Temptation   1 comment

Temptation

Temptation

I don’t know about you but I heard a lot of sermons on “Temptation”. In this sharing, I would like to point to obedience in temptation. Everyone knows what temptation is because every human being has been tempted (even Jesus).  Temptation is not a sin but satisfying those evil desires are. We are not all tempted the same way because we respond differently to temptation. James gives us a reason for this:

Temptation comes from our own desires, which entice us and drag us away.These desires give birth to sinful actions. And when sin is allowed to grow, it gives birth to death.” James 1:14

If you’re someone who likes to drink, the devil will exploit this evil desire in you to drown you more in this sin. It can be lust, pornography, gaming or cupidity. I was reading Matthew 4 and wanted to understand what was the devil’s intention in tempting Jesus. Why did he persist and what was his agenda? Why did the devil tempt the Son of God, Jesus? How could he dare? Was not it pointless? The devil is a fierce adversary and does not give up easily. You can be winning 100-0 with one minute remaining time and you can still find the devil on the ring battling. The devil is like a lion looking for a prey. The devil tried and was not pessimist when he had the guts to tempt Jesus. So do you think he’ll leave you alone? If you’re a threat, the devil will use things your flesh likes to tempt you in order to try paralyze you.

I don’t know about you but when I’m hungry, I’m not in good mood. I’ll eat whatever I can find to appease this hunger. Here we see again the devil using this physical weakness of Jesus to tempt Him after fasting 40 days.

If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread

In this phrase there’re 2 baits with a hidden agenda. First, it is this deadly “if”. This “if” reminds me also of Eden, “Did God really say?” and we know what happened. I often hear people say “If you’re a real man, do this or that”. If someone thinks he’s a real man, then there’s no need to prove it. Jesus did not have to prove the devil whatsoever.

The second tactic(bait) was using a weakness of the flesh-hunger. If you’re hungry and have the ability to fill your stomach, won’t you do something about it? For some people it can be money, fame, sex etc.  Now the hidden agenda there, was obedience. The devil wanted Jesus to obey him, the same way he did in Eden. In Eden, Adam and Eve obeyed the devil and disobeyed God. If Jesus obeyed to prove He could change stones to bread then He would have been prideful through disobedience.

Jesus used the scripture to reply the devil. “People do not live by bread alone,but by every word that comes from the mouth of God“.

Next temptation:

If you are the Son of God, jump off! For the Scriptures say ‘He will order his angels to protect you.And they will hold you up with their hands so you won’t even hurt your foot on a stone.”

So here the cunning devil wants to play his favorite game again i.e. twisting scripture. The scripture said that God will send His angels to protect but should it be a reason to jump off or provoke God? Jesus walked on the water and I’m quite certain He could jump off a mountain without being hurt. Jesus replied and said “The Scriptures also say, ‘You must not test the Lord your God“.

The scripture also said not to provoke God. Don’t provoke God to see if He’ll punish you if you sin. Jesus did not even argue with the devil when the scripture was twisted. It would have been pointless to make the devil understand the context or reason. The devil does not care, His goal is to get you. He’s like a lion who wants to devour you Peter said(1 Peter 5:8). So don’t argue with evil people about scripture. Rebuke when necessary, teach, correct, contend and defend the faith as the bible says. But the bible also says to avoid useless discussions and pointless debates. This is what happened in Eden. If Eve turned her back and did not continue this discussion, the devil would not have had the opportunity to sow his deadly seeds in her mind. Resist the devil and he will flee the bible says(James 4:7). Don’t play with fire. What happened to David? He wanted to know more about Bathsheba and it’s then he started to conceive in his mind for ways to get her. If he refused these bad thoughts he would not have even inquired who was this lady taking her bath outside.

Let’s not allow Satan outsmart us, we know his tricks. 2 Cor 2:11

The devil persisted again and showed Jesus kingdoms of the world and their glories. Here again the devil wanted to play with the desires of the flesh i.e. glory, fame and honor.  Perhaps for someone great as Jesus, it was thirst for power which was a stronger temptation. We know that great rulers always want to get richer and control.

Jesus was God and whatever He wanted He could get. The devil was indeed the prince of this world and ruled. The devil would not have mind giving all these powers as long as Jesus obeyed him by kneeling down and worshipping him. But Jesus demonstrated obedience to God and did not seek glory (Phil 2:6).  Jesus has been tempted in many ways so that He could be a perfect High Priest for us (Heb 2:16-18, 5:8). Obedience to God is a sign of worship. Obedience to the devil is also a sign of worship. Let’s not forget what Samuel said to Saul:

What is more pleasing to the Lord:your burnt offerings and sacrifices or your obedience to his voice?Listen! Obedience is better than sacrifice,and submission is better than offering the fat of rams.Rebellion is as sinful as witchcraft, and stubbornness as bad as worshiping idols.So because you have rejected the command of the Lord,he has rejected you as king.”1 Samuel 15:22

Obedience means submission to an authority (Oxford dictionary). Saul disobeyed God by keeping the animals for offerings. Sounds spiritual is not it? Perhaps it was also a pretext to keep the best livestock for personal use. How to differentiate what is fake piety and genuine devotion? It’s Obedience.

Do not obey the sinful desires of your flesh.

So don’t let sin rule your body, which is going to die. Don’t obey its evil longings.” Rom 6:12

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Posted May 1, 2012 by Cedric in Theology

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  1. Pingback: Temptation | Laced up Lutheran

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