Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. 2 After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry.3 The tempter came to him and said, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.” 4 Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’” 5 Then the devil took him to the holy city and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. 6 “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.’” 7 Jesus answered him, “It is also written: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’” 8 Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. 9 “All this I will give you,” he said, “if you will bow down and worship me.” 10 Jesus said to him, “Away from me, Satan! For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.’” 11 Then the devil left him, and angels came and attended him.
As we met today for our prayer time, I was led to read the preceding passage. It speaks of a time when Jesus had just finished fasting and praying for forty days and nights. The Scripture says that the tempter came to him and tempted Him three times. Each time the Lord used the powerful Word of God to combat this season of testing. I am reminded that temptation and sin are not the same. Everyone is tempted, even Jesus. Temptation begins in our minds. It then tries to lodge itself in a continual loop to get us to dwell on it. Then when the tempter is successful at getting us to dwell on that temptation, we are then set up to say, “Yes!” to that temptation. Then a major foothold gets in our lives and when it is not dealt with and confessed, can lead to more sin which will eventually harden our heart to the things of God.
Jesus cut it off at the first stage where the enemy wanted Him to ponder the half truth presented. Jesus’ relationship with the Father was always on His mind. Any attempt at the father of lies to suggest anything else was rejected immediately. We should take note and not allow anything to overcome our thought life that does not make it through the filter of the Holy Spirit. Believe me, there are plenty of opportunities throughout the day to fall to such a demise.
When a given temptation results in a string of defeats, our lives become ineffective and unproductive. On the other hand, consistent victories translate into a life of power and productivity in the Spirit. That sounds like a revival waiting to happen.
Take heart… You are victorious in the Name of Jesus! He will provide the strength needed when tempted:
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 10:13
Here is the formula to use when tempted:
Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.
I am looking forward to a great day on Sunday.
Joy in Jesus!
Rev. Mike McClurg
Senior Pastor, Findlay First Church of the Nazarene