Summary: Our temptations will never compromise our relationship with God, but will bring to the surface God's amazing grace for us in times of need. With every temptation comes a stream of God's amazing grace flowing in our direction.
Everyone lives with the basic assumption that they will never be tempted. Even if they are, they won’t yield.
“It won’t happen to me,” the arrogant boast.
And yet, it always does.
Nobody starts out intending to be an alcoholic or a drug addict. And, nobody can become an alcoholic without taking that first drink.
“One drink won’t hurt you,” the tempter says. And of course, he is right, if it ended with that one drink.
The young man or woman who takes that first drink at some party because everybody else is doing it always says, “I will not become an alcoholic.”
20 years later, it is a different story, a life wasted
Most people, even Christians, don’t understand the significance of temptation. To expect a life without temptation is the most extreme naivety possible.
Temptation brings out the real you.
You are what you are today because of the temptations you have faced. You either failed or succeeded.
Some have suggested that we learn more from our failures than our successes. That is a possibility, but if you keep making the same mistakes over and over again something is wrong somewhere.
There is a common denominator to every temptation.
First, there is the allurement factor. Something on the inside of me is attracted to something on the outside. This is where the temptation aspect begins. Something on the outside is alluring me in a certain direction.
To add the spiritual spin here, it usually is leading us away from Christ and the things of God.
Second, is the consequence factor. Every temptation, no matter how big or small, has a consequence attached to it if yielded. For the most part, when we are being tempted we don’t give much regard to the consequence. The temptation is far too tempting for us to think through what happens if we yield to that temptation.
Most of the time the allurement factor overshadows the consequence factor but the consequence is always there. A moment of fun can produce a lifetime of consequences.
The questions that are never asked is, “Is it worth it?” “Was it worth it?”
Let’s look at temptation from a positive side. Our temptations will never compromise our relationship with God, but will bring to the surface God’s amazing grace for us in times of need.
With every temptation comes a stream of God’s grace flowing in our direction.
“There has no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it” (1 Corinthians 10:13).
The apostle James sheds some light on this matter of temptation.
“Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man: but every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. Then when lust has conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death” (James 1:12-14).
This brings us to the temptation of Jesus. There two things we need to understand when we look at this temptation of Jesus.
1. How did Satan attack Jesus?
2. How did Jesus respond to that attack?
When I understand these two things, I will be able to understand what is going on in my life and how the Adversary is trying to set traps for me to divert my attention away from the Lord Jesus Christ. The purpose of the enemy is to get me to focus on myself, and then he wins.
Let me reiterate that every temptation gives opportunity to put Satan in his place through a demonstration of God’s grace in our situation. Do not shrink back from these temptations but stand and having done all stand firm.
Again, the apostle James gives us encouragement along this line.
“Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you” (James 4:7).
The key words in this verse are submit and resist. The two must be in place. This is the God factor in every decision.
In the temptation of Jesus, we see the three basic categories where Satan attacks. Let’s examine them.
I. The Body (Luke 4:2-4) How I relate to the needs of my body.
Please note that Satan’s attack came when Jesus was at His most vulnerable point. He had spent 40 days fasting and was hungry. This is where Satan focused his attack.
This is the natural aspect of our human body. We get hungry and there is nothing wrong with eating. Satan was not asking Jesus to do something terribly wrong. Jesus had bodily needs, he was hungry and Satan is focusing in on that.