Monday, July 6, 2015

Preparing for Temptation

Temptations are around us all the time. Luckily temptation isn't sin, rather, we have a choice to make in how we deal with that temptation. Jesus himself was tempted three times at one of the times he would have been the weakest (Luke 4:1-13). "He ate nothing during those days, and at the end of them he was hungry."

I've heard this passage many times but as I read through it yesterday and lead a bible study discussion on it today, several things popped out.

It is important to learn and memorize God's word.
In verses 9-11, Satan quotes scripture to tempt Jesus to throw himself from the temples. Satan knows scripture and he will twist it to tempt us. If we don't really know God's word, it will be much easier for us to fall into Satan's trap.

Furthermore, each time Jesus was tempted, he responded with scripture (verses 4, 8 and 12). "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)."

Even when things are going well, we should be prepared for Satan's attack.
In verse 13 it says, "When the devil had finished all this tempting, he left him until an opportune time." Jesus passed the test. But the verse doesn't say that Satan left for good. Indeed, although I don't recall any specific instances the bible specifically states he was further tempted, I imagine there were many other temptations. In Luke 22:42 Jesus prays, "Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done." There again was a choice to do God's will and go to the cross or to sin and disobey. We too should be prepared for that "opportune time."

We should always wear God's full armor (Ephesians 6:10-18). And again, we should memorize God's word. "Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God." Without God's word, we have no weapon to fight temptation. 

"All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work (2 Timothy 3:16-17)."

There is a way of escape.
"No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so you can endure it (1 Corinthians 10:13)."

I have personally found that when I am spending time reading God's word and praying, I am much more well equipped to stand firm when temptation comes my way. Unfortunately, I know all too well how quickly I am to fall when I am not spending time in God's word and in prayer like I should. One of my favorite church sign quotes reads, "Seven days without prayer makes one weak;" it is so true. This is an area of my life that I know I have much room for improvement.

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