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I was reading Matthew this week and God showed me a few things about temptation I never noticed before.
Here’s the text I was reading…
“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.” Matthew 4:2-3 NIV
What happens when you’re tired or hungry? Isn’t that when we’re tempted to be rash? Tempted to eat things we shouldn’t? Say things we shouldn’t? Give in?
Now imagine 40 days and nights only drinking water. Zero food.
And the tempter comes and says…”We both know who you really are. We both know you have Holy Spirit’s enabling power. You can turn those rocks into fresh baked bread just by speaking to them. Hot bread with some yummy melted butter.”
Would you take a minute to consider it? Would you picture fresh bread? Melty butter? Mmm.
If you just pictured this bread or took a minute to consider the option, you just missed your way out (I Corinthians 10:13) and your opportunity to resist (James 4:7).
Jesus didn’t even hesitate. He didn’t ponder. He didn’t give a millimeter to the enemy, let alone a whole inch.
Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.” Matthew 4:4
Right after, Jesus resists by speaking the word, the tempter comes right back.
“Then the devil took him to the holy city and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. “If you are the Son of God,” he said, “throw yourself down. For it is written: “‘He will command his angels concerning you, and they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.'” Matthew 4:5-6 NIV
Again Jesus doesn’t even mull it over or debate the accuracy of the statement the devil made. He doesn’t puff up His chest, and try to prove who He is. He calls out the twisting of the scripture just by speaking the truth of the word.
“Jesus answered him, “It is also written: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’” Matthew 4:7 NIV
A 3rd time the tempter comes back at Jesus-
“Again, the devil took Him to a very high mountain and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. “All this I will give you,” he said, “if you will bow down and worship me.”” Matthew 4:8-9 NIV
Technically Satan had authority over all the kingdoms of the world at that time. It was his to give, because Adam and Eve abdicated their authority, handing it over to Satan.
Now don’t forget…Jesus is tired. He has not eaten in over a month. Not even kale or cauliflower rice. Nada. Nothing. Zip.
Jesus knows that He’s here to get back the authority the previous Adam gave up. He knows He’s here to sacrifice Himself for us. He was being offered the authority He came to reclaim (what He came here for) all He had to do was bow His knee.
I shudder to think what would have happened if Jesus would have mulled that over…or worse caved and bowed His knee. 😲 But He didn’t.
Jesus did not even entertain the thought for a second…
“Jesus said to him, “Away from me, Satan! For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve Him only.’” Then the devil left Him, and angels came and attended Him.” Matthew 4:10-11 NIV
How many times do we find ourselves mulling over the temptation? Allowing ourselves to be swayed.
Remember Jesus was fully man on earth who was empowered by Holy Spirit, the same as us. If He can resist temptation, so can we. If we follow His lead.
1. Don’t mull it over or consider the temptation. Resist the temptation immediately. Walk away.
2. Speak the Word. Don’t allow the enemy twist scripture, and use it against you. Call out the lie and speak the truth from the word.
3. Yes, you can resist!
“Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” James 4:7 NIV
Encouragement to ponder while you wander….
1. Jesus understands. He isn’t judging you…He wants to help you resist! “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are —yet he did not sin. Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.” Hebrews 4:15-16
2. Remember you’re not the only one and you’re not alone. “These things happened to them as examples and were written down as warnings for us, on whom the culmination of the ages has come. So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall! 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 that you can endure it.” 1 Corinthians 10:11-13 NIV
3. You can overcome! You are loved! “No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers,neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8:37-39 NIV
“But He said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.” 2 Corinthians 12:9 NIV
Grace- Christ’s power that enables us to do what we cannot in our own strength.
Sufficient=To be in posession of unfailing strength.
Power=Strength, miraculous power.
Perfect=to complete, to accomplish, to consummate, to finish, to fulfill.
Weakness=in want of strength.
When Jesus left earth, He sent us Holy Spirit to empower us to do even more than He did. Right?
So let’s look at this verse as a declaration!
I am empowered with the unfailing strength and miraculous power of Jesus. His strength and miraculous power partners with me in the areas I am in want so that I am able to thrive and do what I couldn’t do on my own. I refuse to be embarrassed by my weak areas, because in those weaknesses Christ’s power is fulfilling its purpose.
Point to ponder while you wander…
“The rain and snow come down from the heavens and stay on the ground to water the earth. They cause the grain to grow, producing seed for the farmer and bread for the hungry. It is the same with my word. I send it out, and it always produces fruit. It will accomplish all I want it to, and it will prosper everywhere I send it.” Isaiah 55:10-11 NLT
We were created to be in partnership with Jesus, so when we try to be Lone Rangers we get drained, stressed, weary, and depressed. But…
“But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint.” Isaiah 40:31 NLT
I’ve been really struggling the past few months. I have been asking Jesus about it recently but because I feel so overwhelmingly sad I haven’t been able to hear Him clearly. I know He’s speaking but I can’t hear what He is speaking. This morning I went on Bible Gateway to look something up and Isaiah 40:31 was the verse of the day.
