How should Christians respond to temptations?

Immediately after Jesus was baptized in the Jordan river ,  God spoke the words “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.” Matthew 3:17. What a thrilling moment for Jesus and those watching, including John! They probably thought that the next step would be a big feast and celebration or at least that Jesus would soon do some amazing miracles. Instead , however, Jesus was led by the Holy Spirit into the wilderness TO BE TEMPTED by the devil. It was not an accident. It was the plan.  There he fasted forty days and nights and was very hungry and the devil, or tempter, came to him . Just think how physically weak he must have been after not eating for so long!

The first temptation Satan brought was very tricky because he knew Jesus  was  hungry so he told him to prove that he was the Son of God by commanding stones to become loaves of bread. Jesus didn’t take the bait.

The second temptation was for Jesus to prove that he was the Son of God by throwing himself down from a high place at the temple and see if angels would catch him. Jesus knew that he could do that. but he knew it was not part of God’s plan so he didn’t take the bait. This may have also been a scheme to murder Jesus or make him fall like the angels who fell with Satan.

In his third attempt, Satan took Jesus to a high mountain and offered him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory if he would fall down and worship him.  This seems like a desperate, last-ditch effort on Satan’s part to appeal to Jesus’ pride, but he didn’t know that Jesus did not have that kind of pride.

What did Jesus do each time? He quoted scripture back to Satan! He used God’s own words to rebuke Satan. Here are the verses.

Bread temptation 1. Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God. Deuteronomy 8:3 

Testing God by doing something self-destructive to make him save him 2. You shall not put the Lord your God to the test. Deuteronomy 6:16

Pride 3. You shall worship the Lord your God and him only shall you serve.  Deuteronomy 6:13 

After the third temptation, Jesus himself rebuked Satan and said Be gone, Satan! Then the angels came and ministered to him.

Satan is very busy tempting Christians day and night.  These three sins are common to man, letting our appetites overrule our faith,  doing stupid things that we know God doesn’t like because we assume he will protect us and forgive us, and forsaking God’s ways without guilt,  out of pride. We can learn from Jesus about how to fight back. God’s word is powerful. Memorize and have it ready in time of need. Remember Satan cannot read your mind or control you like he can an unsaved person. Christians are no longer under Satan’s power but he can do things that manipulate your emotions and tempt your desires. Sometimes it is our own mind and thoughts and old habits that do the tempting. We can quote scripture and God’s promises to ourselves to help ourselves stay strong and remember that God’s way is best and he gave us wisdom to protect us. If we are believers , our sins are forgiven, but we will still have to suffer earthly consequences of our bad choices. It takes time to replace old habits.  And Satan will definitely work overtime to discourage and distract new believers that are zealous for Jesus. Expect it and fortify yourself by spending time with Jesus and the Word of God and time in fellowship with other believers. Having a strong Christian as an  accountability partner to talk with and pray with is a helpful strategy for someone dealing with particularly difficult sins such as addictions, pornography, anger, infidelity, etc.

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5 comments

  1. We need to memorize Scripture, true, but we need to know it IN CONTEXT. Satan quoted Scripture himself in the second temptation – quoted it incompletely and out of context. “He will give his angels charge over you,” He left out “TO GUARD YOU IN ALL YOUR WAYS.” In other words, while we are going about our daily business, NOT while we go around looking for ways to force God’s hand and make a miracle for our own amusement or to show off.
    These are the three temptations John names in I John 2:16 – “the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life,” Same ones as in Genesis – “When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom…” Genesis 3:6. Some things never change… :/

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