Summary: Temptation is common to man! Our response is common to faithful believers.
March 1, 2020
Temptation – That Constant Itch
Satan Tempts Jesus
4 Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. 2 And when He had fasted forty days and forty nights, afterward He was hungry. 3 Now when the tempter came to Him, he said, “If You are the Son of God, command that these stones become bread.”
4 But He answered and said, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.’”
5 Then the devil took Him up into the holy city, set Him on the pinnacle of the temple, 6 and said to Him, “If You are the Son of God, throw Yourself down. For it is written:
‘He shall give His angels charge over you,’
‘In their hands they shall bear you up,
Lest you dash your foot against a stone.’”
7 Jesus said to him, “It is written again, ‘You shall not [a]tempt the LORD your God.’ ”
8 Again, the devil took Him up on an exceedingly high mountain and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. 9 And he said to Him, “All these things I will give You if You will fall down and worship me.”
10 Then Jesus said to him, [b]“Away with you, Satan! For it is written, ‘You shall worship the LORD your God, and Him only you shall serve.’”
11 Then the devil left Him, and behold, angels came and ministered to Him.
If we are honest with ourselves, TEMPTATION is ever present in our lives. How have you been tempted just today? Were you tempted to sleep and sacrifice early morning time with God in prayer, with family for bonding and encouragement for the day, with time for a proper meal to maintain good health? Have you been tempted to fudge on an expense account, an insurance claim, taxes, etc.? Have you been tempted to go off your diet and have that pie ala mode at lunch? Have you been tempted to join in the gossip at the water cooler or partake in some vulgar humor? You get the picture! Our temptations don’t always fall into some egregious sin but not spiritually healthy just the same. We all experience all kinds of temptations every day and all through the day.
I like what Pastor Rick Warren teaches about handling temptations: paraphrasing – “as soon as you become aware of that temptation, immediately re-focus your thoughts and get your mind active on something healthy.” It isn’t all that practical to switch the tv channel when one of those sexually alluring commercials appear, but one can certainly take that opportunity to get a glass of water or take out the trash, or…..Focus elsewhere!
Jesus, deflected Satan and his temptations by the WORD of God! Knowing Scripture and being able to apply appropriate verses is absolutely the best response to temptation.
When Jesus hung on that cross, agonizing in the most excruciating pain, He called out to His Father – Our Father God: “And He said, “Abba, Father, all things are possible for You. Take this cup away from Me; nevertheless, not what I will, but what You will.” Mark 14:36 The way that I see this quote is, the temptation to seek divine escape from the torture and death, BUT what sets it apart from sinful temptation is the last phrase – “NOT WHAT I WILL, BUT WHAT YOU WILL”.
We often have to be reminded that God most certainly gave us FREE WILL and with that free will, He desires that our will be to do HIS WILL. So many times, we are tempted to go our own way even knowing that it isn’t in the will of God. Am I correct here? Do I hear a hearty AMEN?
How can we fathom the WILL of God in the death of Christ on that cross? Crucifixion was the ultimate form of punishment for serious crimes. What crime did Jesus commit? NONE, absolutely none! So again, what was God’s will for Jesus to die on the cross as punishment for crimes that He did not commit?
I am going to pause for a moment and ask that you really ponder what I am about to say. Jesus did die on that cross for His sins! What? Pastor you just said that He died on the cross but committed no crimes. Yes, I did. The sins that He dies for are your sins, my sins and the sins of all mankind for all time. He took our sins upon Himself and paid the ultimate price on the cross so that we could be forgiven. Before we move on, let us realize that His death on the cross is only a part of the forgiveness equation. It is because He was resurrected and ascended to heaven and sits at the right hand of God as our advocate that seals the deal.