Jesus was tempted. Yet he did not sin. This tells us that temptation in itself is not sin. Temptation is like a stranger knocking on the door. It does not matter as long as the stranger keeps knocking. But temptation becomes sin when you open the door for the stranger and give him a seat in your living room.
Jesus overcame the devil by resisting him. With his help so can we. Again, Jesus won over temptation by using the Word of God correctly. Many people find this difficult to do because they fail to store up God’s Word in their hearts. The Psalmist teaches us to hide God’s Word in our hearts so that we will not sin (119:11).
One more thought related to the victory of Jesus over the devil is that he was not only filled with the Spirit but also led by the Spirit. This means that temptation comes to all especially those who try to walk close with God. Jesus was fasting for forty days and nights spending time with God in prayer when the tempter came to him. So it is wise to be very careful and on your guard after having a special time of spiritual blessing.
God often sends encouragement to those who resist the devil. Matthew records that angels came and ministered unto Jesus (4:11). Luke, however, wished to point out another aspect. He records that “When the devil had finished all this tempting, he left him until an opportune time” (4:13). That means victory over temptation is not a one-time event as the devil goes about waiting for his next opportunity.
One thing the devil definitely craves is worship. That is why after having showed Jesus all the kingdoms of the world and their splendour, the devil said, “All this I will give you if you will bow down and worship me.” Today people are ready to bow down to anyone if they are promising to bless them. Be warned, because worship belongs to God alone who is holy.
Above all, we should be happy that Jesus faced temptation. Why? He suffered when he faced temptation. He came to know the pressure a man or woman faces when the tempter knocks at the door time and again. Because he understands first-hand what is the intensity of temptation, anyone of us can run to him to find help when tempted (Hebrews 2:18).
He will not accuse or condemn. Be honest with God when you face temptation. Tell him what you are thinking and ask his help. He who prayed for Simon Peter (Luke 22:31, 32) even before Peter denied him ever lives to intercede for you (Hebrews 7:25).
When you are tempted the next time, turn your thoughts to Jesus who is praying for you. Remember what a Sunday School student answered when the teacher asked her, “What will you do when Satan knocks at your door.” “Oh, I will ask Jesus to open the door!” she answered.
Finally, know that the mighty trees on hilltops stand strong only because they send their roots deep when the wind blows strongly against them. Temptation is often a sign of God’s presence with you. But the warning is, “So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall” (1 Corinthians 10:12). So when tempted, run to Jesus and to the throne of grace with confidence (Hebrews 4:15,16) and you will find help in your time of need!
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