Salem Evangelical Church
The purpose is not to give any time or devotion to the devil, but to Jesus. It is to be used as a tool to encourage and strengthen us, and defeat the devil. We need to be reassured that Jesus, as son of man, does understand what we are going through. He experienced the same things, mainly the same kinds of temptations, tests and trials. Christ's life is an example for us, and it parallels our experiences.
The temptation of Jesus in the wilderness is found in Matthew 4:1-11, Mark 1:12-13 and Luke 4:1-12. Jesus was full of the Holy Spirit, after being baptized by John in the Jordan River. He was led into the wilderness, to be tested by the devil for forty days.
Forty is symbolic in the Bible to represent the time of completion -- the time it takes to complete a time of testing. The first part of the word "temptation" is temp. It stands for temporary. The time of being tempted is not forever; it is temporary. Yet, while experiencing it, it seems forever.
Jesus was not just tempted three times. No! He experienced three kind of temptations. The first was the lust of the flesh.
Have you ever been so hungery that you literally thought you could eat a whole cow? You planned on having a healthy meal, but that would require some preparation and cooking time. The cookies and chips called your name, and before you realized it, you'd eaten the whole bag. Hunger is a natural desire and want, and it's easy to take the shortcut.
Jesus was hungry, and Satan offered Him a shortcut to satisfy his need. Each temptation started with, "If you are the son of God." Satan used the typical "if. then" sequence. He tried to entice Jesus to taste the ways of the world, rather than the ways of God. He dared Jesus to do a "taste test," to pamper the appetite. However, Jesus resisted the temptation of proving anything to the devil. He overcame the test by applying the Word of God, "It is written!" The Word says, "Taste and see that the Lord is good" (Psalm 34:8). For us, we can't apply the Word if we don't know the Word. When tempted, we have to ask, "Am I using what God has given me in the proper and right way?"
The lust of the eyes is the second kind of temptation. It involves seeing the riches and possessions of the world, and desiring them for ourselves. The sin is worshiping material things more and greater than God. Jesus said, "It is written: Worship the Lord your God and serve him only."
The third temptation is the pride of life. The other temptations are focused on other, outward things. But the pride of life is focused on you. What about me; what about me? With pride, you worship yourself! Jesus answered the devil by saying, "It is written: Do not put the Lord your God to the test."
In James 4:7 we find, ""Submit yourselves, then to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. In order to resist, we must "Be strong in the Lord and in the power of God's might." Then we have to put on the whole armor of God, which is described in Ephesians 6:10-15.
Know that you are neither alone nor by yourself. You will not experience any temptation that is different from that which anyone else has or will endure. I Corinthians 10:13 ensures us that God is faithful and will not allow us to be tempted beyond what we can handle. He will provide a way of escape.
Remember, when the temptation ends, ministry begins! Be prepared and prayed up. Satan will return at a more opportune time. Then the process begins again! We defeat satan by the blood of the lamb and by the word of our testimony (Revelation 12:11)
So, temptations are temporary actions "tion" that try to get our eyes off God, and onto the world and ourselves. We must keep our focus on Jesus, and shun the things that are not like Him. He is the Author and Finisher of our faith!