As we studied about the life of Jesus Christ, the temptation of Jesus, after His baptism and before His public ministry, drew my attention. This paper will expand on a few points. First, the reason and focus of the temptation. Second, a personal application of it in my life. God had a specific purpose and plan for allowing Jesus to go through this temptation and for recording it for us. May God instruct, teach, and enlighten us, a little more, through this paper.
The temptation of Jesus is recorded both in Matthew and Luke chapter 4. We see that after His glorious baptism, God speaks in a loud voice, “Thou art my beloved Son; in thee I am well pleased.” Luke 3:22 Can you imagine this scene? It would be a moment I would never forget. I live to hear Jesus tell me that He is pleased with me, His child and humble servant.
After this awesome and miraculous moment, Jesus fasts for forty days, in a desert which is a hard and unpleasant place to be. Can you imagine how weak He was not eating a thing for forty days? Imagine the physical struggle He had. He not only did not eat during those days but He was also in an environment of extreme temperatures and harsh ground. It was not a place of comfort and ease, it was a suffering place. We say many times that we go through times in the desert, times of suffering and pain. Whether it be by people, our environment, or internal loneliness and fleshly battles with the Spirit in us. Jesus went through both types of deserts, a physical desert and a spiritual one and it was for a long period of time.
Now, all of this was taking place and then Satan comes along to try to tempt Jesus to sin and to try to destroy God’s whole plan of redemption and eternal life for all man kind. What a moment. I believe this is the first of Jesus’ darkest and most painful moments of His earthy life. Sometimes I feel like I am the only one going through certain suffering and pain but there is always someone else going through something similar or worse. Better yet to know, is that Jesus, the Son of God, went through suffering too. He understands, He goes through it with us, and most importantly, He gives us all the power and authority to have victory and strength in it. There are certain things we can only learn and grow through suffering.
In what points was Jesus tempted with? It is recorded for us, three temptations. The first temptation was to tempt Him to do something for Himself, His physical need of food. Satan attacks the Word of God and tries to also create doubt by saying, “If thou be the Son of God,” in Luke 4:3. How many times do we see Satan attacking our mind and heart by creating doubt about God’s Truth, the only truth that can set us free? He makes us doubt what God said, just like He did with Eve in the garden. He did it back then, he did it with Jesus and he does it with us. He attacks by using the lust of the flesh. It’s an old trick that unfortunately, we are still falling for. The second temptation recorded is Satan trying to tempt Jesus in not doing something for you and for me, which is to go to the cross and give us eternal life with Him and restore our fellowship with Him. He tempts Jesus spiritually, trying to attack and destroy the will of God being accomplished. He tempts Him with the sin of the pride of life. The third and final temptation recorded is in tempting Jesus in letting Satan himself do something for Him. He offers Jesus another plan, vocation, or life for Him. He offers Jesus an opportunity to worship and live for Satan and to deny God. Satan uses the lust of the eyes. Do you see that Satan used all the things that we are tempted with, with Jesus. We can never say that Jesus does not understand when we fall into temptation because He does understand and was tempted in all the same ways we are. We are tempted with the lust of the flesh, the lust of eyes, and the pride of life. Jesus was tempted in all these areas but did not sin.
Is there a way to not fall into temptation? The Bible says, “There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.” I Cor. 10:13. The Bible also says, “ Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” God promises to not allow any temptation in our lives that we can’t escape from. He has a solution for everyone just like Jesus did when He was tempted. Romans 6:11-14 is one of those solutions. “ Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord. Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof. 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. For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace.”
Here is a personal application and testimony of what happened to me when I learned and am learning to put and experience Romans 6:11-14 in my life. Satan knows where and when we are weak. He knows exactly what to use to tempt us and exactly where to target. For me, he used a person that caused me to react and sin by that persons sin and attitude. I kept failing to not react to this person and to allow that persons emotions and words affect me and cause me to sin and not act like Christ. So, finally I realized that a verse I knew by heart was not being put in practice. I didn’t understand how to until recently. I godly counselor that understood and was putting in practice Romans 6:11-14 showed me how and let me decide to do it and experience it for myself. The next time I saw that person and knew that that person would say or do something to make me act wrong, I quoted in my head Romans 6:11 enough times to believe it and by believing it to be true, I did not react but remained calm and Christ acted through me. This process happened multiple times and it truly worked. All I did was confess, surrendered, meditated, believed, and obeyed. The result was “ sin shall not have dominion over you” Romans 6:14 a God’s Word is so powerful and life changing. God’s truth, without a doubt, sets us free from sin. May we all experience it in our lives today.