Combatting Temptation

Matthew 4:1 NIV

“Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil.” NIV

“Then was Jesus led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil.” KJV

Compare this to this passage of Scripture in Isaiah 53:10:

Yet it was the Lord’s will to crush him and cause him to suffer,
and though the Lord makes his life an offering for sin,
he will see his offspring and prolong his days,
and the will of the Lord will prosper in his hand.

And also compare this to Job 1:6-12 (quoting vv. 8 and 12):

Then the Lord said to Satan, “Have you considered my servant Job? There is no one on earth like him; he is blameless and upright, a man who fears God and shuns evil.” V. 8

The Lord said to Satan, “Very well, then, everything he has is in your power, but on the man himself do not lay a finger.” V. 12

God does not tempt us to sin, but he allows it in our lives. Think with me on this for a moment. This is my understanding of what took place:

God created an angel who rebelled against God along with a third of the angels in heaven, and God did so knowing full well that the angel (aka Satan and the devil) was going to rebel (Is. 14:12-14; Lu. 10:18; Rev. 9:1; Heb. 12:22; Rev. 12:3-9).

Then God created man and woman knowing that the devil (in the form of a serpent) was going to tempt them (or just her) to sin and that they were going to sin against God. He created man/woman knowing that all humans from that point on would be born with sin natures, separate from God.

So, he allowed Satan to continue to exist, he allowed man/woman to now be born with sin natures, and he allows Satan to tempt us and to attack us, too. But it goes beyond that, for the Spirit led Jesus into the wilderness to be tempted. It was God’s will to crush Jesus and for him to die on that cross. And he gave Satan permission to attack Job, who was a righteous man.

So, it is God’s divine will that Satan should exist and that he should be allowed to tempt us and to attack us. It is God’s will that evil should exist. He is not the author of evil, but evil sometimes serves his purposes, like all throughout the Old Testament when he used evil kings to attack his people as a measure of divine judgment, correction, and discipline on his people.

So, why does God allow evil to exist? Why does he allow Satan to exist and to tempt us and to attack us? What purpose of his does that fulfill? I believe it is to draw us to God. It is so we will choose God, so we will desire him, long for him, depend on him, and so we will see our need of God.

Matthew 4:2-11 NIV

After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. The tempter came to him and said, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.”

Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’”

Then the devil took him to the holy city and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. “If you are the Son of God,” he said, “throw yourself down. For it is written:

“‘He will command his angels concerning you,
and they will lift you up in their hands,
so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.’”

Jesus answered him, “It is also written: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’”

Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. “All this I will give you,” he said, “if you will bow down and worship me.”

Jesus said to him, “Away from me, Satan! For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.’”

Then the devil left him, and angels came and attended him.

So, why did the Spirit lead Jesus into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil? Jesus is God. So, he didn’t need to be drawn to God. He didn’t need to choose God, or desire him, long for him, depend on him, and see his need of God. So, how did this serve God’s purposes and his divine will? What was accomplished here? Was it merely so Jesus would identify with us in our weaknesses?

Jesus, although fully God, was also fully man. Now, he never sinned, but he was tempted in like manner as we are also tempted. And, at least one of the purposes of that was so, as our high priest, he could empathize with our weaknesses, so that he could feel what we feel (Heb 4:14-16).

But is there another purpose? Certainly, it was to also set the example for us in how to combat the temptations and the lies and deceptions of Satan when we are tempted of the devil. For, not all temptation stems from the evil within our own hearts, for Jesus had no evil. And Job was not evil.

In fact, the more godly we are the more Satan will attack us and will try to find ways to trip us up so that we will fall or so that he can discredit us. So, we need to be aware of his tactics and how to fight against them so that we don’t get tripped up and fall into his traps.

And the Scriptures teach, too, that Jesus, although he was God the Son, yet as man he learned obedience through the things which he suffered. “And, once made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him” (Heb 5:8-9). Amen! He is our example and he is our Savior.

So, what can we learn from how he dealt with temptation? He resisted Satan immediately! He didn’t entertain those thoughts for a moment. And he countered Satan’s deceptive temptations with the solid word of God. And this is what we have to do, too. We can’t play with temptation one iota.

But Jesus had to know the word of God, which he did, because he is The Word, but we have to know the word of God if we are going to use it as the sword of the Spirit to fight against Satan’s lies and his temptations. We need to be bathed in the Word, knowing it (in context), and daily applying its truths to our lives, or we will lose these battles against our enemy.

So, know the Word, drink in the Word, obey the Word, live the Word, give out the Word, and fight the lies of Satan with the truth of God’s Word, in the power of God’s Spirit, so that you can be victorious over Satan and walk in victory over darkness in the power of God every day of your life.

Courageous!

An Original Work / December 24, 2013
Based off Various Scriptures

The Word of God throughout taught.
Some people heard, but did doubt.
Still others had faith in Christ.
By grace He purified them.

They turned from sin
And they obeyed Christ.
He opened up their blinded eyesight;
Turned them from darkness
To the true Light;
Forgave their sin by His might.

He strengthened them in their faith.
He said, “Remain my faithful.”
He called them to obedience.
By faith, they were so grateful.

By faith, they were to follow Jesus;
To daily sit and listen to Him;
To have such faith
That mountains could move;
To love those whom He gave them.

Be on your guard; courageous.
Stand firm in faith. Be thankful.
Take up the shield of your faith;
Protect against all evil.

Do not move from
The hope that you have.
Your faith in Jesus let it endure.
Hold to the truth;
Your conscience be clear.
Endure with perseverance.

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