Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. (Matthew 4:1)
Yesterday we talked about the importance of expecting temptation. So today, let’s continue our conversation on temptation and understand that after we expect temptation, we should detect temptation and then reject temptation.
Jesus shows us how to detect temptation before it happens, because all temptation basically boils down to three things. Satan tempted Jesus in three different ways, and it is these same three ways he tempts us. He tempts us physically, spiritually, and emotionally. Therefore, we have to be ready to face any and all of these types of temptations if we’re going to keep from sinning.
In order to be ready, we must prepare ourselves spiritually so we can detect temptation. That means spending time in the Word, spending time in prayer, and spending time in community with other believers. When we do these things, we learn how to better detect temptation when it arises, and as a result, learn how to withstand it.
Remember, temptation is powerless against truth. Temptation is always based on a lie. Here is the lie. Temptation will tell you that sin feels good, and it does, but then temptation will also tell you can get away with it, but you can’t. Every time you are tempted one of two things is going to happen. You will either submit to what your eyes see and your ears hear and your heart feels or you will follow the truth of God’s Word you know in your mind. Here is the key. If your gun isn’t filled with the bullets of God’s Word, if your sheath doesn’t hold the sword of God’s Word, you have no hope to defeat temptation.
Let me ask you a simple question, “If Jesus Christ, the Son of God, would not face the devil and temptation without a profound knowledge of the Bible in His mind and filling His heart, how are you going to try to do it any other way?” The best preventive medicine you will ever take against temptation is to read God’s Word and heed God’s Word. Listen carefully. For every temptation the devil brings into your life there is a word from God that counteracts it. Jesus didn’t argue with the devil. He didn’t negotiate or debate with the devil. He didn’t use any magic formulas or magic words. He simply used God’s Word.
Dear Lord, thank you for the gift of your word and for the weapon it is to fight against temptation. Remind me of your truth when I’m tempted to believe the lies of the enemy so that I might overcome any temptation that comes my way. In Jesus’ name, amen.