Summary: To defeat the Giant of temptation, it helps to understand the Devil and his ways.
Temptation is a trap – it can get you into a lot of trouble and see you come undone in an instant.
A woman and a man are involved in a car accident.
It’s a bad one. Both of their cars are demolished but amazingly neither of them is hurt. After they crawl out of their cars, the woman says, "So, you’re a man... That’s interesting. I’m a woman. Wow, just look at our cars! There’s nothing left, but fortunately we are unhurt. This must be a sign from God that we should meet and be friends and live together in peace for the rest of our days."
The man replied, "I agree with you completely. This must be a sign from God!" The woman continued, "And look at this, here’s another miracle... My car is completely demolished, but this bottle of wine didn’t break. Surely God wants us to drink this wine and celebrate our good fortune." Then she hands the bottle to the man. The man nods his head in agreement. He can’t believe his good fortune coming across such a nice lady under such terrible circumstances. He opens the bottle, drinks half of it and then hands it back to he woman. The woman takes the bottle, immediately puts the cap back on, and hands it back to the man. The man said, "Aren’t you having any?" She replies, "Nah. I think I’ll just wait for the police..."
Temptation – it’s a giant that we all struggle with! It’s certainly one topic on which I feel well qualified to speak! I certainly have a lot of experience in it – particularly in the failure side of things.
The story of the man and the woman is funny – but for those who find themselves under constant attack, temptation is no laughing matter. Satan attacks Believers everyday. So it pays to understand the tactics he will use. That way you can defeat the giant of temptation in your life.
Let’s take a look at how he works (Matthew 4:1-11).
1 Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the desert to be tempted by the devil. 2 After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. 3 The tempter came to him and said, "If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread."
4 Jesus answered, "It is written: `Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’ "
5 Then the devil took him to the holy city and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. 6 "If you are the Son of God," he said, "throw yourself down. For it is written:
" `He will command his angels concerning you,
and they will lift you up in their hands,
so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.’ "
7 Jesus answered him, "It is also written: `Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’ "
8 Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendour. 9 "All this I will give you," he said, "if you will bow down and worship me."
10 Jesus said to him, "Away from me, Satan! For it is written: `Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.’ "
11 Then the devil left him, and angels came and attended him.
1. SATAN TEMPTS US TO GIVE PRIORITY TO THE PHYSICAL OVER THE SPIRITUAL ( Matthew 4:2-4)
Immediately after he was baptised, Jesus was lead by the Holy Spirit, into the desert. During this time Jesus didn’t carry any food with him. So he obviously became very hungry, and the devil took advantage of this natural, God given physical need – hunger. And he did it by tempting Jesus to turn stones into bread.
You see the devil will do anything to lure you into giving priority to your physical needs. If he can do that in your life, then he has succeeded in diverting your attention from your greater spiritual needs.
a. Jesus was tempted to use divine power to satisfy a spiritual need.
He tried this trick on Jesus. Right there in Jesus hour of desperate need, the devil had no concern for Jesus. Rather than feed him, the devil tried to persuade Jesus to abandon his dependence upon God, and to use his divine power for selfish ends.
But Jesus defeated this giant of temptation by refusing to give in to the devil’s mind games. He beat off Satan’s attack by quoting Deuteronomy 8:3.
"It is written: `Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’ " (Deut 8:3)