Wilderness.” Satan uses evasive maneuvers. He will come at you at different angles, and actually use Scripture to confuse and have the right attitude. So just because a Scripture comes to your mind, you should NOT embrace it as if it was specifically for you.