Temptation Thwarted

What do you do when you’re tempted? How do you fight off temptation? Do you just give in, or do you resist? Temptation is a wily sidekick, you know. Not one you want hanging around. It appears at all hours of the day. Satan comes around in the form of temptation at times when you least expect to see him. And there may be times when you’re not aware that he’s the one doing the enticing. He wants you. And he’ll do whatever it takes to get you on his side.

Oh. Jesus was tempted. He was led into the wilderness, where he was tempted for forty days. Imagine. Forty days of temptation. And never giving in. Jesus did it. He had the ingredient that was essential for refusing to submit to sin. Sure. You can say that he was God and he couldn’t sin. But when he came to earth, he came as a human who suffered every temptation the rest of us have ever faced. And he refused to bow to temptation. Every single time.

It won’t be a red devil with horns looking you in the eye, because he masquerades as an angel of light. So he may appear as a tantalizing new opportunity that promises the world but ends in tragedy. He will make evil look good and good look evil.

Read the story for yourself.

Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted there by the devil. For forty days and forty nights he fasted and became very hungry. During that time the devil came and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become loaves of bread.” But Jesus told him, “No! The Scriptures say, ‘People do not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’ ” Then the devil took him to the holy city, Jerusalem, to the highest point of the Temple, and said, “If you are the Son of God, jump off! For the Scriptures say, ‘He will order his angels to protect you. And they will hold you up with their hands so you won’t even hurt your foot on a stone.’ ” Jesus responded, “The Scriptures also say, ‘You must not test the Lord your God.’ ” Next the devil took him to the peak of a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. “I will give it all to you,” he said, “if you will kneel down and worship me.” “Get out of here, Satan,” Jesus told him. “For the Scriptures say, ‘You must worship the Lord your God and serve only him.’ ” Then the devil went away, and angels came and took care of Jesus.

Matthew 4:1-11

When he was in the wilderness, Jesus quoted Scripture back to Satan each time his enemy tempted him. And the enemy even quoted Scripture to Jesus. Yes, he did. He quoted Scripture as a method of deception. And Jesus charged right back with the perfect response. Jesus wasn’t afraid of his enemy. He stood up to the one trying to ruin him and said “No.” Jesus didn’t let Satan steal his holiness.

Only by your power can we push back our enemies; only in your name can we trample our foes. Psalm 44:5

Satan also used Scripture when he was tempting Jesus, so beware. If he tempted Jesus with Scripture, what are the methods he uses today? His advances may seem innocent. But his plans are to destroy us. We must make sure we know Scripture. How else can we fight against Satan’s advances. When tempted, can you quote the Scripture that you need to resist his advances? If you can’t charge back at Satan with Scripture, what do you use to stand up to him? Just know that when Satan tempts you, he is attempting to deceive you. His temptations may be pretty or fun. But giving in to temptation, which means that you’re giving in to sin, always has consequences.

We must do as Jesus did when Satan tempted him? He quoted Scripture and threw it in the face of his tempter. And that’s exactly what we must do. We must stand up to our enemy. Throw the Book at him. Oh. He’ll try and do the same. He did it to Jesus. Satan can quote the Bible. But he also twists the truth.

How else can we fight the enemy of our souls? If we’re tempted and we don’t know Scripture, what other tools of resistance do we have to demand that Satan stand down? If not Scripture, then what?

It is combat we’re facing. Hand to hand combat. Do we bring the most effective weapons? Or do we just hope for the best? Are we prepared? Or do we get caught off guard with a sucker punch to the gut?
We don’t have to lose when we’re up against Satan. We don’t have to bow to his advances. We must be prepared and know how to fight him. It takes advance preparation and sure-fire tactics to beat him.  If Jesus can resist Satan’s attacks, then we can do the same if we’re filled with the Holy Spirit and the knowledge of God’s Word.

Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour. Stand firm against him, and be strong in your faith. 1 Peter 5:8-9

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