How To Overcome Temptation: Part 1 – Luke 4:1-4
Scripture reading for this week: Luke 4:1-13
And Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit in the wilderness for forty days, being tempted by the devil. And he ate nothing during those days. And when they were ended, he was hungry. The devil said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command this stone to become bread.” And Jesus answered him, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God’” (Luke 4:1-4)
After Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist, and the Holy Spirit came upon Him, He was led by the Spirit into the wilderness. According to scripture, He was led there for the purpose of being tempted by the devil.
One might wonder, “Why did Jesus go into a situation where He knew He would be tempted? What purpose did it serve?”
I believe Hebrews 4 sheds some insight:
For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. (Hebrews 4:15)
I believe Jesus went into the wilderness not for Himself, but to be an example to you and I. When Jesus faced the temptation of the devil, He didn’t rely on His divine nature to protect Him.
Jesus countered the devil with the same defense that you and I have: The Holy Spirit, and the Word of God.
And the first temptation went right to the weakest point that a man or woman has; our flesh! After forty days, Jesus was hungry, probably starving! And the devil made a suggestion that seemed logical;
“Since You’re the Messiah, why are You so deprived? Do a little something for Yourself.”
Turning stones to bread wasn’t the problem. A little later, Jesus would turn water to wine. The temptation was for Jesus to use His divine power in an inappropriate way, to take the easy path, to cut corners.
The same temptation often comes to us: “If you’re a child of God, why are things so tough? Do a little something for yourself.”
When this temptation comes, we can look to how Jesus dealt with it:
First, Jesus made the decision to trust God.
Buried in the devil’s statement was the message “God has left you out here alone, and now you’re suffering. God’s holding back on you, so why don’t you take matters into your own hands and help yourself?”
This is a root lie that the devil still uses today in an attempt to turn Christians against God, telling them that God has abandoned them, and they’re on their own.
Saints, nothing could be further from the truth! The bible promises us that God will never leave us or forsake us (Deut 31:8, Hebrews 13:5)
Second, Jesus countered Satan with the Word of God
“It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God’”
In other words, Jesus hit him with the word!
Saints, one of the most powerful weapons that you possess is the word of God. Paul described it as a sword (Eph 6:17). The devil may come at you with lies, but the word of God will cut through the lies and ground you in the truth.
But the main point is this: Jesus handled the temptation by the devil with the same tools you and I have. That’s why scripture teaches us that no matter what temptation the devil tries, God has prepared a way out.
No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it. (1 Corinthians 10:13)
We can change the world, one life at a time…