How to Resist Temptation (Matthew 4:1-11)

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Jesus went into the wilderness to spend forty days fasting.  The devil waited until Jesus was at the end of his fast before trying to tempt Jesus. The devil wanted to take advantage of the weakened and weary state of Jesus.

By studying the temptation of Jesus, we can learn how to resist temptation in our own lives.

The first temptation:

The devil told Jesus, “If you are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread.” (ESV)

Jesus replied, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.'” (ESV)

The devil appealed to the fleshly desires of Jesus and tried to get him to break the fast by turning stones into bread.  The devil also tried to illicit a prideful spirit within Jesus, by saying, “If you are the Son of God.”

Jesus was able to resist temptation and used scripture as his strength and reasoning.

The second temptation:

For the second temptation, “the devil took him to the holy city and set him on the pinnacle of the temple and said to him, ‘If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down, for it is written, ‘He will command his angels concerning you, and on their hands they will bear you up, lest you strike your foot against a stone.”” (ESV)

The devil continued to question Jesus about his divinity.  He also used scripture to tempt Jesus.  However, Jesus combated the temptation by quoting scripture back to the devil, “it is written, ‘You shall not put the Lord your God to the test.'” (ESV)

If we are to resist temptation and stand firm in our faith, then studying the bible is essential.  How can we proclaim to believe something if we don’t know what it teaches?  How can we stand up against false teachings, if we don’t know the truth within the scriptures?

The third temptation:

The devil tried to tempt Jesus one more time, “the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory.  And he said to him, ‘All these I will give you, if you will fall down and worship me.'” (ESV)

Jesus refused and told the devil, “Be gone, Satan! For it is written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God and him only shall you serve.'” (ESV)

For the finial temptation, the devil promised to give Jesus earthly power and wealth.  Once again, Jesus resisted temptation and rejected the offer.

The temptation of riches, fame, and power is a hard one for most people.  All through out history, mankind (as individuals and as nations) have committed horrible acts to claim power over others or take riches from them.

We also have a tendency to place power and wealth as the priority of our lives.  People will ignore family obligations to make more money, only to find their family is gone when they finally reach their goals.

Money is used to justify treating employees badly or cheating customers.  The love of money can lead us into disastrous situations.

To resist such a powerful temptation, we need to have our priorities right.  We should seek to worship and serve God, and not power or wealth.

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