Be Still Know
Luke 4:1-2 NLT
‘Then Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan River. He was led by the Spirit in the wilderness, where he was tempted by the devil for forty days.’
Every one of us faces temptation. This starts as an inner instinct to act in a way we know to be bad. Sometimes the motivation arises from the inner stirrings of our own thoughts; at others, it is the pressure created by desperate circumstances. I can recall those times when I was so overwhelmed with the reality of Katey’s situation, I almost felt justified in failing as a Christian. I thought God must understand, for the weight of circumstance was too heavy for me to bear. Of course, I conveniently ignored Jesus’ invitation to those who are weary and burdened to make their way to him so that they might find rest. We are swift to justify our sin with excuses, as did Adam when telling God his problem was due to Eve and to God.
Here Jesus, fresh from his glorious baptism and full of the Holy Spirit, immediately faces direct challenges from the devil, our accuser. Every one of us will face temptation, often at moments when we least expect it, when we are full of the Holy Spirit. Temptation itself is not wrong or sinful. We do not have to battle with the concept of temptation. We, of course, want to reduce our struggle in the earth and so Jesus invites us to pray ‘lead us not into temptation’ (Matthew 6:13, KJV), for it is a fool who deliberately courts disaster.
A friend recently asked me why it was that Jesus not only faced temptation, but scripture actually states he was ‘led by the Spirit’ (Matthew 4:1). If, as Paul tells us, Jesus was tempted in every way as we are, yet without sin (see Hebrews 4:15), these temptations in the wilderness offer us much hope. For we can come face to face with the devil and still not crumble under the weight of temptation through actively sinning. Sin itself is the carrying out of the temptation, giving it form and shape in our world. For example, I may be tempted towards immorality, yet I don’t need to act out that immoral temptation.
QUESTION: How have you been tempted, and what strategies do you have in place to resist the accusation of the devil?
PRAYER: Lord, lead me not into temptation, but deliver me from evil.