Jesus' Example For Fighting Temptation

If you're doing something good and useful for the kingdom of God, you can expect to be tempted in one way or another. The devil hates to see us active in the Lord's work, so we instantly become targets of his temptations.

For some of us, it's physical lust. For others, it's food or the love of money or pride. The enemy knows our personal weak spots and which buttons to push. His ultimate goal is to keep us in sin and destroy our relationship with God. If our faith in God and His Word is shaken, making us question His love and truth, then we're more susceptible. And the more pleasant and good the temptation seems, the more dangerous it becomes.

However (and it's a grace-filled however), God prepares us for temptation before it appears. He gives us strength for rejecting the devil's efforts and shows us exactly how to fight. Jesus' example of overcoming them is the answer for us all, regardless of what our weaknesses are.

Christ was tempted immediately following His baptism and the lighting of the Holy Spirit. The Spirit then led Him into the wilderness, where Satan came at Him with three different temptations. This description can be found in Matthew 4, Mark 1 and Luke 4. In all three accounts, we can see the perfect example of resisting the temptations that are certain to come upon us.

1. Be familiar with the Scriptures. Jesus quoted Scripture during all three temptations. He was ready to reply when the situation arose because He is the eternal Word. This gives us our example for resisting and rejecting our temptation. Knowing the truth and having it written in our hearts will make it readily available when the moment comes.

2. Strengthen your relationship with God. We could easily say, Of course Jesus was able to trust God. He was God - I'm not. Instead, the more time we spend in prayer, Bible study and mediation, the stronger our relationship will be. Just like in human interactions, the more time you spend with someone, the more you know them, understand them, trust them and love them. Our dependence on our Heavenly Father is exactly the same.

3. Don't be distracted by bigger, better and different things. Having a "grass is always greener" mentality is dangerous. Our physical and mental lusts and cravings lead us to the shiny, the sparkling, the new, the bigger. This is a tool the devil uses to turn our attention away from the blessings the Lord has given abundantly. By keeping our eyes on what is important to God and being about His business even more intently, we will appreciate what we have and be less easily turned away.

4. Keep your ground. As Matthew Henry once wrote, "If we turn aside because of our own lust, the devil will take the handles and plow that heifer." But if we're firmly planted in the foundation of Jesus Christ, he will gain no ground. Be steadfast and set your face as a flint.

The devil is a defeated foe. Christ was tempted so that He could overcome the tempter and show us how to do the same. We can claim the victory over any temptation because our Savior has already conquered them. What a beautiful, encouraging truth for our everyday lives.

Jesus Christ knows from experience what temptation is like. He is familiar with what we go through before, during and after temptation. This makes Him the perfect One to lean on when meeting the devil face to face.

My prayer today is that we'll rely on God's grace, trust in Jesus' example and following the leading of the Holy Spirit when temptations come our way.

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