You were created for a BIG Life, however you’re being tempted with settling for a little less. Where does temptation come from? What does temptation look like? How can we overcome temptation so we don’t miss out on the very things we were created for?
Scripture gives us a detailed account of Jesus being tempted. Today we will read Matthew 4: 1-11 and apply it in our own lives.
“Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted there by the devil. For forty days and forty nights he fasted and became very hungry.
During that time the devil came and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become loaves of bread.”
But Jesus told him, “No! The Scriptures say,
‘People do not live by bread alone,
but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’”
Then the devil took him to the holy city, Jerusalem, to the highest point of the Temple, and said, “If you are the Son of God, jump off! For the Scriptures say,
‘He will order his angels to protect you.
And they will hold you up with their hands
so you won’t even hurt your foot on a stone.’”
Jesus responded, “The Scriptures also say, ‘You must not test the Lord your God.’”
Next the devil took him to the peak of a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. “I will give it all to you,” he said, “if you will kneel down and worship me.”
“Get out of here, Satan,” Jesus told him. “For the Scriptures say,
‘You must worship the Lord your God
and serve only him.’”
Then the devil went away, and angels came and took care of Jesus.
If Jesus himself was tempted, you darn well better believe you and I will be tempted. We will face all sorts of temptations in this life. Temptations to cheat. Temptations to get even. Temptations to get ahead. But ultimately our temptations will center around the same temptations Jesus faced … temptations of the easy way.
Think about it, that’s what the devil was offering Jesus, the easy, quick way. Jesus, you’re hungry – here, just take the easy way and turn these stones into bread and you can have something to eat right now. You want glory, you can have everything you want right now, just bow down and worship me. That’s quick and easy, we’ll get this misery over right now.
I don’t know how you’ve been tempted lately, but I bet it centers around the quick and easy way. Quick, have immediate gratification and temporary satisfaction, forget about what this means for your goals and your future, just be satisfied right now. Oh how often we fall into that trap. It’s quick and it’s easy – and we so quickly and easily fall away from what we REALLY want in life for what is right here, right now. Don’t you see this is how the devil tempts us and detours us from our purpose in life. Quick and easy gets us every time.
When does the devil tempt Jesus? When he is at his weakest. When he is hungry. Jesus hadn’t eaten in 40 days. He was weak, he was desperate and he was miserable. Just when God is the only one who can sustain us and get us through our tough times, the enemy swoops in like a dark knight in shining armor and says “girl, you’ve been suffering long enough, you deserve a little break” and we come face to face with a decision to either keep fighting the good fight, or surrender to quick and easy.
What I also find interesting in this story is how well the devil knew scripture. He was quoting scripture to Jesus. What a jerk, using God’s word against Jesus … and you think he doesn’t do the same thing to us today? Of course he does. And it’s always taken out of context and twisted in a way that God never intended it. I’ve seen scriptures used to divide and hurt people. I’ve seen scriptures used to fuel wars that should have never begun. That is the work of the enemy, throwing God’s word around like a cheap insult. It’s not enough to hear a scripture, girl, know where it came from. Study it. Dig deep into the context and the story. What does that word mean to YOU?
The devil tempted Jesus 3 times – first with food, then with strength, and finally with power. He offered each of these things in the quick and easy way. And when Jesus refused, scripture says “then the devil went away and the angels came and took care of Jesus.”
If we will resist the quick and easy way being offered by the enemy, he will go away and God will send his angels to take care of us. But first, temptation. Don’t be surprised by it. Don’t be fooled by it. And don’t you dare take the quick and easy way today. Now there’s no need to make things more difficult than they need to be – don’t be searching for the hard way. God has made a way for you. Ask him to guide you. Ask him to sustain you. Ask him to strengthen you. It won’t be quick and easy, but it will be the right way.
Our answer to the temptations of quick and easy MUST be “NOT today Satan … and not tomorrow either.” You were made for so much more. You are capable of so much more. Don’t settle for anything less. You are capable of hard things. You are equipped to weather the storm and come out stronger. God is fighting this battle with you and there’s absolutely ZERO reason for you to surrender and seek the easy way out.
Whatever you’re working towards, whatever goal you’re striving for, whatever area of your life you’re seeking to improve, know this right now – it won’t be easy – you will be tempted to settle for less – but you don’t have to. You NEVER have to settle. Not when you have a God like this. Not when he is for you and not against you. Not when he has strengthened you to do all things through Christ Jesus. Not when he has gone before you and battling for you.
Hold your head high. You will not give into the temptation of quick and easy. Your life is worth the tough stuff.