September 24th

Fighting Temptation

1Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the desert to be tempted by the devil. 2After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. 3The tempter came to him and said, "If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread."
4Jesus answered, "It is written: 'Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.' "
5Then 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.' "
7Jesus answered him, "It is also written: 'Do not put the Lord your God to the test.' "
8Again, 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."
10Jesus said to him, "Away from me, Satan! For it is written: 'Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.'" 11Then the devil left him, and angels came and attended him.
Matthew 4:1-11 NIV 

Jesus was our role model as Christians for how to fight temptations.   Perhaps the most famous example of how Jesus fought temptation was when he faced the devil in the wilderness after fasting 40 days.   Jesus quoted the scriptures in response to each of the devilís clever temptations.  In doing so, he demonstrated how to use the ďSword of the SpiritĒ (Ephesians 6:17), the spoken word of God.   

Because we are adopted sons of God through our faith in Jesus (Romans 8:17, John 1:12), we too can speak Godís word with the same authority that Jesus did and apply it to the temptations we face.   Using the Sword of the Spirit can be very powerful, and we must take care to ensure that we are using it in proper context and in the humility of Christ.   

Learning the context of scriptures and understanding how they apply to the situations we face is something that develops as we invest time in studying Godís word.  When we study the scriptures weíll also become familiar with the Godís character and what he expects of us as his sons.  For example, Jesus moved in Godís authority, yet he was never prideful.   

Jesus had taken time to develop a close and personal walk with God.  He had spent his life walking with God, learning the scriptures and completely abstaining from sin.   Likewise, the beginning of a close relationship with God for us will start when we invest time in meeting with him each day for a quiet time (prayer, Bible study, worship, etc.).   That daily time will be critical for getting Godís word into our minds and becoming sensitive to the Spiritís moves.   

Jesus truly was led by the Holy Spirit, as we are likewise to do (Romans 8:1-2).  When we yield to the Holy Spiritís control, we draw power from God to resist temptations.   

Some key points on fighting temptation that we can glean from Jesusí wilderness temptation include:

        Remember your identity as Godís son. The devil will try to get you to doubt your salvation and authority. 

        Fasting is a tool to humble ourselves before God, which can help us in resisting the devil (James 4:6-7)

        Know the Word so you are not deceived by the enemyís twisted version of it (Matthew 4:1-11)

        Speak the Word as it applies to the lies involved with the temptation (shows how important scripture memory can be)

        Remember that God will help you find a way out of temptation (1 Corinthians 10:13) and/or minister to you following your victory over it (ex. angels ministered to Jesus in Matthew 4:11)

        Remember that Jesus will help you during the temptations, as he was tempted, and he understands what you are going through. (Hebrews 4:15; 1 Corinthians 10:13

See Overcoming Temptation Study 

Questions for further thought:

Prayer:

ďLord Jesus, thank you for living out the example for me to follow.  I reckon myself with you, Jesus, as a son of God who is alive to God and dead to sin.  Please forgive me for not fully embracing your word.  Lord, I commit to investing time with you daily, learning your word and communing with you.  Teach me your ways, Lord, and revive me according to your word!  Teach me how to use the Sword of the Spirit as you did in the wilderness.  Please guide me by your Holy Spirit.  Thank you, Jesus!  Amen.Ē