The Temptation of Jesus

Jesus was tempted as we all are in every way. He went 40 days without food and then faced the three areas of temptation common to al humanity. The temptations of lust, pride and today, greed. As, the devil takes Christ Jesus to the peak to challenge Him. Matthew 4:8-9~Again, the devil took Him up on an exceedingly high mountain, and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. And he said to Him, “All these things I will give You if You will fall down and worship me.” (ESV) In other words, Satan said, If you want to be King of Kings and Lord of Lords God’s way, you’ll have to die on the cross. But, I can give everything to you right now, and you won’t have to suffer; I can give you a shortcut with no suffering. 

Satan still offers us shortcuts to the things of the world, if we will just do things his way. Our Lord tells Satan, Get out of here and then quotes Deuteronomy 6:13~Fear the Lord your God, serve him only and take your oaths in his name. (NIV) Listen to Jesus’ response Matthew 4:10~Then Jesus said to him, Away with you, Satan! For it is written, You shall worship the Lord your God, and Him only you shall serve. (ESV)

This temptation of greed really boils down to only two choices: doing things God’s way of doing things Satan’s way. We decide whom we will worship and serve by the choices we make each day. Jesus reminds us of this in His sermon on the mount. Matthew 6:24~You can’t worship two gods at once. Loving one god, you’ll end up hating the other. Adoration of one feeds contempt for the other. You can’t worship God and Money both. (MSG) After being unsuccessful in tempting Christ Jesus in every possible area, the devil leaves Him, and angels come to minister to Jesus (4:11). As believers and faith practitioners, we have a High Priest who is able to sympathize. Hebrews 4:15~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. (NIV) 

This is something that affects all of us in life. We are tempted to step in front of Jesus and do things our own way. Before Jesus was taken to be tried and crucified Peter steps in. Matthew 26:50-51~Then the men stepped forward, seized Jesus and arrested him. With that, one of Jesus’ companions reached for his sword, drew it out and struck the servant of the high priest, cutting off his ear. (NIV) Then Jesus educates us in Matthew 26:52-54~Put your sword back in its place, Jesus said to him, “for all who draw the sword will die by the sword. Do you think I cannot call on my Father, and he will at once put at my disposal more than twelve legions of angels? But how then would the Scriptures be…(NIV).

As Christians, we often get into serious trouble when we try to solve our problems in our own way or in our own time. The results are overwhelming personal debt, infidelity, dishonesty, etc. Being like Jesus Christ requires obeying the command of Psalm 27:14~Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord. (NIV) That’s probably one of the hardest things for us to do, to wait for the Lord and to take heart while doing the waiting. 

But, when we understand that the root of all of our temptations in this life, come to us from lust, pride and greed. The only way we can fight temptation successfully is with the Word of God. So, what is your reading plan of attack? How are you learning the Word of God, hiding it in your heart, committing it to memory? To be a Spiritual Success, we must learn to word to fight temptation biblically. Join the read 2019 daily reading, it will show up in your inbox each day. There are numerous apps that can help, or buy a one year bible that will help you. It only takes 4 chapters a day to read through the Bible in a year.



temptation

In Matthew 4, we learn how Jesus was tempted as we all are. Not only does Satan tempt us through lust, but Jesus’ second temptation is Pride. Since the first temptation doesn’t work, the devil takes Jesus to the holy city, Jerusalem, to the pinnacle or highest point, of the temple. This may have been the portion of the wall at the edge of the Kidron Valley, which had a drop of over 400 feet. Satan tells Christ Jesus to prove He is the Son of God. Matthew 4:6~and said to Him, If You are the Son of God, throw Yourself down. For it is written: ‘He shall give His angels charge over you,’ (ESV) It’s just like bungee jumping, it’s a leap of faith. No doubt we’ve all tested the recoil of God’s amazing grace. When we plunged headlong into decisions and situation that we had no place being.

