How to Deal with Temptation
How to Deal with Temptation
Satan Uses Three Avenues!
Today we’ll look at how to deal with temptation. We’ll focus on the temptation of Jesus and how Satan used the same methods he used in the Garden of Eden to temp Jesus. How did Jesus handle the same kind of temptations that caused Adam and Eve to fall into sin?
Satan uses three avenues of temptations which are:
- The lusts of the flesh.
- The lusts of the eyes.
- The pride of life.
Has God Said?
The thing to remember is that temptations always start with questioning God’s Word. Satan’s temptations always begin with challenging us to question God’s Word. Notice though in the garden of Eden that once Eve fell into Satan’s trap and questioned God’s Word that her own carnal nature began to take charge. Satan never told Eve that the tree was good for food or a delight to the eyes or that it would bring wisdom. Satan only told her that she would not die and that she would be “like God”. This is how the adversary works. If he can get us to question God’s Word then our own carnal nature will certainly take care of the rest.
Genesis 3:1-7 “Now the serpent was more crafty than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. And he said to the woman, ‘Indeed, has God said, “You shall not eat from any tree of the garden”?’ 2 The woman said to the serpent, ‘From the fruit of the trees of the garden we may eat; 3 but from the fruit of the tree which is in the middle of the garden, God has said, “You shall not eat from it or touch it, or you will die.”’ 4 The serpent said to the woman, ‘You surely will not die! 5 For God knows that in the day you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.’ 6 When the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was desirable to make one wise, she took from its fruit and ate; and she gave also to her husband with her, and he ate. 7 Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loin coverings.”
Matthew 4:1-11 “Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. 2 And after He had fasted forty days and forty nights, He then became hungry. 3 And the tempter came and said to Him, ‘If You are the Son of God, command that these stones become bread.’ 4 But He answered and said, ‘It is written, “Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God.”’
5 Then the devil *took Him into the holy city and had Him stand on the pinnacle of the temple,6 *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, So that You will not strike Your foot against a stone.”’ 7 Jesus said to him, ‘On the other hand, it is written, “You shall 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 glory; 9 and he said to Him, ‘All these things I will give You, if You fall down and worship me.’ 10 Then Jesus *said to him, ‘Go, Satan! For it is written, “You shall worship the Lord your God, and serve Him only.”’ 11 Then the devil *left Him; and behold, angels came and began to minister to Him.”
Use God’s Word, Don’t Question it!
Jesus, on the other hand, demonstrated a complete trust in God’s Word taking every thought captive to God. After fasting in the wilderness for forty days He would have been extremely hungry. His carnal nature would have been aching for nourishment. His human side was at it’s weakest when Satan came to tempt Him. Jesus was the “Son of God” and God had validated this (Matthew 3:17) so that is where Satan began the attack on Jesus.
First, Satan called into question God’s Word; “If you are the Son of God”. Then Satan appealed to the lust of the flesh, “turn these stones into bread.” Jesus, simply responded with God’s Word. ‘It is written, “Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God.”’ (Deuteronomy 8:3).
Second, Satan again called into question God’s Word; “If you are the Son of God”. Then Satan appealed to the lust of the eyes, “throw Yourself down; for it is written, ‘He will command His angels concerning You; and On their hands they will bear You up, So that You will not strike Your foot against a stone.’” But this time Satan used scripture to tempt Jesus (Psalm 91:11-12). Surely Jesus would see that God’s Word clearly said that God would not allow Jesus to be harmed. But Jesus, again responded with God’s Word. But He responded with God’s Word “in context” rather than scriptural reference perverted by the deception of Satan. Jesus said to him, “On the other hand, it is written, ‘You shall not put the Lord your God to the test’” (Deuteronomy 6:16).
Finally, Satan tried the same trick he used on Eve. Satan offered something that was not his to give. While Satan is the “god of this world” and “the prince of the power of the air”, no part of God’s creation actually belongs to Satan. This time Satan appeal to Jesus with the pride of life. He took Jesus up on a mount and showed Him the kingdoms of the world and said ‘All these things I will give You, if You fall down and worship me.’ This time Jesus exercised authority in using God’s Word. He said “Go, Satan! For it is written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God, and serve Him only.’” (Deuteronomy 6:13).
When we are faced with temptation as Christians we must always recognize carnal rationalization that results from questioning God’s Word as the danger zone. One key thing to remember is that it’s not just questioning God’s Word with regard to things that He tells us not to do. Satan will also use the same tactic when God has told us to do something and we can rationalize why we should not what God has called us to do. Remember that our war is a spiritual one and that Satan’s goal is to to drag us out of the power of God’s Spirit into the realm of our own carnal desires.
There is a simple response that will allow us to recognize and respond to temptation with God’s Word. When we begin to consider something in our lives we must insure that we are focused on God, through His Word in the power of the Holy Spirit. One sure sign of falling prey to the temptation of Satan is rationalization. Almost always that is a sign that we have descended into the realm of carnality so we must take every single thought captive to Christ Jesus.
II Corinthians 10:3-6 “For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh,for the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses. We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ, and we are ready to punish all disobedience, whenever your obedience is complete.
The simple thought of “What would Jesus do?” goes a long way toward pleasing God and rebuffing the temptations of the adversary. James 4:7 tells us “Submit therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.” This is what Jesus did and He experienced victory in God and so can we!
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