I hate temptation. It's always so exciting and alluring, especially if I give it any attention at all. All temptation needs is a moment of consideration and, like a fish going after the bait, it's got me hooked. Not every fish ends up in the boat, however. We have innumerable chances to fight back and break the line before it's too late. In those times, it can be helpful to remind ourselves that even Jesus was tempted.
No, not even the Son of God, who took on our humanity while retaining His divinity, was immune to temptation. In the desert He went toe-to-toe with Satan and yet, He resisted. In active ministry, He was tempted by the demons He encountered, and even was tempted to walk away from the horrific passion that He was about to endure. I think that there are three great truths contained in the story of Jesus’ temptation in the desert.
First, temptation will come. If it came to the Son of God, you can be certain that it will come to you. It will also be personalized, tailored just for you. Jesus was hungry in the desert, so He was offered food. Jesus was infinitely powerful, so He was offered an opportunity to prove it. Jesus knew He was going to suffer and die, so He was offered an opportunity to worship a new god. We all have weak links. Expect these weaknesses to be exploited and never give an inch.
Second, like Jesus, you can beat temptation. Jesus didn't hem and haw, He responded decisively. He didn't consider how good the bread would taste, how vindicated He'd be when the angels caught Him or how nice it would be to not be tortured and crucified. Instead, He rejected the temptations outright. We should do the same.
Finally, just as empty as the temptations were for Him, they are for you. We all can recall a time that we were tempted to do something wrong and were filled with excitement. Then, when we committed the sin and got on the other side, there was only sadness. If you're like me and have had this experience more than once, you know it'll always be like this. Like the mean words you always wanted to use to tell off your boss, coworker, or classmate, you always end up feeling guilty. Temptation is the illusion of something great wrapped around something lame. You know it’s going to be lame, so don’t bother with it. Plus, the time you spent distracted by sin is time that you can’t use to do something amazing with your life.
When faced with temptation, especially temptation around the weakest parts of your humanity, take courage. If Jesus was tempted, then you are in good company. Stay in that good company by resisting and overcoming.
Tags: Reflections Virtue