August 19, 2022
What’s your first response when you’re hit with temptation?
An impulse to back away from your testimony…to fudge the truth…to spread a bit of gossip…to dwell on an impure mental image?
In our daily warfare with sin, it is our Enemy’s first approach that can be the most dangerous. Bolt the door firmly against his first knock, and it will be easier to keep it closed when he begins pounding and kicking later on.
At the beginning of his ministry, our Example showed us a powerful way to thwart temptation’s first approach. Satan chose his time carefully.
After almost six weeks of fasting in the wild wastes of the Sinai, Jesus must have been faint with hunger.
At that moment of profound human weakness, the devil came calling.
The tempter came to him and said, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.”
Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’”
Jesus countered attack after attack by quoting Scripture after Scripture, foiling each satanic strike. In so doing, he sketched a wonderful pattern for us.
But Scripture isn’t the only defensive weapon in our God-given arsenal. Consider another example Jesus laid down – not at the beginning of his ministry, but at the end.
In the Garden of Gethsemane, the marshaled forces of hell tore at our Lord’s humanity, trying to keep him from the cross. If we could have somehow observed that scene, it would have been a terrifying moment. Had Jesus turned away from Calvary, you and I would be lost for eternity.
Just as the devil had enticed Jesus three times in the wilderness, so he was tempted three times in the Garden.
But what does Jesus do this time? He prays. And although his friends – his disciples – don’t even stay awake to encourage him, he continues to pour out his soul. Groaning. Sweating.
Agonizing. Lying face down. Maybe there’s more than one reason that this and the following hours are referred to as his “passion.”
At the dawn of his ministry Jesus showed us the importance of using Scripture to fight our Enemy. At sunset, he underscored the use of prayer.
Scripture and prayer – those are the weapons. Well do we know that we should use both. But how hard it is in the middle of our problems to remember these examples of Christ!
Jesus understands even that.
For when he was tempted in the garden, the Son of Man spoke such human words:
“The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.”
Matthew 26:41 (NASB)
Jesus knew how strong the pull of temptation could be.
Are you weak today, even though your spirit is willing? Are you tempted to open the door “just for a moment” to that persistent knocking?
Whatever the assault may be, it can be overcome. Jesus showed us how, both at the beginning and at the end of his ministry on earth.
Just another reminder that he’s with us from start to finish.
The Glorious Pursuit
No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind.
And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.
The way out of temptation must always be truth-based. That’s why you need to be saturated in God’s Word.
And the way of escape must always be trust-based, depending utterly on God as our Warrior. That’s why you need to live in an attitude of prayer.
On what door is the Enemy knocking – or pounding – right now? Run to God. Let him hold the perimeter, so you can rest safely inside his protective embrace.
Daily Devotional | Daily Devotional | Daily Devotional