Friday, May 3, 2013

Desert Temptations

Are you waking this morning already battling temptation? Temptation is everywhere, isn't it? Even before I crawl out of bed my thoughts cause me to say, "Whoa, where did that come from?" I don't care what anyone says, we all struggle with temptation. Each and every one of us battle Satan on a daily basis. He knows us well. You know, unlike Christ, Satan cannot be everywhere at one time. Think about that. So, how does he get all his meanness done? He has help. There is spiritual warfare going on all around us. If we could actually see the battles taking place all around us we would rethink the special effects of the next action flick we see.  

We pray for His protection. I pray a hedge of protection around my family daily. I pray they are guarded by the Holy Spirit every moment of the day. It's important that we pray the will of God. We can become so busy that we leave that prayer for later when we have time. Prayer is powerful. Speaking the Word of God is power.

Check out this verse. "Then Jesus, being filled with the Holy Spirit, returned from  the Jordan and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness, being tempted for forty days by the devil. And in those days He ate nothing, and afterward, when they had ended, He was hungry." Luke 4:1-2

Jesus was led into the desert after He was baptized by John. He was about to begin His ministry. Ever feel when God calls you to move Satan is right there to block your path? Satan knows the blessings that are about to flow and he is going to scheme every which way to stop you from your calling. He would rather see you fall. However, Jesus has other plans!

Jesus was filled with the Holy Spirit and He was tempted by the devil. He wasn't just tempted once in a while. Scripture says for forty days He was tempted. Have you ever felt like you just couldn't catch a break? Like just when you got through one thing something else comes and hits you from behind? I know I sure have felt that way.

We have no excuse for giving into temptation. We can't sit back and say, "Well, Jesus had the Holy Spirit to fight for Him". So do we. When we accept Jesus as our Savior the Holy Spirit comes alive within us. There is no temptation that can hold us down!

We see that Satan tempted Jesus in three ways. He first temps Jesus by saying, "If You are the Son of God, command this stone to become bread." (vs 4). He doesn't stop there. Satan continues and says, "All this authority I will give You, and their glory; for this had been delivered to me, and I give it to whomever I wish. Therefore, if You will worship before me, all will be Yours." (vs 6-7). Now we see that Satan brings Jesus to Jerusalem and set Him before the pinnacle of the temple and says to Him, "If You are the Son of God, throw Yourself down from here." (vs 9)

Now, let us go back to the verse we began with. It says that Jesus WAS TEMPTED! Yes, our Savior battled temptation just as you and I battle temptation. When I read these words it was as if a light bulb burst brightly before me. An "aha" moment for sure. Jesus, our Savior, is without sin. For He is perfect in every way. He battled temptation for forty days. How did He overcome? Not on His own, but with the power of the Holy Spirit!

Each and every time Satan tempted Jesus, He answered him with the Word of God. With the first temptation Jesus answers Satan and says, "It is written, 'Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every Word of God.'" (vs.4) Jesus had been fasting. Satan knew his hunger and knew exactly how to tempt Him. But with the power of the Holy Spirit Jesus overcame!

Next we see Jesus reply with the words, "Get behind Me, Satan! For it is written, 'You shall worship the Lord your God, and Him only you shall serve.'" (vs.8-9)

Satan hasn't given up yet. He is still tempting Jesus. As he takes Jesus to the pinnacle of Jerusalem, he tempts Him again, but once again, Jesus has an answer. "It has been said, 'You shall not tempt the Lord your God.'" (vs.12)

Want to know why we need to know the Word of God? It is our power and protection. Yes, it brings us comfort and peace, but that isn't all. It is to help us overcome the trials and temptations of this life. The Word of God is powerful and there is nothing that holds power over the Word. Satan knows this. Can you imagine the look upon his face as Jesus calmly answered him each time? I can imagine his anger flaring and he thinking of other ways to try to knock Jesus down.

Isn't that what he does to us? He tries every single possible way to knock us down and keep us there. Friends, Satan has NO POWER over us! We can stand against the evils of this world by knowing and believing the Word of God.

In verse 13 it goes on to read, "Now when the devil had ended every temptation, he departed from Him until an opportune time." Satan lies in wait for us. He knows when we are going to turn the corner. He knows the roads we travel. He knows our fears and our flesh. Yes, he knows what we battle against and it is those very things he is going to continue to throw in front of us. It's kind of like going to the grocer and standing in the check out line. Children are faced with treats that momma is going to say no to and we are faced with magazines that tempt us with the world. There are going to be times we can turn and run the other way and there are going to be those times in which we must face our temptation face to face and have the strength to say, "No way!"

Remember, during Christ's time on earth, He was all God and all man. That is mind boggling to me, but true none the less. As man, He faced every temptation we face today. He knows and He understands. In His example we see that we can answer Satan and temptation with the powerful and grace filled Word of God.

What I love is that Jesus answered Satan's every temptation with the Word of God. He didn't argue His point. He isn't screaming and tossing just any words out of His mouth. He offers up the powerful Word of God. Scripture is empowering! Scripture is freeing! It brings strength to a fearful situation. It can calm us in the storm. It brings peace to a confrontation. Knowing the Word of God arms us with everything we need for every possible situtation.

"Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour." 1 Peter 5:8

"The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that you may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly." John 10:10

How do we battle Satan? We put on the armor of God (Ephesians 6:10-20). We live  in the Fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-25). We walk in the Spirit and know our temptations (Galatians 5:16-21). We leave our old conduct behind and walk in the new (Ephesians 4:20-32). We change our thinking to what is pure and holy (Philippians 4:8-9).

We are not defenseless humans walking about with no choice. Friends, we have the power of the Holy Spirit to lead us. He directs our paths. He sets before us all that is good. We must make a choice daily, moment by moment, to live accordingly. We are without excuse. Jesus gave us an example. He is the pattern for us to follow. Think you can't do it? Is it too hard? Try! Try again and again and again, never giving up. Never giving an inch to Satan. It begins with choice.

There is no temptation too big for you to overcome. Stop thinking you can't do it. With Christ all things are possible! (Philippians 4:13)

This desert filled land of temptation is not our home, but while we are travelers here we can live a life that will shout to the world, "Jesus is the way, the Truth and the Light!" Take courage, my friends. Be bold against the attacks. Satan has nothing on you!
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