January 9 – Temptation – Part #3

Read Matthew 4:1-11

The author of Hebrews tells us that “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin.”  (Heb. 4:15)  From that rich passage we see things about the sinlessness of Christ, His temptation, and His ability to identify with our situation.  But we also learn something about our own experience, namely this:  our temptation runs parallel to that which Jesus experienced.  We do well, then, to understand the nature of temptation and the tempter while also grasping the keys to making godly choices in the midst of temptation.

In Christ’s case, the devil himself was the source of His temptation (vv. 3, 11).  While he is very active today, keep in mind that he is not omnipresent.  He does, however, leverage his satanic influence through demonic powers in our own fallen nature and in a fallen world.

While our temptations may not necessarily have to do with food, spectacular miracles, and national power, we are subject to the temptations outlined by the apostle John:  “the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life” (1 Jn. 2:16).  We may want to taste, feel, or experience something that lures us with the empty promise of satisfaction.  We may be attracted by something that appears to have beauty, but, in the end, brings death.  We may desire to impress others with position, possessions, or power while overlooking the fact that we will never have enough of any of those.

But Christ combated Satan with the word of God.  Your strength in the face of temptation comes from the Scriptures as well.  A strong commitment to truth is the only thing that will enable you to stay on a path of purity (Ps. 119:9).  It is only through the power of the word of God that you can recognize the lies of the tempter.  It is only then that we can see that he offers something he cannot deliver.

sbk

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