Reflections on my reading from Matthew 4 in the One Year New Testament.
Being Tempted is NOT a Sin
Jesus was tempted and the Bible is very clear that he never sinned. The fact that Jesus was led by the Spirit into the desert to be tempted is significant. This proves that, though God does not tempt us, he can allow temptation to come into our lives to strengthen us. Jesus was led into the desert right before his ministry. Often we are led through the desert before God leads us to a time of fruitfulness.
Often temptation comes when we are:
Jesus was hungry from a 40 day fast, lonely as the wild beasts were his only companions and tired from the heat. Like a lion who preys on the weakest gazelle, the devil knew that if he was going to get him he had to wait until Jesus was at his weakest. That’s why Peter warns us:
“Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour.” 1 Peter 5:8
We should HALT and be on guard when we realize we are weak physically or emotionally so we don’t fall into temptation.
Use Your Sword
Three times when tempted, Jesus used scripture (all from Deuteronomy) to fight temptation.
“But Jesus told him, “No! The Scriptures say, ‘People do not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’” Matthew 4:4
God’s word was Jesus’ offensive and defensive weapon against the devil’s schemes. Paul instructs us to,
“take the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.” Ephesians 6:17
Jesus specifically used verses that he had memorized. Personally, nothing in my life has helped me fight temptation more than the verses I have memorized. Think about it, when was the last time you were tempted when you had your Bible open?
Don’t go to battle unarmed! Bring Your Sword.
“So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus.” Romans 8:1
One of Satan’s tricks is to get you to feel guilty for being tempted. Being tempted is not a sin. Giving in to the temptation is a sin. Jesus was tempted in all kinds of ways, and you will be too. Here’s a comforting verse to leave you with.
“This High Priest of ours [That’s Jesus!] understands our weaknesses, for he faced all of the same testings we do, yet he did not sin.” Hebrews 4:15