How the Enemy Tempts Us and How We Can Resist Temptation (Matthew 4)March 20, 2023 ● 24 min
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Every time you fail, God’s grace outruns your failure. He is ultimately merciful, so don’t let your failure separate you from God. That’s what the enemy wants you to do. What God wants you to know is that he is always willing to welcome you back, he is always ready to embrace you. Come back to him today.
This is Week 2 of our Jesus 101 series. Be sure to go back and listen to Week 1!
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WHAT DOES IT SAY?
Right after his baptism, Jesus is led into the wilderness, fasts for 40 days and nights, and is tempted by the devil. He endures three temptations, and then angels came and ministered to him.
Three temptations – what is the enemy really tempting Jesus with?
The first temptation - Satisfy your appetite (v 3). Make yourself feel good right now. We don’t want to wait for God, we want to remove discomfort.
The second temptation – Show your approval (v 5). Prove you have God’s approval, do it yourself.
The third temptation – Choose a shortcut to authority (v 8). “What you want to see happen in the world, I can make happen… just make this one concession.”
WHAT’S THE BACKSTORY?
Jesus’ desert temptations echo back to the Israelites’ wandering in the desert for 40 years after the exodus. Those years were marked by constant disobedience and complaining. God’s people were incapable of doing what God commanded them to do.
WHAT DOES IT MEAN?
Jesus did what God’s people could not do when tested: he stayed obedient to the Father. In this way, he is the new and better Moses. How he overcomes temptation is a blueprint for how we – the new Israel - can overcome temptation.
If Jesus was tempted, we will be too. You’ll be tempted to make a shortcut for your appetites, to prove yourself, and you’ll be tempted to find life outside of God.
All temptations will pass over time. When we resist, the enemy leaves.
We need to know God’s Word AND God’s intent. The enemy can use Scripture against us.
WHAT DOES IT MEAN FOR ME?
Perhaps we can expect that after mountaintop moments, temptations will follow. Will we allow God to teach us in both places? How are we experiencing the grace of God, abounding more and more?
The Enemy always wants humans separated from God. He wants us to bow down to him, not God. Soul death is giving our lives away to something that does not have life in it. To give our lives away to worship anything that is not God.
Study the Bible and pray regularly so you can understand God’s intent and discern when the enemy is tempting you.
Expect trial & trouble (John 16:33) We do have a real enemy, who is persistent but not that creative. Most temptations will come to us in the form of shortcuts: satisfying our own appetites, seeking approval, or choosing a shortcut for authority.
Questions to ask this week:
Am I shortcutting my life apart from God?
Am I moving toward more or less dependence on God?
Am I using pride, satisfying myself with comforts that keep me numb to my longings and hunger for God? Or am I showing up expectant, asking God to meet my needs and satisfy me?
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