Satan even quotes from Psalm 91:11-12~For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways; they will lift you up in their hands so that you will not strike your foot against a stone. (Matthew 4:6) To paraphrase, Ok, you say you believe the Bible’s true. Then, prove it. Like a group of boys on a hot summer day looking to get something going one says I double-dog dare you. How are we to back down from that? What is the escape promised in scripture? 1 Corinthians 10:13~ No temptation has overtaken you except what is common…(NIV) 

Jesus answers by quoting Deuteronomy 6:16~You must not test the LORD your God as you did when you complained at Massah. (NIV) The event is recorded in Exodus7:17~And he called the place Massah and Meribah because the Israelites quarreled and because they tested the Lord saying, “Is the Lord among us or not?” (NIV) Massah is testing while Meribah is quarreling. Everyone thirsts and this passage is filled with so many New Testament images: the Lord standing by us, calling for the elders in faith, the Rock watering us and giving life, God as the provider, the Lord’s priest and prophet performing a miracle. Jesus, what say you are you thirsty enough to quarrel and test God? Matthew 4:7~Jesus said to him, It is written again, You shall not tempt the Lord your God. (ESV) Pride has a way of working into the nooks and crannies of life to tempt us to show off our faith. However, it is a sin to put God on the spot and demand He proves He is faithful to His Word. The enemy of our soul, our adversary the devil tempts us through lust, and pride.

Why not start your day surrendered to God asking Him to go before you and to be your rear guard. Instead of testing and quarreling try a new approach to living, submitting.



Spiritual Success

Success, what is it, how is it measured? Everyone desires to be successful. Would you like to be a spiritual success? Being a Spiritual Success is simple if we learn to follow Jesus Christ. This week, we pick up after Christ Jesus is baptized. Matthew 4:1-2~Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. And when He had fasted forty days and forty nights, afterward, He was hungry. (ESV) The remainder of Chapter 4 reveals two actions required for being a Spiritual Success and this week we are going to unpack those.

Let’s begin by learning how to fight temptation biblically (4:3-11) The devil’s temptations of our Lord are in the only three areas. These three areas house all of our human temptations. What are they, according to 1 John 2:16~For everything in the world-the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life–comes not from the Father but from the world. (NIV) All temptations fall into three categories: lust, pride, and greed, so the devil tempts Christ Jesus in all three areas after a 40 day fast. You thought 21 days of vegetables was bad.

Jesus’ Temptations — #1: Lust. The Judean wilderness contained many limestone rocks of all sizes and shapes. Satan tempts Christ Jesus by asking Him to prove He is the Son of God by turning stones into bread. Jesus is certainly very hungry, but He refuses to satisfy His appetite in a way contrary to God’s will. One of Satan’s most successful tactics is tempting us to sin by trying to satisfy a God-given appetite or desire in a way that is outside the will of God. Sexual behavior is one of the most common areas for lust to occur. Christ Jesus responds by quoting Deuteronomy 8:3~He humbled you, causing you to hunger and then feeding you with manna…to teach you that man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the LORD. (NIV) 

What Matt records is that God is Jehovah Jireh, our provider. Matthew 4:4~But He answered and said, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth (ῥῆμα rhēma) of God.’” (ESV) (ῥῆμα rhēma) that which is or has been uttered by the living voice. When God speaks, there is more than just thunder in the heavens. The stars take shape, the morning dawns new and fresh. Lamentations 3:22-23~The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. (ESV) The fact Jesus Christ quotes from Deuteronomy shows His regard of Scripture the inerrant, infallible Word of God. The Bible says it, so that settles the issue—no need for discussion. 

Is there a place in your life that you are struggling with Lust? To fight lust, we must learn to yield our whole lives to God and live for Him, rather than ourselves. Yeah, you’re right, that is easier said than done. So, today, let’s take a step together. What is one area of your life that you can surrender to God and begin to work at ridding your life of the hold of lust? Keep in mind, prayer is to be a constant means of communication with the Lord, who is our strength.