The devil said, “I will give you the glory of these kingdoms and authority over them because they are mine to give to anyone I please. I will give it all to you if you will worship me.” Jesus replied, “The Scriptures say, ‘You must worship the Lord your God and serve
only him.’” Luke 4:6-8
All three of the temptations which Jesus received from the devil involved short cuts. Jesus didn’t deny that the devil had real power, or that the world was in his hands. But Jesus knew he had come to defeat the power of evil – and that the only way to achieve this was by going to the cross. There could be no short cuts. Jesus had a mission given to him by God his Father and he had to be faithful to that calling, whatever the cost.
We will all face temptation and, in one way or another, all temptations involve us in being encouraged to compromise, to lower our standards in order to fit in with the alluring voice of the tempter. We all want to succeed and to be loved and it is inevitably very tempting when we hear a quick way of getting there. But there are some firm principles which mustn’t be broken. There was no way in which Jesus could worship the devil and, once again, it was through quoting scripture that he dismissed the
temptation. Since he had been a young boy, he had heard the scriptures and he knew that God alone was worthy of his worship.
Given that temptation is an inevitable part of life for all of us, we need to make sure that we are well equipped to deal with it. That begins with our mental attitude. We should go into each day anticipating that we will be tempted to be less than the best. We will hear voices which encourage us to be lazy, unloving, ungracious, half-hearted or selfish. We shouldn’t be surprised by any of this, but have a mindset which is able to respond decisively. It is through prayer that we equip ourselves when we hear the voice of temptation, and with God’s strength we can be confident that we will be able to stand firm, just as Jesus did.
How could you equip yourself better to handle temptation?
Lord God, help me to live each day so close to you that I will be able to stand up to all temptations with strength and peace. Amen