I heard very clearly that I’ve become weary because I’m trying to get through this without Him. And I can’t. Not if I ever want to heal completely.
I’ve been trying to survive on the fumes of my own strength, when He’s got a new fresh supply of strength for me that will allow me to thrive even in grief.
I don’t know how people can get through loss and hard times without Jesus. I am eternally grateful for the new strength He provides when my own runs out.
Point to ponder while you wander…“Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.” – Matthew 11:28-30 NLT
I like to hide. I like to hang back and watch, until I am sure about an activity or a group of people. I sometimes doubt if i should give the Word I am hearing or post what I’ve written.
But I also have this reassuring Voice of Truth inside me that says, “Do not fear.” & “Just do it, Jillian.”
This voice enabled me to Study Abroad in England at 21, alone. Road Trip for 3 weeks all by myself in my 30’s. Parasail on Lake Michigan. Share my heart and my struggles with strangers to encourage those who are struggling. Let go of jobs, my house, and people when it was time to move on. And most recently to be there with my grandparents as they left this world for Heaven.
Bravery isn’t just for running into burning buildings to save someone. It is required for seemingly simple, ordinary things. Speaking to a group of people. Taking a new job. Asking someone out. Ending a bad relationship. Telling someone about Jesus. Being honest with ourselves. Asking for help.
Fear is a bully and a liar. It prevents people from being honest and real with themselves and others. Fear says, “They’ll judge you. Fear says, “You can’t do it.” It says, “Don’t bother. You’ll just fail.”
Fear is a liar. The truth is…
You are a child of God.
“What marvelous love the Father has extended to us! Just look at it we’re called children of God! That’s who we really are.” I John 3:1 MSG
It’s okay to have weaknesses.
“Concerning this thing I pleaded with the Lord three times that it might depart from me. And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” 2 Corinthians 12:8-9 NLT
It is okay to fail.
Jesus knew that Peter would fail. Jesus knew Peter would deny Him. Yet, Jesus chose him anyway. Jesus believed in him and prayed for him. Then, after Peter failed spectacularly, he regrouped with his people and Holy Spirit. THEN He preached in Jerusalem AND…”Those who believed what Peter said were baptized and added to the church that day—about 3,000 in all.” Acts 2:41 NLT
You Can, with Jesus’ Help
“I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little. For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.” Philippians 4:12-13 NLT
Bravery and boldness comes to us when we need it, when we know Who is with us, and what He did for us. You are never alone. You are never forgotten. You are never forsaken.
Something to ponder while you wander… “You make me Brave”
You may be the meekest and weakest, but God still believes in you. Let Him make you brave. Don’t believe me? Read Gideon’s story beginning in Judges 6. God found him hiding, and still called him a mighty warrior.
“Dear friend, I hope all is well with you and that you are as healthy in body as you are strong in spirit.” 3 John 1:2 NLT
Declaring that you are both healthy and strong today!
Don’t stop believing!!
“As you know, we consider blessed those who have persevered. You have heard of Job’s perseverance and have seen what the Lord finally brought about. The Lord is full of compassion and mercy.” James 5:11 NIV
Running low on strength to persevere?
“It is God who arms me with strength and makes my way perfect. He trains me for battle, my arms can bend a bow of bronze. You give me your shield of victory, and your right hand sustains me.” Psalm 18:32 & 34-35 NIV
To be still and know that He is God requires you to believe Him not just believe in Him.
Do you believe He will do what He says He will do? Do you believe He is a God of His word? Do you believe He is faithful.
If you’re struggling with believing Him, I recommend two things. 1. Worship. Nothing reminds me of who God is and His faithfulness more than worship music. 2. Study the lives of those mentioned in Hebrews 11, their perseverance, their relationship with God, and God’s faithfulness to them.
Something to ponder while you wander…true perseverance means no matter what you see or feel, you don’t stop believing God.
“He heals the brokenhearted and bandages their wounds. He counts the stars and assigns each a name. Our Lord is great, with limitless strength; we’ll never comprehend what He knows and does.” Psalm 147:3-5 MSG
Yahweh is gentle, and yet the epitome of strength.
He is fully occupied, and yet so faithful that He never misses a single appointed time.
Yahweh is so deep and complex, yet simple enough to be described as simply as good.
There’s so much about Him we won’t fully understand on this side of eternity, and yet He invites us into a relationship with Him so He may reveal His secrets and mysteries to us.
Something to ponder while you wander…I use awesome and fully awesome all the time, but in truth the only one worthy to be called fully awesome is Yahweh. He is the true definition of awesome!