One of the great spiritual conflicts a believer faces is temptation. Thankfully, the Scriptures record the temptations of Christ and how he conquered them. When a believer faces temptation, he must realize that temptation always begins with deceit. Lies like, “no one will know”, or “everyone else is doing it”, or “it won’t hurt to try it just one time” or “you deserve it” or “you will have so much pleasure if you do” are planted in the mind to encourage one to yield to temptation. Can these spiritual battles be won when the temptation seems so strong?
Matthew 4:1-11 (KJV)
1 Then was Jesus led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil.
2 And when he had fasted forty days and forty nights, he was afterward an hungred.
3 And when the tempter came to him, he said, If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread.
4 But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.
5 Then the devil taketh him up into the holy city, and setteth him on a pinnacle of the temple,
6 And saith unto him, If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down: for it is written, He shall give his angels charge concerning thee: and in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone.
7 Jesus said unto him, It is written again, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God.
8 Again, the devil taketh him up into an exceeding high mountain, and sheweth him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them;
9 And saith unto him, All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me.
10 Then saith Jesus unto him, Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.
11 Then the devil leaveth him, and, behold, angels came and ministered unto him.
It is interesting that Christ had just finished fasting 40 days and night, and the enemy came to him. The three temptations appealed to the flesh, the eyes, and the pride of life. Yet, Christ overcame each one with a powerful tool – The Word of God.
In vv. 4, 7, and 10 we find Christ picking up the tool of the Word of God when He said “It is written”.
It is interesting, that Christ quoted a verse that elevated the spiritual over the physical to defeat the flesh (v. 4). He used a verse that was on the offensive – “Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God (v. 7). Finally, he used a verse pointing to a believer’s responsibility to only worship God. I learn that temptation magnifies the physical and minimizes the spiritual. I learn that temptation misapplies Scripture and tempts with pride what we can do on our own, Finally, I learn that temptation attacks worship of God with worship of self. May God give us an awareness and the ability to see through temptation and the end thereof.
Oh, that we would have quick answers from Scripture like Christ did in the midst of temptation. This requires daily work in memorizing and meditating on Scripture.
Notice though the enemy is persistent, the power of God’s Word caused the devil to leave. In our church this year, we are working to memorize Romans 6. What a powerful tool to use against temptation! Below are a few verses from Romans 6, that are great tools for the believer to have access to in the moment of temptation.
Romans 6:1-2 (KJV)
1 What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound?
2 God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?
Romans 6:6-7 (KJV)
6 Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin.
7 For he that is dead is freed from sin.
Romans 6:12-13 (KJV)
12 Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof.
13 Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God.
There is much more in Scripture that can help us overcome temptation like Christ did. Have you been living defeated in the midst of spiritual warfare regarding temptation? Commit yourself to Scripture meditation and memorization. Today, pick up the tool of God’s Word and overcome temptation! Victory is possible. Yea, it is a matter of using the right tool.
Psalm 119:11 (KJV)
11 Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.