Temptation is all around us. What tempts me may not tempt you. For an alcoholic, a drink is a temptation to sin. But for a non-drinker, a drink is just a drink. For a gossiper, a bit of juicy news is a temptation to gossip and share it with everyone, but for another, it would just be news. What can we take from today’s passage to help us with our own temptations?
First of all, note how the reading says that Jesus was led by the Spirit to be tempted. I’ve read those words before, but today it really struck a chord. God allowed the temptation. His Spirit even led Jesus right into the thick of it. There was a lesson to be had, a teachable moment. Isn’t there some comfort knowing that even Jesus was tempted. God even allowed his own Son to be enticed by the evil one.
So, too, for us. We are not immune just because we are believers. Satan is aware of our weaknesses and will play on them, you can bet on it. But we have a great example here to follow. What did Jesus do when he was tempted?
Jesus used Scripture to be strong. He used the words given to him by the Father to rebuke Satan’s schemes. We can do that. We can use God’s Word to save us. We know from 1 Corinthians 10:13 that we will never be tested beyond what God will help us overcome. “The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you can endure.” Note this verse talks of “temptations” not life circumstances. It is often misquoted to include tragedies and the like.
In any event, we need to know Scripture. We need to be armed for the attack. We would be silly to think we were immune from temptation or that we were strong enough to fight it on our own. Even Jesus had the help of his Father. Knowing this and relying on God’s promise gives us hope in our own weakness.
Be careful, because Satan can be crafty. We see it firsthand here. He knows Scripture. He’ll use Scripture to try and trip us up. Always remember who you serve. Where does your salvation come from? Psalm 62:1-2 says, “I am at rest in God alone; my salvation comes from Him. He alone is my rock and my salvation, my stronghold; I will never be shaken.”
Satan will try to shake us up. He will rattle our cages trying to get our attention. He will use people we love and trust to try and lure us into his trap. Be wise. Have your eyes open. Be prepared. Know Scripture. Be courageous. Trust God. Be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. (Ephesians 6:10).
Let’s pray. Thank you for your example of standing strong in the face of temptation. I am particularly prone to distractions and procrastination, among other sins. Help me to remain focused and aware of my surroundings and activities. Help me avert Satan’s attempts to lure me away from you, from spending time with you, and from living the life you have designed for me. Bring the words of Scripture to my tongue so I can rebuke Satan as you did. In Jesus’ name, Amen.