We all have to fight it, Jesus beat it one hundred per cent. We can learn from how He dealt with it.
Temptation comes to us from three different sources, from our own hearts (James 1:14)1 14 But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own lust and enticed., from the world (1 John 2:16)216 For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, isn’t the Father’s but is the world’s., and Satan (Matthew 4:3)3 3 The tempter came and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command that these stones become bread.”. In the case of Jesus, the temptation was not internal but external because there is nothing within Him that is fallen (2 Corinthians 5:21)4 21 For him who knew no sin he made to be sin on our behalf; so that in him we might become the righteousness of God..
There are three types of temptation which correspond to the three temptations Jesus faced in the wilderness.
- Firstly, Jesus was tempted to make stones into bread (Matthew 4:3). This was a physical based temptation rooted in the material world and corresponds to John’s lust of the flesh (1 John 2:16).
- Secondly, Jesus was tempted to impress people by throwing Himself off the temple and have the angels catch Him. This is a temptation rooted in the soul and John calls this the pride of life (1 John 2:16).
- Thirdly, Jesus was tempted to worship Satan having been shown the kingdoms of the world. This was a spiritual temptation and John describes this as the lust of the eyes (1 John 2:16).
God does not tempt anyone (James 1:13)5 13 Let no man say when he is tempted, “I am tempted by God,” for God can’t be tempted by evil, and he himself tempts no one..
Jesus was led by the Spirit into the desert to be tempted by Satan for a very specific reason. When Satan successfully tempted Adam, he stole man’s inheritance. It was not possible for mankind to buy this back because people were sinners and were in exactly the same position as Adam (Psalm 49:7, 8)6 7 none of them can by any means redeem his brother, nor give God a ransom for him. 8 For the redemption of their life is costly, no payment is ever enough,. Jesus came and as the last Adam was perfectly sinless and His temptation in the desert demonstrated this (1 Corinthians 15:45)7 45 So also it is written, “The first man, Adam, became a living soul.” The last Adam became a life-giving spirit.. In defeating Satan’s attempt to tempt Him, Jesus as our near relative showed that He was not subject to Satan and therefore was able to buy back our lost inheritance through His death and resurrection.
So how did Jesus deal with temptation?
1. He fasted (Matthew 4:2). In other words, Jesus went without something that was legitimate in order to better deal with temptation. There are things and situations that can be unhelpful to us which may be perfectly OK for others. For example, a person who has a problem with alcoholism may avoid some temptation by avoiding situations where they are offered a drink. This doesn’t mean that drinking or going to places where alcohol is offered is wrong, it is a case of doing what is most helpful for people. Different people have different issues.
2. Jesus spoke the Word of God in dealing with temptation (Matthew 4:4, 7, 10). Hiding the Word of God in our hearts is a real help when seeking not to give into things we know are wrong (Psalm 119:11)8 11 I have hidden your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you..
3. There came a point when the temptation ended (Matthew 4:11). Temptation is for a time and the horrible feeling of self-denial does not last. If we can stand our ground for a time the temptation will pass (Hebrews 12:11)9 11 All chastening seems for the present to be not joyous but grievous; yet afterwards, it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it..
4. The angels ministered to Jesus (Matthew 4:11). Jesus received help and we can expect to receive help from God in standing our ground (1 Corinthians 10:13)10 13 No temptation has taken you except what is common to man. God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted above what you are able but will with the temptation also make the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it..
If Jesus had to face temptation, then we should not be surprised when we face it. It is not wrong to be tempted. It is not inevitable that we will give in to it either. Whilst we live in mortal bodies on earth we will at times fail when tempted (1 John 1:8)118 If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.. When we do there is provision made through Jesus to find forgiveness and cleansing (1 John 1:9)12 9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and righteous to forgive us the sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness..When we do fall down the important thing is to get up again and go on seeking to follow Jesus.
Can you share any other helpful suggestions in dealing with temptation?
Are there any experiences you can share were you won over temptation?