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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
So many people say, “God will never give you more than you can handle.”
I want to ask them, please show me where it says that in the Bible?
I think they base it on I Corinthians 10:13, where Paul is talking about everyone being subjected to temptation. God will always provide away of escape from temptation, people don’t always take it, but He provides the way. If you read the verse and its context, it’s clearly talking about temptation. “If you think you are standing strong, be careful not to fall. The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you can endure. So, my dear friends, flee from the worship of idols.” I Corinthians 10:12-14 NKJV Clearly talking about temptation.
Before I continue, I want to make it clear that God does not cause bad or give bad. He is a good God and He only has good to give. BUT He will allow things to come against us. Though we are subject to the same temptations as everyone else, we have a promise that God is faithful to show us a way out. On top of that we will have trials. This is all found in James 1:2-18.
Now back to my point. Life will give you more than you can handle. That’s life. It’s the world we live in. It’s stressful. It’s hard. You will be tested and have trials. But the difference between you and the rest of the world is that you have GOD! The Word says that you will not have to handle all the junk alone. God’s got you. He will help you to thrive in the midst of every trial and tribulation. He can bring you through anything, and leave you even better than you were before!
Isaiah 43:1-4 NLT, “But now, O Jacob, listen to the Lord who created you.
O Israel, the one who formed you says,
“Do not be afraid, for I have ransomed you.
I have called you by name; you are mine.
When you go through deep waters,
I will be with you.
When you go through rivers of difficulty,
you will not drown.
When you walk through the fire of oppression,
you will not be burned up;
the flames will not consume you.
For I am the Lord, your God,
the Holy One of Israel, your Savior.
I gave Egypt as a ransom for your freedom;
I gave Ethiopia[a] and Seba in your place.
Others were given in exchange for you.
I traded their lives for yours
because you are precious to me.
You are honored, and I love you.”
The Word also says that God is your strength and that He strengthens you.
“Through God we will do valiantly, for it is He who shall tread down our enemies.” Psalm 108:13 NLT
The Hebrew word translated valiantly means to show oneself strong. It can be translated strength, might, efficiency, wealth or army. It shows that God comes along side of us to assist us when the situation is beyond us. No matter whether our enemy is sickness or disease, poverty or lack, emotional trauma, a family situation, persecution or anything else, God is with us. He gave Jesus for our freedom, redemption and healing. The New Testament corresponding verse is found in Philippians 4:13, “For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.” (NLT)
You will have things that are too much for you to handle, but that is when partnership with God comes into play. He will strengthen you. You can ask Him for His wisdom, and He will give it to you. When you come to the end of what you can do, God steps in to do what you cannot. He makes a way where there is no way. He turns everything around for our good.
Asking God for help is strength, not weakness. Allowing God to do what you cannot, is trusting Him. David had more than he could handle when Saul was trying to kill him, but God protected David. Job had more than he could handle when the enemy came against him, but God guarded his life and returned to him 10 fold for what he lost. The Children of Israel had more than they could handle in taking the Promised Land, but God went before them and they were victorious. And these are Old Testament stories. Before Jesus came to take our sin, sickness, and brokenness. Before Holy Spirit came to give us power. Imagine what you can overcome now, this very day, with God!!!
One caveat…God likes to do things His way. And He is infinitely more creative and wiser than we are…so be prepared to have your mind blown! 🙂
“Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think.” Ephesians 3:20