I have been reading Matthew chapter 4 specifically verses 1-11 where it talks about Jesus being tempted by Satan in the wilderness. Jesus was there for forty days and nights by himself just speaking with God and after the forty days when Jesus was hungry, tired and at His weakest point that’s when Satan came to tempt Him. And he didn’t tempt him with things that were bad. Money or security, respect and power in of themselves are not bad but he wanted Jesus to place them above everything else instead of leaning into God. Sound familiar? Satan does the exact same thing with us.
He tempts us with the things we want most and always when we are the most weary. When we are facing the possibility of losing our jobs or our homes and we are so stressed that we don’t know what to do he often comes whispering in our ear “your neighbor offered to put you on their payroll” and we begin to consider it knowing our neighbor has never done anything legitimate since we’ve known them.
Or when we’ve been given an opportunity to be promoted to manager but we know that the division we would be managing is known for cutting corners and short-changing people. We start considering it because it would mean our old co-workers would have no choice but to look at us with admiration we could finally be big man on campus.
Or when our boss says that this year part of our review will include peer evaluations and the person we are evaluating is someone we’ve never really liked and this is our chance to really tell our boss how we feel about them. We start considering it as Satan tells us that it will make us feel better and get rid of dead weight at the same time.
STOP!!!!! When Jesus was tempted He hit Satan with the word of God.
It is written man shall not live by bread alone.(v.4) It is written again thou shall not tempt the Lord thy God.(v.7) Get thee hence Satan, for it is written thou shalt worship the Lord thy God and him only shalt thou serve.(v.10)
And do you know what happened after that? Satan left Jesus. He left because he knew that even during His weakest moment Jesus was so connected to God that He was able to see through Satan’s tricks. Now I know you’re probably saying “that was Jesus and there is no way we could withstand the same temptation after 40 days of fasting” and you’re probably right but there are things we can do to fight off temptation.
We can first and foremost lean into God and the grace that He supplies everyday. How? By reading His word, speaking to Him and surrounding ourselves with preaching, teaching and music that helps us gain a better understand of God.
We can also pay attention to our bodies and get the required rest we need. Rest? Yes rest. Think about how off kilter you are when you don’t get enough rest. You become irritable and every little thing gets on your nerves. Perfect soil for Satan to come in and stir the pot.
These seem like simple things to do but they can often be the hardest. We can always find an excuse not to grow in our relationship with God or to not get to bed at a decent time but if we choose to ignore these things we are choosing to give Satan an opening big enough to slid his foot through. Then before you know it his leg will be in followed by his arm and soon his entire body. No we are not perfect and God gave us grace & mercy for the times when we do give in to temptation but if our desire is to submit ourselves to God and resist the devil he will have absolutely no choice but to leave us alone. (James 4:7)
And it doesn’t hurt to throw a little bit of the word at him as he’s leaving.
photo credit: Jon David Nelson <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/65771669@N07/29551850866″>Sonoran Mountain Kingsnake</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/2.0/”>(license)</a>