Do temptations seem to come in greater fierceness or number when you have been trying harder to do right, or when you have been closer to God?
Jesus also experienced this: "in all points tempted as we are." This was a way to test or reveal before all the watching universe, His complete trust in the Father.
His first temptation followed the Holy Spirit's descent upon Him:
The Nature of the 3 temptations - Matthew 4:1-11.
"1 Then was Jesus led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil.
2 And when he had fasted forty days and forty nights, he was afterward ahungered.
3 And when the tempter came to him, he said, If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread.
4 But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone,
but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.
5 Then the devil taketh him up into the holy city, and setteth him on a pinnacle of the temple,
6 and saith unto him, If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down: for it is written, He shall give his angels charge concerning thee: and in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone.
7 Jesus said unto him, It is written again, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God.
8 Again, the devil taketh him up into an exceeding high mountain, and showeth him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them;
9 and saith unto him, All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me.
10 Then saith Jesus unto him, Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.
11 Then the devil leaveth him, and, behold, angels came and ministered unto him."
1. satan took advantage of physical weakness.
2. satan offered Jesus an easy, spectacular way to get a following and prove who He was.
3. satan offered Jesus an easy way to gain the world - compromise and worship him.
Jesus answered each time "It is written"
Psalms 119:11 - "Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee." The Word of God is the best defense in any situation.
Will you always resist temptation? No! Will you be discouraged? Not a question of if, but when!
I John 1:8 - "If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us." The Bible uniquely tells the failures of most of its heroes. Adam, Noah, Abraham, David.
1. Paul said, "Don't worry, instead, pray." Philippians 4:6.
2. When you fail, repent. Psalms 51. I John 1:9 - "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." Just as we forgive our own children freely - so we must accept God, our heavenly Father's forgiveness.
3. Restoration of fellowship comes through forgiveness. The consequences of sin are not necessarily removed. David's son dies.
Questions to ponder:
Why do Christians sin? How do you feel when you fail to live up to your commitment to Christ? What can you do when you sin?
I Corinthians 10:13 - "There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it." Temptations are part of God's plan - to test His people, and purge us of sin.
God also makes a way of escape for every temptation He allows satan to come at us with. It is we who give in to our own selfish desires.
Facing a heavy weight, a muscle strains and is exercised. To become stronger, more weight and more exercise are essential. As a weight lifter faces a training program that the coach has outlined, he must realize that to reach his goal to become better and stronger, he must lift those weights.
Just so as a Christian must face the trials and testing that God has planned for his life, and realize that only in facing those trials according to God's will that greater spiritual strength and maturity will follow.
Thoughts to ponder:
How can we help one another in times of temptation? What are some temptations facing those in our community? Can we do anything to help solve these problems?
The usual attitude:
You'll never change this old world. Will one person's stand for what is right make any difference? Not likely!
Daniel 1:8-21 -
"8 ¶ But Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the portion of the king's meat, nor with the wine which he drank: therefore he requested of the prince of the eunuchs that he might not defile himself.
9 Now God had brought Daniel into favor and tender love with the prince of the eunuchs.
10 And the prince of the eunuchs said unto Daniel, I fear my lord the king, who hath appointed your meat and your drink: for why should he see your faces worse liking than the children which are of your sort? then shall ye make me endanger my head to the king.
11 Then said Daniel to Melzar, whom the prince of the eunuchs had set over Daniel, Hanani'ah, Mish'a-el, and Azari'ah,
12 Prove thy servants, I beseech thee, ten days; and let them give us pulse to eat, and water to drink.
13 Then let our countenances be looked upon before thee, and the countenance of the children that eat of the portion of the king's meat: and as thou seest, deal with thy servants.
14 So he consented to them in this matter, and proved them ten days.
15 And at the end of ten days their countenances appeared fairer and fatter in flesh than all the children which did eat the portion of the king's meat.
16 Thus Melzar took away the portion of their meat, and the wine that they should drink; and gave them pulse.
17 ¶ As for these four children, God gave them knowledge and skill in all learning and wisdom: and Daniel had understanding in all visions and dreams.
18 Now at the end of the days that the king had said he should bring them in, then the prince of the eunuchs brought them in before Nebuchadnezzar.
19 And the king communed with them; and among them all was found none like Daniel, Hanani'ah, Mish'a-el, and Azari'ah: therefore stood they before the king.
20 And in all matters of wisdom and understanding, that the king inquired of them, he found them ten times better than all the magicians and astrologers that were in all his realm.
21 And Daniel continued even unto the first year of king Cyrus."
Opposition, apathy, ridicule. What happens when you compromise a little here or there?
How one person can affect one's life:
Examples in scripture -
1.) Stephen influenced Paul
2.) Ananias came to Paul in forgiveness.
3.) Barnabas, "Son of Consolation", took Paul to the apostles when others were still afraid of him.
He was later to take in John Mark when Paul refused.
Encourage one another and build one another up. (I Thessalonians 5:11).
Christian life is in fellowship to encourage one another in word and deed.
More thoughts to ponder:
Who has encouraged you in your Christian life? Did they risk or give up anything to do it? What difference did it make in your life? Who, as you think of those around you now, can you be an encourager to? We must be diligent and watch for opportunities to share our faith and help anyone who we come in contact with.
This article was written by my father T.O.D. Johnston, who was licensed to preach the Gospel by Paran Baptist Church on May 26, 1979. He has been a student of Scripture since 1972. View more lessons at his Bible Study Lessons page.