Mathew 4:1-11- Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. 2 After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry………
Every human being since Adam is born physically alive yet spiritually dead. Our thought patterns and habits are formed around our selfish priorities and desires. When we are born again, we become spiritually alive and see our dual natures of the flesh and the Spirit in conflict with each other. The flesh, having not been redeemed yet, is prone to temptation. Now, temptation is the enticement to meet legitimate humans needs without God. The Bible speaks of our struggle against the world, the flesh and the devil. The devil, cunning being that he is, does not seduce us to do obvious sins. He entices us to push something good beyond the boundary of God’s will until it becomes sin.
Adam, who was placed in paradise, was called to be with God, under God, for God, in God but never to be apart from God. The temptation he faced was to live a life outside of what he was called to live and he fell to it. In 1 John 2:15-17, Scripture teaches three channels of temptation: lust of the flesh (physical appetite and its gratification), lust of the eyes (self-interest and testing the word of God), and the pride of life (self-promotion and exaltation). The first and second Adams faced these temptations. Adam failed miserably and we still experience the consequences! The second Adam, Jesus Christ, succeeded triumphantly thus giving us the ability to experience victory and freedom!
In Matthew 4:1-11, we read how Jesus faced and overcame temptation. From the high point of His baptism, Jesus was led into the desert of temptation. The first is the temptation to feed ourselves, the second is the temptation to lead ourselves, the third is the temptation guide ourselves and to flee from suffering.
The first temptation (vv.3-4) started with a questioning of His relationship with God – “if you are the Son of God …” It brought focus on a material need – “… command the stone to become bread.” The devil offered Adam food and he took it. Temptation is the same then and now. The devil is bereft of new ideas and the problem of humanity remains the same everywhere – one of sin.
Jesus’ response made it very clear that following God’s principles was of greater importance than following one’s appetite. Yes, we are physical creatures with sometimes overpowering physical needs. But, we need to be obedient to the Lord. No matter what the body is crying for, God’s Word must always be obeyed.
The second temptation (vv.5-7) was an invitation to a sensational experience of fame with no suffering involved. The devil even quoted scripture out of context while leaving out a key detail. God’s promise of protection in Psalm 91:10-11 was available only to the one who had made the LORD his refuge and dwelling place as recorded in verse 9.
Jesus responded by quoting Deuteronomy 6:16 that God was not to be tested. God’s will was paramount and something He will not violate at any cost.
In the third temptation (vv.8-10), the devil offered Jesus a shortcut to His kingdom. If He were to worship Satan just once, He could enjoy all glory without any suffering. Satan has always sought to be worshiped because He has always wanted to be God. Every temptation is then a choice to worship creation than the Creator Himself. There are no shortcuts to the will of God. If we want to share in glory, we must also share in suffering. Jesus quoting from Deuteronomy 6:13 declared that only the Lord our God was to be worshiped and that He alone was to be served. Satan had said nothing about service, but Jesus knew that what we worship, that we will serve. Jesus did the Father’s will in the Father’s way and we see how this resulted in glory (cf. Philippians 2:6-11)!
Every temptation is thus a choice to obey either God or the devil. God’s will is revealed in His Word and we must familiarize ourselves with His will. God demands our obedience, loyalty and commitment.