Day 14: Dealing with Temptation
Sunday, February 20, 2022
In the previous days, we have discovered how to follow Jesus’ example when dealing with interruptions and stress. Today, we continue that theme by examining how Jesus dealt with temptations. We are focusing on the specific habits Jesus modeled to follow his example in our lives. These habits helped Jesus prioritize prayer, love people, and avoid hurry. That’s why they are worth adopting.
Our goal is to live like him: not just to obey his words but to follow his lifestyle. He prioritized prayer amid the chaos around him. He practiced disciplines such as silence, stillness, and solitude to help live a lifestyle of prayer. We want to do the same. It was through his practices of prayer and knowing Scripture that Jesus was able to thwart the devil’s attempt to trip him up.
“Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted there by the devil.
For forty days and forty nights he fasted and became very hungry. During that time the devil came and said to him, ‘If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become loaves of bread.’
But Jesus told him, ‘No! The Scriptures say, “People do not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God. (Deuteronomy 8:3)”’
Then the devil took him to the holy city, 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 you. And they will hold you up with their hands so you won’t even hurt your foot on a stone. (Psalm 91:11-12).”’
Jesus responded, ‘The Scriptures also say, “You must not test the Lord your God (Deuteronomy 6:16).”’
Next the devil took him to the peak of a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. ‘I will give it all to you,’ he said, ‘if you will kneel down and worship me.’
‘Get out of here, Satan,’ Jesus told him. ‘For the Scriptures say, “You must worship the Lord your God and serve only him (Deuteronomy 6:13).”’
Then the devil went away, and angels came and took care of Jesus.”
At first glance, it can seem that the devil is picking on Jesus during his moment of weakness in this story. That mean ol’ devil. Jesus was hungry and alone, as susceptible to temptation as he ever would be, right? That seemed to be Satan’s calculation.
He was wrong. Fasting didn’t make Jesus weak; it made Him strong. The wilderness was where Jesus went to spend time with his Heavenly Father. Physically he may have been depleted, but spiritually, he was renewed. When Satan attacked, Jesus was ready. There is a vital lesson we can draw from this account:
The power to conquer spiritual attacks comes from the strength we gain in the wilderness.
Prayer and fasting make us more powerful. Being physically and spiritually reliant on God makes His presence in our lives that much more essential. As Paul writes in 2 Corinthians 12:10, “That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”
How is God wanting to strengthen you during this period of prayer and fasting? Be aware of the spiritual reality of Satan’s attacks on you. It will likely be in subtle ways you don’t recognize at first. But because Jesus is with you, you have all you need to overcome them. Fasting and prayer, along with God’s Word, make you strong.
Consider the ways the devil is most likely to tempt you. How have you been spiritually attacked in the past? How can your time of prayer and fasting give you the strength to overcome it? What spiritual breakthrough does God want to do in your life as you fast?
Pray about the questions you just read and reflected upon. Ask God to help clarify the answers.
Prayer: “Lord, give me wisdom and understanding to see the ways Satan is attacking me, especially in subtle ways. In Jesus’ name, I pray those attacks be thwarted. I belong to You. Strengthen me in every way during this season of prayer and fasting, as I declare my need and reliance upon You. I pray that You would break through in my life in greater ways and that I would see You working in and through my life in greater measures because of this time I give to You. In Jesus’ name, Amen.”
By Dave Mann
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