On Day One of this week when we talked about our enemy, Satan, we learned that he is making an effort to derail our lives. One of the ways Satan does this is through temptation. Every single one of us is tempted. Think about it. Have you ever made the decision to eat healthier only to go somewhere and be offered a sweet treat? Temptation! This is a simple example but the truth is we have all been tempted by much bigger things – to lie to earn favor, to cheat to win, to look at something we know we shouldn’t. You can probably fill in your own experience with temptation. All of us struggle with temptation unique to us.
Amazingly, Jesus not only warned us about temptations, but he himself experienced temptation. In Matthew 4, we read an account of Jesus being tempted by Satan. Satan preyed on Jesus’ weakness at the time because he was aware that Jesus had been fasting in the wilderness for weeks. Jesus was likely tired and hungry, so Satan suggested that Jesus turn stones to bread for eating. When Jesus refused, Satan took it a step further and put forward for Jesus to prove that he was the Son of God. However, Jesus refused to give in again, so Satan gives it his all and offers to give Jesus dominion, or control, of the earth. Finally Jesus replies, “Get away from me, Satan!”
We can learn so much from Jesus in this account in scripture. Every single one of us will be tempted, and often the temptation that we face directly correlates with a place of weakness in our life. Some of us struggle with responsibly consuming alcohol and are tempted to drink too much. Others have dealt with an addiction to pornogrpaphy in the past and find themselves tempted daily to return to that addiction. Maybe for some, insecurities cause them to feel tempted to gossip about those around them because talking about others makes them feel better about themselves.
Temptation isn’t the problem – but rather our response to it. We are all going to continue to experience temptation in one area or another, but we need to begin to realize we have the ability to overcome it. When we look at this account in scripture, we see that while Jesus was tempted, he never gave in. In fact, Jesus told Satan to go away, and he did! We are not powerless to the devil’s schemes. We do not have to succumb to these “bullies” in our lives, and we do not have to give in to temptation. It is important to recognize temptations and begin to uproot them as if they are a weed growing in our garden because just like weeds, the larger the temptations grow, the more damage they cause.
Honestly reflect on your life. What temptations are you prone to give in to?
Do you have someone in your life who can help you be accountable when it comes to the temptations you struggle with? If not, begin to pray that God would bring someone into your life or reveal someone who could help you along this journey of freedom.