Friday, November 09, 2007

Luke #44 – Fighting Temptation

Luke #44 – Fighting Temptation

“And Jesus being full of the Holy Ghost returned from Jordan, and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness, being forty days tempted of the devil. And in those days He did eat nothing: and when they were ended, He afterward hungered. And the devil said unto Him, ‘If Thou be the Son of God, command this stone that it be made bread.’ And Jesus answered him, saying, ‘It is written, that man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God.’ And the devil, taking Him up into an high mountain, shewed unto Him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time. And the devil said unto Him, ‘All this power will I give Thee, and the glory of them: for that is delivered unto me; and to whomsoever I will I give it. If Thou therefore wilt worship me, all shall be Thine.’ And Jesus answered and said unto him, ‘Get thee behind Me, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and Him only shalt thou serve.’ And he brought Him to Jerusalem, and set him on a pinnacle of the temple, and said unto Him, ‘If Thou be the Son of God, cast Thyself down from hence: for it is written, He shall give His angels charge over Thee, to keep Thee: And in their hands they shall bear Thee up, lest at any time Thou dash Thy foot against a stone.’ And Jesus answering said unto him, ‘It is said, thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God.’ And when the devil had ended all the temptation, he departed from Him for a season” (Luke 4:1-13 – King James Version).

Back to my roadside I stood on the side of the road, I begin to think about my recent car history. The previous summer my Nissan just up and quit on me. When it was towed to the mechanic, he had no idea what went wrong with the car, but it was obvious that it would not run any more. Before and after my Nissan broke down I had trouble with my truck. On the first occasion a tie rod broke and left me and Katie stranded on the roadside. On the second occasion the right wheel bearing had a melt down. As I said before, when all the distractions were removed, Satan showed up and made it personal. He was tempting my mind by saying, “Here you are, serving God, and all you have for that is trouble. And you thought God would take care of you?” The Holy Spirit recalled Romans 8:28.

Every time I read this account of Jesus temptation in the wilderness I carefully take note of how Jesus battled those temptations; He did it with Scripture. Satan used Scripture too, but He twisted it (more on that tomorrow!). Whatever the devil said to Jesus, Jesus countered it with God's word. We should note that Jesus was filled with the Spirit. The Spirit was there, giving recall of Scripture and leading Jesus in recognizing the temptations and properly applying the Word.

Those are the same two ingredients we need in fighting temptation. We need to be filled with the Spirit and we need to apply God's word. To further illustrate this, let's go back to the roadside. As I said, the devil showed up and tried to get me to look at my circumstances; he wanted me to question God's provision and love for me. Romans 8:28 says that God work even bad situations out for good for those who love Him and have been called for His purposes. Right behind that, the Spirit recalled Matthew 28:20, where Jesus promised to always be with us. No part of that promise says that we will not experience difficult times, but it does promise that Christ will be with us. I also remembered the words of the apostle Paul who said nothing can separate us from the love of God (Romans 8:35). I begin to pray to God and to resist Satan by reminding that scoundrel of God's promises. Pretty soon, Satan left me alone on that temptation.

I could go on and on, but the point is that the way to deal with temptation is by confronting Satan with God’s truths. He can’t handle it and he can’t defeat it! That and the power of the Holy Spirit at work both in and through believers stymie Satan’s attempts to cause us to sin. Now…we need to walk in the Spirit and we also need to study God’s word. King David said “Your word I have hidden in my heart, that I might not sin against You” because he understood that was the way to stick to holiness and to avoid sin (Psalm 119:11 – NKJV).

How do you battle temptation? Do you simply try to grit your teeth and say “I think I can. I think I can.”? If we try to fight temptation in our own power, we will succeed only sporadically at best. Fighting temptation can be done! Will you accept God’s promises, apply His truths, and walk in the Spirit? There lies the keys to victory!

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