We have all seen…and loved…those movies where the bad guy is really bad. Consider Karate Kid as a perfect example. The coach and the students of the China team were bad to the bone. One boy and his quiet coach stood firm to fairness and won. These movies make us cheer the underdog and motivate us to find that one thing we could do that would overcome all evil around us.
God used the temptation story to teach how to go into training to defeat evil.
- You get alone with God,
- allow Him to strip you of all your own strength,
- when you are at your weakest,
- He gives you the strength to stand firm, and
- He puts His words in your mouth that causes the enemy to flee.
Somehow I can’t imagine that strategy making for a promising blockbuster movie.
But God knows two things we tend to not know.
- We don’t write the script to our lives.
- Satan is exceedingly more wicked than we can imagine.
I have never watched a reality show but from what I can gather they are a perfect illustration for what I just said. They aren’t really reality; they are scripted stories. The villains are just bad enough to stir an intended emotional response long enough for the hero to look really good when the victory is assured. The entire show is controlled. But that is not real life.
Satan is so wicked that if he were not held back by a leash in God’s hand, we would suffer unending hideous torment. So for man to assume he could in anyway become strong enough to withstand an onslaught of Satanic attack would be ludicrous. Jesus modeled our only hope for victory: Weakness yielded to God’s power.
Unbelievers are the possessions of Satan. He can use them as he pleases for they belong to his kingdom of darkness. But believers have been rescued from darkness into the Kingdom of Light. Therefore the most Satan can do to a believer is to tempt him or her to sin.
Temptation is not sin. If you are like me you might need to hear that again: Temptation is NOT sin. How do I know this? Jesus was tempted but His blood was THE pure and spotless sacrifice accepted by God for atonement of sin. Which can only mean that He never sinned.
When is temptation ever a sin? Never. Temptation can only be that, temptation. Do you see how defeated Satan is? The worse he can do to us is worthless to defeat us.
Sin comes when, and only when, OUR OWN evil desire entices us to conceive sin. Sin is a choice we make. The temptations will always come but we can choose as children of God how to respond.
We could put our fingers in our ears, close our eyes, and sing the “lalalalalalalalala” song to drown out temptation but it will return time and time again. We could sharpen our wits, exercise ourselves into a strong physique, and still be as defeated as the sons of Sceva in Acts 19. We could memorize countless scripture, shout then at the top of our lungs, but be defeated in our arrogance. (Consider the Pharisees) Or we could learn from Jesus and stand firm against every assault of the enemy in perfect victory each and every time.
Sounds like a no brainer to me. So what do we do?
- Get alone with God everyday with a heart yielded to His refining fire and Shepherd’s arms.
- Spend hours each day immersed in the Word so that its Truths cut every falsehood from our minds, heals every broken piece of our hearts, and bend our knees to His Majesty.
- Die to our own strength and allow His power to reign.
- Marvel at His strength in our weakness.
We are first introduced to Satan’s tactics in Genesis 3. Read the chapter and record his words.
Genesis 3:6 sums up how Eve perceived the temptations. What three things enticed her?
Now reread Matthew 4:1-11 and record the three temptations used by Satan.
In what way did he pervert or twist the original word of God.
Now read John’s epitome of human temptation in 1 John 2:16. List this triad.
How have these verses fulfilled Hebrews 4:15?
Before Jesus began His public ministry, He modeled the most important and vital lesson all believers must know and obey. We are dependent upon the Spirit. Jesus continues His ministry in total dependence. Here are a few examples:
Read and record what you learn about this ‘walk of weakness’.
Matthew 26:39 & 42
The temptation had to come within the weakness of fasting to prove the power of human weakness yielded to His supernatural strength. When we see our weakness in Christ’s strength, then we have seen reality.
Before you fall prey to a perversion of ‘weakness walk’, (that you do nothing at all) read the words of David in Psalm 119:11. I recommend if you want to be truly blessed, read all of Psalm 119 and record all the benefits of the words, decrees, precepts, commands, etc.
Jesus had the Word within Him. We must have stored in our hearts and minds the Word of God as ammo for the Spirit to bring forth from our mouths when temptations come.
A believer filled with the Word, weak in flesh, yielded to His authority, will in true reality be a mighty Warrior.