We know that we will be tempted to sin on a daily basis. That is a fact of the sinful, fleshly nature that we possess as well as the world in which we live.
It is a blessing to know that we do not have to live a life of defeat in the face of temptation. I am convinced that Satan defeats many Christians with a sense of pseudo-guilt over the fact of temptation itself. It is not necessary to feel this way. The sin is in the yielding, not in the temptation.
Yesterday we saw two examples of biblical figures dealing with tempation. Since Eve was such a colossal failure in this, we will rather focus upon Jesus and His method of dealing with the temptations that Satan brought before Him.
There are three elements in the answers of Christ that would indicate that we can be victorious on a consistent and even continual basis. I am not speaking of the eradication of the fleshly nature. What I am referring to is the ongoing choice to rely on the power of Christ rather than our own strength.
The first element of victory is the Word of God. In each temptation, Jesus used the Scriptures to combat the statements of the devil. As I mentioned in the previous post, we cannot afford to “dialogue” with evil. Even our Savior stood solely on the Word. His first answer, however, speaks directly to the importance of the Word in overcoming the tempations of the flesh.
And Jesus answered him, saying, It is written, That man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God. Luke 4:4
This reveals to us the conflict between spiritual and fleshly natures. The flesh feeds upon its own lusts to the detriment of the spiritual. Jesus places importance upon the Word for feeding the spiritual. It is through the Scripture that we find the path by which we can “walk in the Spirit” and not fulfill the lusts of the flesh.
The second element is Worship of God. Satan presented a tempting sight to the eyes of Jesus, the kingdoms of the world. He promised these to Jesus if He would only worship him. Jesus responded:
Get thee behind me Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve. Luke 4:8
Worship has much to do with focus. It is with the eyes of the spirit that our attention is drawn to God. If Satan can draw our attention onto the things of this world, he can divert our worship from God to materialistic idols. The old hymn comes to mind:
Turn your eyes upon Jesus,
Look full in His wonderful face,
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim
In the light of His glory and grace.
Are you having trouble battling the temptations of the lusts of the eyes? Start focusing upon Jesus and you will find strength.
As a side note, what Satan offered was a lie–Jesus was already promised the kingdom of this world by His Father. Satan can offer us nothing that compares to what we have in Christ.
The final element of victory is Fear of God. When Satan tried to tempt Jesus to frivolously use divine power to simply have a wonderful experience, Jesus replied thusly:
It is said, thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God. Luke 4:12b
We must never take the grace of God lightly. As one who believes in the eternal security of the believer I am sometimes asked, “Does that mean I can do anything I want and still be saved?” I believe that a person who is truly converted will desire to be obedient to God. Romans 6:1-2 provides a strict prohibition against sinning and assuming that God will overlook it in grace. We must live in the recognition that God is holy. He loves His children and He will not allow them to live in sin without chastising them.
As God’s children, we are to live a life that is reflective of the grace of God. We know that it is possible to do so because “Greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world.” I John 4:4
I pray that you have a blessed and victorious weekend.