April 2 I Tuesday
“For we do not have a high priest who is unable to feel sympathy for our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet He did not sin.” —Hebrews 4:15
Someone once said that sin or temptation will take you further than you ever wanted to go, cost you more than you ever wanted to pay, and keep you longer than you ever wanted to stay. Temptation is usually very attractive in its appeal and is not superficial in nature. In the life of Jesus on earth, He was subjected to all the temptations we are, yet He did not sin. How did He overcome?
We must first understand that Scripture is very clear about temptation never originating from God. James 1:13 says, “When tempted, no one should say, ‘God is tempting me.’ For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He tempt anyone.” It is Satan who is the tempter and our accuser. While God is never the initiator of temptation, He does occasionally give permission for Satan to attack and lead us into situations where we are exposed to temptation in our most vulnerable areas so that our faith may be tested.
The first assignment of Jesus’s ministry was not to preach the Sermon on the Mount or feed a massive crowd or heal anyone. Matthew 4:1 tells us, “Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil.” Both God and the devil had their objectives. The devil’s intent was to tempt Jesus in order to weaken and disqualify Him for the ministry that lay ahead. God’s intent was to test Him, and thereby strengthen, equip and qualify Him. The devil’s purpose was entirely negative and destructive, while God’s purpose was positive and constructive. It is important we recognize this, because the very things the devil would destroy us with, God will build us with. That is why, as odd as it seems, the devil will sometimes do us good in preparing us for God’s work.
No matter how old we are, we do not grow out of being tempted, but we can certainly turn the tables on our tempter by knowing Scripture. Forty days in the wilderness and at His most vulnerable, Jesus withstood Satan by quoting and trusting the word of God. God’s Word not only has a cleansing power, but a preventative power. It helps us understand how the mind of God conflicts with the devil’s temptations so that we can be prepared in advance. In Jesus, we have a high priest who sympathizes, and rather than focusing on the temptation, we need to focus on the testing. As we draw on the resources of Christ, He provides us with the strength and ability to handle temptation and succeed in our testing.
Prayer: Father God, help me to become much more familiar with Your Word, and when faced with temptation, depend on the resources I have in Jesus. Thank You, Lord.