1 Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. 2 After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. 3 The tempter came to him and said, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.”
4 Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’”
5 Then the devil took him to the holy city and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. 6 “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.’”
7 Jesus answered him, “It is also written: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’”
8 Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. 9 “All this I will give you,” he said, “if you will bow down and worship me.”
10 Jesus said to him, “Away from me, Satan! For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.’”
11 Then the devil left him, and angels came and attended him.
After Jesus is baptized, He is led by the Holy Spirit to the wilderness to be tempted by Satan. Wait, what? No party, no trumpets ushering in the Son of God to begin His ministry?
It is common for us to think that once we are saved, all of our problems will be gone. The reality is that while God will free us from the slavery of sin, it does not mean our lives will be easy. In fact, Jesus promises quite the contrary when He says, “In the world you will have tribulation” (John 16:33) Life will be difficult, but don’t worry, because the war has already been won.
Notice the timing of Satan’s temptation: right after a glorious, spiritual moment. It makes logical sense that while we are off doing our own thing, Satan is pretty content to stay on the sidelines, perhaps coming in from time to time to poke or prod us further down into the black hole of sin. But when we accept Christ as our savior, Satan hates it and will do whatever he can to attack us. The good news is that God never allows Satan to give us anything more than we can handle. (1 Corinthians 10:13)
These temptations came also when Jesus was setting out on His mission. It doesn’t matter whether God is calling you to the ministry or calling you to minister to your family, when you set out to do the Lord’s work, Satan will try to interfere. Satan will try to make you think you are self-sufficient and forget that your mission can only be accomplished through God (verses 3-4), he will try to twist God’s Word and what you know to be true (verses 5-7), and he will try to seduce you away from your mission with the things of this world and our own personal desires (verses 8-10).
Finally, see that Satan attacked when Jesus was alone. While we all must have private communion with God to quiet our minds and hear His voice, our consistent solitude can be Satan’s best friend. Too often we retreat from companionship because we feel condemned in our sin and are afraid of letting anyone else know about it. That is when the enemy can do as it pleases. The Bible reads, “A cord of three strands is not easily broken.” (Ecclesiastes 4:12) If you are struggling with sin, remember that:
1. There is no condemnation for those who have accepted Christ as Savior (Romans 8:1). Remember that Satan condemns, and the Holy Spirit convicts. That means that if you are hearing, “How could you…”, that is the enemy. What the Holy Spirit says is, “You are better than that, let’s bring you up out of that place.”
2. If you surrender your struggle to God he will take it away (Matthew 7:7-12). We are God’s dear children, and our heavenly Father wants us to bring our struggles to Him. As a parent, I often see my kids struggle with something; it may be as simple as opening a bag of food. I know they will never be able to do it themselves, but they stubbornly try. I stand watching, hoping they ask me for help. When they do, I love it. God feels that same way and is able to help us infinitely more than we can as parents.
3. Repent and confess to God, but also confess to man (James 5:16). True repentance is having a change of mind when it comes to sin, not simply a confession and continuation in that sin. But we also must confess to each other. When we confess to each other, we bring our struggles out of the darkness and into the light. When we stay isolated, we are like a ship at sea in fog. We have no point of reference at which to travel. Friends who follow Jesus are like lighthouses on the shore. It gives us a frame of reference and a perspective that we cannot have on our own.
In John 16:33 Jesus does say that we will have tribulation, but he finishes it by adding, “but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” Never forget who you are in Christ. If you have surrendered your life to Him, then you are one of His flock and the enemy cannot snatch you from His hand.
Get comfortable in Matthew 4:1-11, we’re not done here.
1 Corinthians 10:13 – No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it. (BACK)
Romans 8:1 – Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, (BACK)
Matthew 7:7-12 – “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened. “Which of you, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him! So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets. (BACK)
James 5:16 – Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective. (BACK)
John 16:33 – “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (BACK)