Preparation for Temptation. . .

This study helps us prepare for the temptations that we will have in this world. I pray that it encourages you to action.

The first temptation of Jesus in the wilderness challenged His identity as The Son of God. Satan used the famed word “if” when he said: “if you are this, than you can do this.” Jesus was hungry, as he had been in the wilderness fasting for the past 40 days, and the deceiver sought to monopolize on this aspect of His humanity. He tells him there is no need for you, with the divine power that you possess, to go through with what you are doing. It is as if he is saying: “You don’t have to be hungry when you have the ability to satisfy your need.”

Jesus was there for a purpose. The text clearly says at the beginning of this chapter that Jesus was led out into the wilderness for the purpose of being tempted.  We read in Matthew 4:1 – “Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil.” This temptation was not a surprise to Him, He went there to go through it. He was prepared to enter this arena with His adversary. After the first blow was struck by the deceiver, Jesus responds with Scripture. I use the word deceiver for a reason. A good deceiver uses a little truth interspersed with non-truth. Jesus poignantly responds in verse 4 by quoting Deuteronomy 8:3: “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’ ” In the Greek we see a strong contrastive that is translated “but” in “but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.” The text represents a very strong contrast between living in the physical world and living on God’s truth.

What I find the most interesting about this first temptation is the plain and simple fact that there is no more dialogue about this temptation. The text does not record the adversary coming back with another word furthering dialogue to meet his end goal of tempting Jesus. There is nothing, zilch, notta. The next thing Matthew records is a second temptation. That sparring match was met with a Scriptural choke. The deceiver tapped out when faced with correctly applied Scripture and the truth contained within it.

Spiritual disciplines are things that we all must develop here in this life. We were made to exist in a world that is far different from we live in today. It takes time to be prepared for these battles and discipline is needed by all of us. Richard F. Lovelace well spoke when he said: “It takes time, and the penetration of truth, to make a mature saint.”

Jesus was prepared to fight temptation with truth. We must first seek truth in the Scriptures. We are to study this truth until it permeates our being, and respond to our temptations with it. King David was right was he asked The Lord to search his heart, and reveal what needed to be revealed.  He was training himself to be better and better at defense against the deceiver.

We don’t physically see the adversary roaming the streets of our world, but we see his work in the distortion of what is right and wrong. We see the lack of truth being woven into the fabric of truth all around us. It’s here every day. Let us humbly represent effective truth in a dark and dying world.

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Thanks,

Marc

Matthew 4:4b – “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’ “

4 thoughts on “Preparation for Temptation. . .”

  1. This passage also reveals the importance of understanding Scripture in its context, as Satan quotes Ps 91:11-12 in the second temptation. Interestingly, he omits the verse 13.

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  2. Marc,
    Good word brother! Oddly enough, I am preaching this week on the Temptation account in Luke 4 at my church. Your words are timely and encouraging.
    ~Ray

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  3. Marc, this is so true of the spiritual warfare that the Great Deceiver has been waging against the truth of God and Christ for centuries. The specks of true that are mixed into the recipe of lies is Satan’s plan to turn us slowly and inexorably away from God.

    I heard an analogy once called “the BS in the brownie.” If someone offered you the absolutely most delicious brownie you’d ever had, it would be nearly impossible to resist and no doubt you would gobble it down, even if it contained the tiniest speck of pure BS. Why, the minute speck of BS would be undetectable by your taste buds, which would be overwhelmed by the indescribably delicious chocolate. And if someone surreptitiously added another tiny speck of BS each time you accepted the next brownie, chances are you would continue to gobble the next, and the next and the next until eventually, you found yourself consuming pure BS, all the while tasting, in your mind, the most awesome brownie ever made.

    We are being slowly and inexorably desensitized by the gradual poisoning of what we see, hear and are presented with as the truth until we unknowingly accept it as the truth. Only with the constant guidance of God’s word can we filter out the BS and discover the one, the only, the real truth.

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  4. This is a powerful text. It shows how the deceiver can use slight truth to lure the believer to think twice. It’s like the first miracle of Jesus turning water into wine but he did not drink it. Paul also told Timothy to drink it for his sickness.

    Dewayne Richardson

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