Overcomer #2 – Mastering Temptation
Donna and I often walk through MacNeil Park by the East River and see men fishing.
Those fisherman don’t throw a bare hook in the water. That wouldn’t fool the fish. They disguise the hook with bait, so the fish will take the bait without noticing the hook. By then it’s too late.
Satan is also fishing and we are the fish. He baits us through temptation.
Though Jesus faced temptations aimed uniquely at him, he faced all the same temptations we do. And since he did not sin, we can learn to master temptations like he did.
• In the temptation to change stones into bread (Matthew 4:3), Jesus was tempted to satisfy a legitimate need or a normal desire in a wrong way and at the wrong time.
The deceiver’s cunning appeal: “Give your physical needs and desires priority over your spiritual needs.” He attacks us when we’re vulnerable – emotionally, physically, spiritually.
Jesus addressed the tempter, “Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God” (Matthew 4:4). Spiritual food is more important than physical food.
• In the temptation to jump from the temple (Matthew 4:5), Jesus was tempted to misuse God’s power so others would take notice.
The schemer’s subtle allurement: “Give in to the urge to do something you know is wrong to gain attention.” He even twisted Scripture to suit his purpose (Matthew 4:6).
Jesus confronted the tempter, “Do not put the Lord your God to the test” (Matthew 4:7). Demanding God to perform upon request is wrong.
• In the temptation to bow down to Satan, Jesus was tempted to sell out to the devil in order to gain what only God could give (Matthew 4:8).
The liar’s ruthless attack: “You can have the whole world if you worship me” (Matthew 4:9). He will tempt us to sell ourselves out in order to gain love, money, fame, or power. He is heartless and pompous.
Jesus commanded the tempter, “Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only” (Matthew 4:10). We belong to God and he is number one.
Jesus talked back to the devil, “Away from me, Satan!” and the devil crawled away defeated.
Let us know ourselves, be aware of the tempter’s schemes, and overcome all his temptations through prayer, the Word of God, and the power of the Spirit.
~ Pastor Dave