The Temptation of Jesus
We all know the scene, a person standing there trying to make the decision and on one shoulder stands the guy in the red suit and on the other stands the guy in the white suit. They both whisper in your ear on the benefits of doing it the way they want you to do it and in the end we have to make the decision. But is that how it really goes? Well maybe. Let’s take a look at some Scripture;
At that time, Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. And He fasted forty days and forty nights, and afterward He was hungry. And the tempter came and said to Him, “If you are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread.” But He answered, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.'” Then the devil took Him to the holy city, and set Him on the pinnacle of the temple, and said to Him, “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down; for it is written, ‘He will give His angels charge of you,’ and ‘On their hands they will bear you up, lest you strike your foot against a stone.'” Jesus said to him, “Again, it is written, ‘You shall not tempt the Lord your God.'” Again, the devil took Him to a very high mountain, and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and the glory of them; and he said to Him, “All these I will give you, if you will fall down and worship me.” Then Jesus said to him, “Be gone, Satan! for it is written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God and Him only shall you serve.'” Then the devil left Him, and behold, angels came and ministered to Him. (Matthew 4:1-11)
There are a few observations here;
1. Temptation comes when we are at our weakest. Scripture tells us that Jesus had been in the desert for 40 days fasting when the tempter came to Him. The tempter did not come on day one or even day 35 but on day 40. This way the point that physically Jesus was at his weakest.
2. The tempter quoted Scripture. One of the things we need to always keep in mind is that the evil one knows Scripture in many ways better than we do and can twist it to his purpose.
3. Jesus resists His tempter with the Word of God. Jesus did not try to be cleaver and use His own words, no Jesus used the very Words of His Father to fight off His tempter and in the end we see that not only sis the tempter leave Him but the Angels came and ministered to Him.
How then are we to deal with temptation when it comes our way?
Brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we are not contending against flesh and blood, but against the principalities, against the powers, against the world rulers of this present darkness, against the spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore take the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand, therefore, having girded your loins with truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the equipment of the gospel of peace; besides all these, taking the shield of faith, with which you can quench all the flaming darts of the evil one. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. (Ephesians 6:10-17)
St. Paul, writing to the Ephesians, reminds them that to fight temptation they need to put on the whole armor of God. To be strong in the Lord and the strength of his might. Paul uses the imagery of the warrior getting set for battle because that is exactly what it is a battle.
One of the problems with modern society is we have reduced the works of evil to nothing. Not only does sin not exists but the evil one does not exist. Sin does exist and yes, the evil one exists and he will stop at nothing to get you to follow Him. If he was willing to tempt the Son of God do you think he would not come after you?
We need to be prepared to face the evil one head on and if we follow the guidance of St. Paul we will be just fine. We cannot do it alone but if we “put on the whole armor of God” we will be able to send him fleeing away from us.
The evil ones in many different disguises and he is a wily one. We defeat him with prayer, fasting, reading Scripture, and attending the Divine Services. We cannot do it alone, but with Christ all things are possible.
What tempts you?
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