Photo by Aaron Burden
While teaching a Bible study not too long ago, a question was asked “what do we say to a person who keeps tempting you to do something you know is morally wrong.” How do you answer them without offending or accusing them of sinful behavior? My immediate thoughts went to Jesus when He was tempted by the devil while in the wilderness. Three times He refused the temptation with the Word of God.
There is power in God’s word, that’s why it is known as omnipotent, which means having unlimited power, the ability to do anything. The Body of Christ need to be convinced that they have the faith and must put it into action. Jesus put God’s word into full action at a time when needed. The devil was no match for him and Jesus always came out victorious over him.
The terminology used by Jesus when he was tempted by the devil in the wilderness was “it is written.” Why did Jesus use this terminology on three occasions in the book of Matthew chapter 4:1-11? It is because the devil’s entire nature is to steal, kill, and to destroy (John 10:10) and it did not matter to the devil that it was Jesus; he was on the same mission when he tempted Adam and Eve. The devil is always full of deception and he uses words to make them sound good for our human ear and mind. The devil’s motive is to trap us, and if he succeeds, we are thrown off course of our purpose that God has for us. Let’s look at the three angles in which the devil targeted to tempt Jesus.
1) Matthew 4:2-4: The devil tried to use Jesus’ hunger against him. Verses 3-4 says “And when he had fasted forty days and forty nights, he was afterward an hungred. And when the tempter came to him, he said, If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.” Had Jesus used His power as satan suggested, it would have been the wrong motive. It would have been for His own benefits, not to glorify His Heavenly Father.
2) The devil tried to use the physical tactic to get Jesus to yield to him. Matthew 4:5-7 “Then the devil taketh him up into the holy city, and setteth him on a pinnacle of the temple, And saith unto him, If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down: for it is written, He shall give his angels charge concerning thee: and in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone. Jesus said unto him, It is written again, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God.” To tempt God is to question His Word, which puts doubt on His ability to do what He has promised us.
3) At last, the devil tried to get Jesus to worship him. Matthew 4:8-11 “Again, the devil taketh him up into an exceeding high mountain, and sheweth him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them; And saith unto him, all these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me. Then saith Jesus unto him, get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve. Then the devil leaveth him, and, behold, angels came and ministered unto him.” Satan was trying to get Jesus to worship him, but the only one we should worship is God only, otherwise, we are placing others before Him.
These verses were written for our example, and Jesus is the greatest example of all. When the devil tries to tempt us to do anything against God’s word, we are to quote to him the same words as Jesus, “It is written” followed by God’s command.
The devil will use family or friends to tempt us to sin. So, there is one thing that’s very important in our process and experience of temptation, we must read and study the Word and it will become a part of our spiritual digestive system, otherwise when the devil comes our way, using those close to us, and others we will become easy prey.