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.



Falling for God

Sometimes faith can seem like a trust fall. It requitesus to place our trust in the Lord as He leads and guides us. Have you submitted to Lord and followed Him in baptism (Matthew 3:13-17). When Jesus comes from Galilee He comes to the Jordan River, He wants to be baptized by John because there was much water there (3:13; John 3:23) John tries to discourage Jesus by saying he needs to be baptized by Him (3:14). And John only consents after Jesus says Let it be so now; it is proper for us to do this (3:15) Jesus is saying we are to do what is right in God’s eyes. Jesus was baptized to give us an example to follow because He never asks us to do anything He hasn’t already done. 

When Jesus comes up out of the water, the heavens open and He sees the Spirit of God descending like a dove and rest on Him (3:16). Apparently, all the people see the dove because Luke tells us the dove has a bodily form in Luke 3:22~and the Holy Spirit descended on him in bodily form like a dove. And a voice came from heaven: “You are my Son, whom I love; with you, I am well pleased.” (NIV) If you have ever asked why, it fulfills the prophecy of Isaiah 11:2~The Spirit of the LORD will rest on him– the Spirit of wisdom and of understanding, the Spirit of counsel and of might, the Spirit of the knowledge and fear of the LORD– (NIV). 

The Holy Spirit will empower Jesus for His ministry. This is the only time in the Bible we see all 3 persons of the Trinity pictured at once. God the Son is being baptized; God the Holy Spirit descending to empower Jesus; and God the Father speaking from heaven. They are three, yet one. This is one of the mysteries of the Bible that is beyond human comprehension. Augustine said, If you try to figure out the Trinity, you will lose your mind. If you deny the Trinity, you will lose your soul. We must simply believe. Believe that Jesus Christ is the second person of the Holy Trinity. That’s why Jesus commands us to go make disciples of all nations baptizing them in the name of the Father, Son, and Spirit. Matthew 28:19. Is there an area of your life that you need to Admit, Commit, or Submit to God today? 

Our Takeaway for the week isfound in the question: Are you preparing the way? Do you herald Christ? Are you telling people about Jesus? Listen to words of the wisest man to live. Proverbs 11:30~The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life, and the one who is wise saves lives. (NIV) There it is, fruit and salvation. To prepare for God’s kingdom, we must Admit our need to repent, as we Commit to the fruit of repentance, allowing the Holy Spirit to flow through our whole lives and bear fruit, as we Submit to God’s process. Why not take another step today, and draw closer to God?