Day 34: Facing Temptation: Part 1
If anyone understood temptation, it was Jesus. Think of the pressure he went through day-in and day-out. He was the son of God, sent to live a perfect life. Any subtle delve into even the smallest temptation defeated his entire purpose in an instant. Christ took temptation seriously, as we ought to.
Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. The tempter came to him and said, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.” Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’” -Matthew 4:1-4 (NIV)
For many years of my life I thought sexual sin was minuscule. I remember thinking that there were far worse sins out there, and that mine were minor in comparison. This verse was revealed to me when I opened by Bible one summer morning:
For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it. -James 2:10 (NIV)
So how then are we to handle temptation, especially during times of weakness? Take a look at the video below.
So now we come to Christ and his battle against Satan in the wilderness. I don’t know about you, but I’ve never gone a few days without eating, much less a few weeks. Jesus was starving in the desert, with the sun beating down on him by day and the chilling wind by night. He was likely close to the point where his body would begin to shut down. At that moment nothing probably seemed more appealing to him than food.
Why did Satan tempt Christ with food first? It’s because that was where Jesus was most vulnerable. I too have been tempted in the areas where I am most vulnerable. Late at night with nothing but the bright glare of the computer screen illuminating the room; suddenly I’d feel the rush of temptation come over me like a whisper in my ear.
As a matter of fact, it seems to me that he only attacks me in my weak spots. Remember, our enemy is crafty. He stalks us as a lion stalks his prey. He waits in the shadows for us to make one wrong move. He will do everything in his power to bring us down. He will exploit every ounce of our weaknesses.
Have you ever had a long or stressful day where, once you finally get home, temptation suddenly hits you. The thoughts and whispers of the evil one seem alluring... “You deserve this, you’ve had a long day. It won’t hurt to give in just one more time.”
MODELING CHRIST DURING TEMPTATION
Christ used the word of God, which is our primary weapon in the war against the powers of darkness. It is vital to any battle against the enemy. And yet, many of us are leaving our sword (the Word of God) at home, or neglecting to keep it clean, sharp and balanced.
For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow, it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. -Hebrews 4:12 (NIV)
When tempted, without even realizing it, we’re stepping onto a battlefield. All around us, war is raging between angels and demons. Entering this fight without the Word of God is like going into a war zone without bringing a weapon. Use the Word, as Christ did, to shred through the enemy defenses, cutting down every temptation before it has the opportunity to grow.
- Memorize scripture to stop the enemy
Many people struggle with remembering exact chapters and verse numbers. This is important, but notice that Christ simply said, “It is written.” This isn’t to say you don’t try to memorize where verses or scripture come from specifically, but it is to say that just because you can’t remember “Job 31:1” doesn’t mean you can’t apply what it says.
- Know your escape routes
Sometimes we will resist the enemy and he will flee (James 4:7). Other times we will need to find a way of escape (1 Corinthians 10:13). It is important that we plan for those moments of temptation, particularly on a stressful day (or during a time that you know you’ll be tempted). Plan by knowing your ways out of that situation.
- Pray on the spot
It is difficult for the enemy to operate when we’re mid-prayer. He often hits us right afterwards, but if our hearts are genuine during prayer he hits a major blockade. Fix your thoughts and prayers on the glory of God; stand against the enemy knowing that you are bringing glory to God's kingdom on the battlefield.
Day 34 Application
Have you taken sin lightly in the past? In other words, did you view it as not a big deal?
How does the person of Jesus change the nature of your intimacy with God? What would it be like for you to relate to God without the knowledge of Jesus? How's accountability going?
Has the enemy ever attacked you where you were weak? How did Christ respond to being tempted in the area that he was weakest?
Since the last lesson, how have you been with maintaining your sexual purity?