February 4, 2013
We have talked many times about PAIN and discomfort, and our relative softness in handling it. Physical pain, but especially spiritual, emotional, psychological, or relational pain and discomfort really motivate, guide, and determine many of our decisions in life. Unfortunately, this pain is where most of our knee-jerk, “soothe me now and I’ll deal with the consequences later” decisions and actions originate from.
The last 2 days we looked at the first 2 desert temptations of Christ, so today we will look at the third temptation. Satan tries to use Scripture to tempt Jesus to leap from the top of the temple and land safely. Remember, as we know from His crown of thorns, beating, and crucifixion, Jesus is fully human so He would have been seriously injured by such a fall.
Jesus could have jumped, and the angels could have been called on by God to protect Him. It was not a temptation to commit an overt sin, but it was putting His Father’s care to the test … asking Father God to prove his care for Jesus. Jesus responded to Satan by quoting more Scriptures, the truth, and putting into context what Satan, the master of deceit, had quoted out of context.
We learn from Jesus’ response that we should trust God and His promises, and not test His reliability for the wrong reasons. He promises to take care of us, but we shouldn’t step in front of a speeding car to see what He will do. He has promised to meet our needs, but we shouldn’t spend our money recklessly.
In all three temptations, Jesus relied on the Scriptures for a proper understanding of what He was to do, and He quoted it in times of temptation. He did not take isolated verses out of context but balanced Scripture with an understanding of the true meaning of the verses and God’s overall plan and character. We find this to be part of the Armor of God that Paul exhorts us to use that will give us divine power in the spiritual battles we wage on a daily basis. Having experienced temptation Himself, Jesus understands our condition. He is sympathetic, and He is also the perfect standard and role model.
Today, yield to the will of God but you can only do this by using the armor of God. Start by memorizing Scripture. And get a good study Bible that explains the context of these verses. Then make decisions as if what you read is true. Then you will have power at your fingertips you couldn’t have ever dreamed of. You will handle adversity in unbelievable ways and have a peace that transcends your imagination. Make a specific plan of how to do this more consistently as the Lord enables and pushes you. Life according to your flawed instruction book is limited and will lead you astray as you have no doubt realized already. Using the perfect instruction manual from your Designer or the faulty one you put together randomly is your choice, so choose well.
Dear Father God, You know I am so weak. Please help me to prepare to resist temptation by spending more time in Your Word. Teach me not just to read, but rather to live the Scripture. Please bring the right Scripture to my mind when I am facing a temptation … and also teach me to understand the whole story of Your word. I pray this in the name of the One who would never deceive me and who is the living word, Jesus Christ; and all God’s children say – AMEN!
Then the devil took him to Jerusalem, to the highest point of the Temple, and said, ‘If you are the Son of God, jump off! For the Scriptures say, He will order his angels to protect and guard you. And they will hold you up with their hands so you won’t even hurt your foot on a stone.’ Jesus responded, “The Scriptures also say, You must not test the Lord your God.” Luke 4:9-12
Those who obey him will not be punished. Those who are wise will find a time and a way to do what is right, for there is a time and a way for everything. . .” Ecclesiastes 8:5, 6a
For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. Hebrews 4:12