Text: Matthew 4:1-11
Event(s): Jesus is tempted by satan in the wilderness
Matthew 4:3 God does not cause temptation (James 1:13), but does allow us to be tempted. It is not meant to set us up for failure, or to cause us to sin. It is meant to present an opportunity where we learn how to access His grace and experience what it is like to conquer the temptation or overcome the testing.
Matthew 4:4 Jesus faced satan as a man, not as God. He used the same resources to defeat him that have been made available to us, namely an intimate relationship with the Father, the word of God and the power of the Holy Spirit. We must never come into agreement with the lie that we cannot overcome whatever testing or temptation we may be facing. Everything we need to win is at our disposal, we just have to learn how to access it.
Matthew 4:3, 6, 9 All sin and temptation boils down three categories: the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes and the pride of life (1 John 2:16). These were the same three temptations satan used in the garden of Eden when he tempted Eve. They were packaged differently, but they were the same, nonetheless. Today, any temptation or sin can be traced back to one of these three: the lust of the flesh (the desire to do something apart from God’s will); the lust of the eyes (the desire to have something apart from God’s will) and the pride of life (the desire to be something apart from God’s will). The enemy’s aim with any temptation is to remove our dependence and submission to God.
Today’s takeaway: We often think of testing through the filter of potential failure, but God allows testing for promotion. Think of it – just as a teacher wouldn’t test a student on material he/she has not been taught, in the same way, God will not allow us to be tested beyond what He has already taught us or what we are able to bear. If He is allowing it, that means that He’s already deposited within us what we need to pass. When are students tested in a classroom? When the material has been mastered and they’re ready to move on to the next subject or even, the next grade. Next time you feel the pressure or tension of a test, consider that maybe you are being given the opportunity for strengthening and promotion. You’re being given the opportunity to conquer, not fail.
Additional (optional) reading: Parallel passages of the temptation of Jesus: Mark 1:12-13 and Luke 4:1-13