If you are a parent or work with children you know the look in their eyes when they are just dying inside to do or touch something they shouldn’t. It’s kind of like a side glance, with a sparkle of sass, and a tiny giddy smile. Being on that precipice between what you know is right and wrong is such a weird feeling. It’s feels as if it calls to you, Moana anyone?
We are beckoned by sin because of our sin nature. Satan and his army of demons sits jeering for our surrender to the call of temptation. What calls to you? What precipice do you find yourself standing on frequently? I have a host of these cliffs. Gossiping, lying, self preservation – these are the dark places where I am tempted.
Jesus was tempted too. And, I am truly fascinated by this passage in Luke 4 where Jesus is tempted by Satan. I recently attended a conference where I heard Jackie Hill Perry speak on the topic and I have been mulling over this idea of temptation ever since. In my article on worry I shared 1 Peter 5:6-10,
Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you. Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world. And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.1 Peter 5:6-10
Be watchful, Friends, Satan is our enemy and he is prowling around like a lion! Let’s take a closer look at lions and how they hunt…
1) Lions are opportunists, they will hunt when it is the coolest (early morning or at night) but if something catches their eye, they will pounce!
2) If they are spotted while hunting they will stand up and stare into the distance, as if they didn’t even notice their pray (tricky!).
3) Lions hunt by finding a bush, or some sort of cover, near where they prey gets something they need (food or water). Then they wait until they enviably come looking for refreshment in their weakest state.
Satan does this too. He camps out near something that seems good to us, even something we need to survive, and turns it into a temptation to turn our satisfaction away from Christ. He doesn’t rest and come out from 9am-5pm to tempt us and then leaves us to be amazing Christians the rest of the day. Nope, he sees an opportunity to tempt us and he takes it! We don’t hear about Satan tempting Jesus while he is with the multitudes who witnessed his baptism, but when He goes up to fast on the hill side, Satan jumps at the situation. Luke 4:1-3 says,
“And Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit in the wilderness 2 for forty days, being tempted by the devil. And he ate nothing during those days. And when they were ended, he was hungry.”
Jesus was led up by the Holy Spirit, following His confirmation by God the Father at His baptism to fast for 40 days alone. What I love about this is that number one, it shows Christ’s humanity! He was hungry y’all! He had spent 40 days enduring temptation, only the following three encounters are recorded but we can see that He was likely tempted and provoked by the Devil for 40 long days. Matthew 4 states that “Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil.” I find this interesting as it was the plan of God to instruct Jesus to retreat to the wilderness for this purpose. The Father did not tempt Jesus but allowed Satan to do so, He knew full well His beloved Son would come out victorious and He could prove His humanity and Godhood in this moment.
(1)“The devil said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command this stone to become bread.” And Jesus answered him, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone.’” (2) And the devil took him up and showed him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time, and said to him, “To you I will give all this authority and their glory, for it has been delivered to me, and I give it to whom I will. If you, then, will worship me, it will all be yours.” And Jesus answered him, “It is written,
“‘You shall worship the Lord your God,
and him only shall you serve.’”
(3) And he took him to Jerusalem and set him on the pinnacle of the temple and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down from here, for it is written,
“‘He will command his angels concerning you,
to guard you,’ and “‘On their hands they will bear you up, lest you strike your foot against a stone.’”
And Jesus answered him, “It is said, ‘You shall not put the Lord your God to the test.’” And when the devil had ended every temptation, he departed from him until an opportune time.
What I especially love about this passage is the uniqueness of each temptation. I want to dive into each one to get a better perspective.
(1) Temptation: Command the stones to become bread. Jesus response: “Man cannot live by bread alone” a quote from Deuteronomy 8:3. Satan has a way of tempting with food and we see him bring this out when Jesus is so weak in his humanity and hungry. We see this tactic in the Garden of Eden with Adam and Eve. They fell for Satan’s scheme, but Jesus is victorious because he knows the Scripture. Another beautiful comparison is that in the Garden of Eden Adam and Eve sinned and the angels drove them out of the garden. But here we will soon see that as Jesus is victorious the angels will come again but this time to minister to the Lord. I love it!
(2) Temptation: Worship Satan he will give Jesus authority to rule all the kingdoms of the world. Jesus response: “You shall worship the Lord your God and He alone will you serve” a quote from Deuteronomy 6:13. Satan is trying to steal away Jesus satisfaction in God. Does he do this to us? Absolutely, it is the core of, I believe, almost all things we are tempted with. Here we see the devil promising to give Jesus something he doesn’t even possess.
(3) Temptation: If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down so the angels will hold you up. Jesus replies: “You shall not put the Lord your God to the test.” How bold of the devil, right? I find it amazing that Satan catches on to the fact that Jesus is quoting Scripture so he tried his hand at it. He twists the word of God to fit his mission. It does not work and Jesus resists. The devil is tricky! He watches and learns, just like we talked about lions in nature, Satan also studies his pray. This last attempt to see Jesus tempted and sin by testing the Father falls flat. I love the account in Matthew where it states that Jesus says ” Be gone Satan” and Satan leaves him. Friends, James 4 tells US that if we resist the devil he will flee from us! Hallelujah there is hope in our trials of temptation.
How can this account of Jesus temptation assist us as we battle daily temptation? We can see here how important it is to know the Scriptures! Get in your Bibles and memorize it! Where are you tempted? Look for the ‘Sword of the Spirit’ verses to quote to yourself when temptation is overwhelming. And finally, consider the core reason that Jesus was victorious was that He looked to the Father, knowing that He was in the will of God. He had just come from a moment of confirmation where the Father said “this is My Son, in Whom I am well pleased.” Pray and ask God to wash over you His love and confirmation, you are His daughter or son and He is well pleased in your obedience.
Remember friends, you have the same victorious Spirit of God in you and you serve a God who is trustworthy. He will not tempt you beyond your ability (1 Corinthians 10:13) and he is waiting to help you stand against the evil one (Psalm 46:1). My prayer is that we would both be victorious as we resist the devil.
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