LESSONS FROM JESUS’ TEMPTATION – 1
Immediately following His baptism Jesus was led by the Holy Spirit, the ‘dove’ who had just descended on Him, into the desert (Matthew 4:1). He needed time to focus on what was about to come, to strengthen His spirit and commitment. He needed time alone with His Father, something that would happen time after time during His earthly life. After 40 days of fasting and praying Jesus was tempted by Satan. Whether He waited because God restrained him or because he wanted to hit Jesus when He was weakest is unknown. Satan, who had been opposing God’s plan of redemption from the beginning (Genesis 3:14-15), now focuses his attacks on Jesus.
LESSON FOR TODAY 1: Note that Jesus was in the perfect center of God’s will when He was tempted, for God Himself led Him to the desert (Matthew 4:1). Being tempted to sin does not mean we are out of God’s will or not following closely to Him. Often the opposite is true, like with Jesus. It is because we are following God closely that we are attacked the hardest. Be aware so you aren’t taken by surprise. Don’t think it is a bad sign that you are tempted. Being attacked is actually a good sign for Satan only attacks those who are doing damage to his kingdom. When you aren’t being attacked is the time to make sure you haven’t drifted from the conflict (Luke 6:26).
LESSON FOR TODAY 2: Note that Satan attacks immediately, as soon as Jesus commits to doing God’s will by being baptized. For us, too, the attacks come when we move in the direction of following God. When we are not as close to God, Satan and his forces leave us alone, but when our devotion increases so do the enemy’s attacks. We soon discover that when we fade a bit in our walk with the Lord then the pressure decreases, tempting us to follow God, but not quite so closely!
LESSON FOR TODAY 3: Notice, too, that this battle with Satan was God’s perfect will for Jesus. “Jesus was led by the Spirit into the desert to be tempted by the devil” (Matthew 4:1). God does not prevent our battles, no matter how hard we pray for that to happen, but He does help us through them. So it is better to focus on fighting them in His strength than looking for ways to avoid them. They are part of God’s will for us because they strength us and show us that His grace is sufficient, as was true of the Jews fighting for the Promised Land behind Joshua’s leadership.
LESSON FOR TODAY 4: The place where Jesus was sent by God to fast, pray and battle Satan was the “desert,” considered the abode of demons (Matthew 12:43). Sometimes God leads us into strongholds of Satan’s so we can do battle for Him, knowing we can experience have victory through His power (I John 4:4). We aren’t to run from such encounters but face them with His strength.
LESSON FOR TODAY 5: Fasting can be a useful tool in spiritual warfare, not because our suffering earns God’s pity so He is more apt to answer our prayers, but because it is a way of denying our flesh and putting spiritual things before personal needs. It clears our mind and helps us focus on the battle at hand. Hunger reminds us of our weakness, our need of His strength and it reminds us to pray. It frees up more time to spend in prayer as well. We must be sure God wants us to fast before we do so, and we must use wisdom in what kind of a fast it is and how long it lasts, but it is a weapon we should make us of. Jesus used it often.
LESSON FOR TODAY 6: Jesus faced these human temptations as a man just like us. He did not rely on His deity to make it through. He was attacked just as Adam had been, but unlike Adam He did not sin and therefore He won back what Adam lost (Romans 5:12-21). We, too, can have victory through God’s power, just as Jesus did. The same resouce is available to us!
Being tempted doesn’t mean you are out of God’s will. Think of a time you were faithfully following Jesus but were tempted anyway? Is there anything anyone can do to assure they won’t ever be tempted again?
INDIA UPDATE & PRAYER REQUEST: Almost since the beginning of our work in India we have been supplementing 20 to 25 key pastors with $25 a month. When their average income is $50 a month, you can see how helpful this is for their needs. The money also enables them to travel to start churches, train other men for ministry and reach out in many different ways. Thanks to those of you who have been faithfully supporting these important men. For security reasons I can’t share names, locations or picture, but I can share their deep appreciation. You can’t be in India in person, but you can enable someone already there to have a fuller, more fruitful ministry because of your giving! If anyone wants to commit to $25 a month to support a pastor let me know. Thanks so much!
cto Rev. Dr. JERRY SCHMOYER
Christian Training Organization
(India Outreach, Spiritual Warfare, Family Ministries, Counseling, World View)
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