The Temptation of Jesus
From the story of Jesus’s temptation times, we realize the fact that we are going through temptation does not mean that God has forsaken us. The Holy Spirit led Jesus into the desert so that He can be tempted there. When we overcome temptation, it is triumph over the kingdom of darkness where Satan everyday tries to recruit us. The same devil that tried Adam and Eve in the garden is the same devil who tried Jesus in the desert. The difference between the two scenarios is that one was overcome by the temptation and the other overcame the temptation. Satan constantly fights God and those who believe in God. Jesus was no exemption and he became a target because the devil knew that with Jesus’s sacrifice over sin, his kingdom was doomed forever. Can you imagine the fate of man if Jesus was overcome by Satan?
The sure and effective weapon against temptations is the word of God. It is the only offensive weapon provided to man. Ephesians 6:17 “Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.” Jesus used the scripture to counter the temptations of the devil. This is our provided weapon which we must use through faith in God’s promises. Satan also knows the scriptures and he is good at twisting it to fit his tricks to believers. Obeying the scriptures is the key thing than knowing it, even memorizing and quoting it. We must live the word of God, make it our sword by living daily in obedience.
Paul writes to the Church in Corinth 2 Cor.11:3 “I am afraid that just as Eve was deceived by the serpent’s cunning, your minds may be somehow led astray from your sincere and pure devotion to Christ”. Paul earlier had said that he desired to present the church to Christ as a pure church, to one husband-Jesus Christ, devoid of any contamination that comes from false teaching apart from the truth. From the reference he made of the first temptation that caused man to fall, it seems that man has always remained vulnerable to the lies that Satan brings from time to time.
Temptation is a corruption of the mind seduced from the truth, wholehearted sincerity, and pure devotion to Christ.
Satan wants to seduce us into fantasy and corruption from the truth of life through Jesus Christ. To the Galatians Paul writes:
Galatians 6:1 “Brothers if someone is caught in sin, you who are spiritual should restore him gently. But watch yourself, or you also may be tempted”. Even the one who is spiritual, responsive to and controlled by the Spirit can be tempted by the same sins that have overtaken another. The warning is given clearly to us that we are not immune to temptation at all. 1 Cor.10:12 “So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you do not fall!Amplifiedversion says, “Therefore let anyone who thinks he stands- who feels sure that he has a steadfast mind and is standing firm-take heed lest he falls (into sin)”.
Many solid and steadfast Christians have fallen and continue to fall. Satan capitalizes on our ignorance of his seductive power. The casualties are many and the number continues increasing as we hide the truth because of fear of the repercussions from the church that is perhaps not ready to walk with us in our weakness. But God is not shocked, but He surely is grieved. He told us it is coming! 2 Tim 3:1-5 talks about terrible times in the last days where people will be lovers of themselves…. having some form of godliness but denying its power.
So, what does the approach of the end have to do with the godly falling before this satanic assault?
Rev. 12:9, 12
“The great dragon was hurled down-that ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan, who leads the world astray. He was hurled down to the earth, and his angels with him…But woe to the earth and the sea, because the devil has gone down to you! He is filled with fury, because he knows that his time is short.”
Who are the targets of Satan’s fury? We are. Why?
- To revenge on God by wreaking havoc on His children
- To try and incapacitate Christians God-given ability to overcome him.
Rev. 12:11 says,“They overcame him by the blood of the lamb and by the word of their testimony.”
Once we are covered by the blood of Jesus, just like the angel of death during the Passover Satan cannot enter our abode. Those who have Jesus Christ as Lord and savior are the dwelling of the Holy Spirit (1Cor. 6:19-20). The door posts of our hearts are marked by the blood of the lamb! Neither Satan or his demons can enter us! Praise the name of the Lord. We are the redeemed of the Lord.
Here is the secret friends, understand what the covering of the blood of Jesus means to us. It means we have the power to overcome the enemy. But, if he can do nothing about the blood of the lamb covering the redeemed, he will go for the word of our testimony! Satan is out to destroy the testimony of the believer in Christ Jesus. He knows the power of your testimony against him and that’s why he is throwing temptations to you every day, so that you may fall and start walking in shame. Your powerful testimony is your weapon against the devil, but his strategy is to kill as many testimonies as he possibly can, he is prowling all over because he knows his time is limited. 1 Pet. 5:8-9 says, “Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of suffering.” Many believers who sincerely love God are going through suffering daily resisting the enemy Satan who is knocking at their door every day persuading them to give in.
- Some to temptations to make money through corrupt means yet they are in real financial difficulties,
- Some to engage in ungodly relationships yet they would want to get married, but no spouse is coming their way,
- Some are tempted to sexual sin because their marriages are non-functional, Satan is dangling a carrot of someone’s husband or wife,
- Some are tempted to bribe to receive justice that has been denied for a long time.
Satan has a tailor-made temptation to catch every believer off guard and ruin their testimony.
“There is nothing that Satan can do for his evil cause that he does not do. We may be halfhearted, but he never is. He is the very image of ceaseless industry and untiring earnestness. He will do all that can be done in the time of His permitted rage. We may be sure that he will never lose a day.”
We need to understand without glorifying the devil that he is far more powerful, personal and conniving than many of us thought. He is potent, armed and dangerous; But he is not equal to the Most High, Powerful and Mighty God. The Lord of hosts has the authority over all powers and principalities, Satan is merely a created being. But he is still a threat. At our strongest times in the spirit we are no match for him except we walk in the victory that our Lord Jesus Christ won for us “Strong in the Lord and His mighty power.”(Eph 6:10)
Christ referred to Satan as the prince of this world (John 12:31; 16:11) but He said in Luke 10:18 Satan is already defeated. However, although he is defeated, the day when Christ will come and rule over the world is yet to come (John 18:36), hence the evil that Satan continues to throw into the world. But it must be understood that though Satan is the “prince of this world”, it is by God’s permissive will to accomplish God’s purposes otherwise he was completely defeated by the offering of the sinless life of our Lord Jesus Christ.
We must accept that if we do not guard our hearts through the word of God, even being wholeheartedly, sincerely and purely devoted to Christ we can be tempted and deceived by Satan. We must choose therefore to walk with Christ to defeat the power of temptation. Satan is a liar and the father of deception, Jesus said he is the father of lies. When he lies, he speaks his native language (John 8:44). Let us endeavor to remain unstained, to keep our faith pure as the bride of Christ. Let us not trade our place in the victory of Christ for cheap and perishing promises.
Next week we look at How a person who has consistently walked with God can be so powerfully seduced to ungodliness.
God bless you.
Rev. Julius Wainaina