Ready to be tempted?
Are you ready to be tempted? Jesus was. In Luke, Chapter 4, we are told that Jesus was led by the Spirit into the desert where he fasted and was tempted by Satan. He had just been baptized, the starting point of his ministry, and this temptation period would set the direction for that ministry.
Jesus went to the desert to prepare himself for the challenges that lay ahead. Satan accompanied him to try to throw him off course. Luke tells us about three of the temptations designed to make things easy for Jesus. The first was to satisfy his physical hunger by performing a miracle — changing stones to bread. The implication was that Jesus need not subject himself to the difficult ministry to which he had been called. Satan could show him an easier way. But Jesus responded with scripture.to defeat Satan and his temptation. Satan then tempted Jesus with power, authority over all nations if he only worshipped him. Satan offered Jesus an easy way to be the Messiah that the people wanted. Again, Jesus responded quoting scripture. Satan next tempted Jesus to test God by throwing himself off the pinnacle of the Temple and even quoted scripture himself. Again, Jesus countered Satan with scripture. Each time Jesus used scripture to defend himself against each temptation.
Satan acted as if he was trying to help Jesus, but he was really trying to hurt him. That is what Satan does with us. Temptations come by making things easy. That’s how they sell cigarettes, alcohol, gambling, drugs and illicit sex. The sellers package those things beautifully and make them sound wonderful. But dig underneath the slick packaging and you will find sickness and poverty and wrecked lives.
So how can we be ready to face such temptations? Jesus used scripture to defeat each of the three temptations, and we need to do the same. The Bible is God’s Word. He gave us the Bible to help us understand how to live joyfully –– and peacefully and victoriously. The Bible is our guidebook. Jesus was able to defeat Satan’s temptations, because he knew the scriptures.
We too will face hard times. We will face spiritual battles. Satan will tempt us. We need to be ready like Jesus by building strength now through spiritual disciplines — by worship, by prayer, by reading and knowing the Bible. Are you ready to be tempted?
REV. DALE BROWN can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.