Summary: Christians should learn from and follow Jesus’ example when faced with temptation.
While waiting in a fast food restaurant to order my lunch one day last week, I noticed that the manager had keys hanging from a stretch band with WWJD imprinted on it. I wanted to ask him if he knew what WWJD means?
Last year, while renting a car at an airport, I noticed that most of the employees wore their identification badges from a WWJD neckband. So, I approached one of the employees and asked her what WWJD meant? She said, "I have no idea, they just give us these to wear."
What Would Jesus Do - a popular statement that should prompt Christians to act like Jesus did. WWJD about temptation?
1. Temptation is common to all human beings.
Temptation is common to all of us but should not be excused. Temptation is no excuse for sin.
Adam and Eve lived in the Garden of Eden - the only perfect place that ever existed. Perfect weather, perfect surroundings, perfect family, perfect health - yet even the Garden of Eden did not prevent the temptation by Satan.
Jesus was fully Divine and fully human. Born to the virgin Mary, Jesus lived a perfect, sinless life. Jesus was "tempted in every way, yet was without sin" (Heb. 4:15). Jesus was fully committed to God the Father’s Will but was tempted to abandon that plan. Satan tempted Jesus to be a
a. Bread Messiah - give the people all the food they would need which would result in a LARGE following.
b. Supernatural Messiah - people would follow for the signs and wonders resulting in a LARGE following.
c. Political Messiah - in charge of all the nations - all people would follow Him.
Remember - Jesus was "tempted in every way, just as we are, yet was without sin". (Heb. 4:15)
2. Temptation is not sin.
Jesus NEVER sinned. We know that because the Bible says so. Yet, Jesus was tempted. Matthew implys that Jesus did not experience temptation until AFTER 40 days and then was hungry. Jesus was tempted by Satan but did not give in to the temptations. In fact, Jesus countered every temptation with the Word of God and eventually Satan left him UNTIL THE NEXT TIME (Luke 4:13). Satan continued to tempt Jesus throughout His ministry. Satan used Peter to try to dissuade Jesus from going to the cross (Matthew 16); Satan used the crowds to try to get Jesus to avoid the cross and become King after the feeding of the 5,000.
When we are tempted to sin, the critical period is THEN AND THERE. Temptation for us comes from within (James 1:14-15) and if temptation is allowed to incubate, it will eventually bring forth sin. When sinful thoughts or ideas enter our mind, they must not be allowed to find root in our mind. The temptation must be dismissed. If, however, the temptation or thought is placed in the incubator of your mind, it will eventually hatch because we are sinners by nature and by choice.
For example, assume that you are having some difficult financial times and that you are employed as a cashier in a large department store. Each time you work, you handle large amounts of cash. One night after receiving a PAST DUE notice for $100 in the mail, you are working and someone hands you a $100 bill. Your mind immediately goes to the bill you received in the mail and, for just an instant, you think about how nice it would be to have that $100 so you could pay your bill. At that moment, if you dismiss that temptation - it is not in the incubation period. If, however, you give that a second and third thought and even begin to plan how you could borrow the money and later repay it - the incubation period has begun and will eventually lead to sin UNLESS you intentionally take the temptation out of the incubator and place your mind under the Lordship of Jesus Christ.
Remember, temptation itself is not sin.
3. Temptation ofter follows spiritual commitments.
Jesus’ public ministry begins in Matthew 4. His Baptism was the first step in publicly committing Himself to the Father’s will. Jesus’ obedience to the Father was followed with the Spirit leading Jesus into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil.
How many times have people made a spiritual commitment to the Lord Jesus Christ, only to find themself face to face with temptation to do that very same thing. After making commitments to read the Bible, pray more, witness, not to commit certain sins, we face temptation in those specific arenas.
a. Remember God allows those temptations in your life.
It is very important and helpful to remember that Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness.
b. Response to temptation reveals Genuineness.