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Overcoming Temptation Successfully

The successful method Jesus used in dealing with temptation was to submit every desire to the word and will of God and then obey the verdict found there.  That is the only method that works.

In an intense inner agony of choice and decision, Jesus refused to compromise the will of God. He refused to compromise His own integrity.  For Him everything in His life was completely subjected to the will of His Father.

The temptations Satan threw into His face were to use His divine power selfishly. He would have Jesus focus on the material kingdom that can be seen rather than the unseen spiritual kingdom, seek quick results by sensational means, win popularity by tolerance and compromise. He tempted Jesus to doubt who He is in relation to the Father and the Father’s will for His life (Matthew 3:1-11).

There was nothing in Christ that would answer to sin.  The Devil challenged the first man and won.  The Second Man challenged Satan and won.  The last Adam spoiled Satan.  Jesus dragged Satan in to the light and exposed his personality and methods. 

“If you are the Son of God…”  Satan snarled (Matt. 3:3,6).  In Genesis 3:1 he asked, “Indeed, has God said…”

The first attacks of Satan are always on God’s Word.  Eve did not refute the false assumptions and hypothesis of Satan.  Jesus did, however.  He said, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God’” (Matt. 3:4).

Satan misquoted God in Genesis 3:4-5.  He even called God a liar.  Satan tried the same thing on Jesus and got caught in the process.  He took Jesus to a high pinnacle of the temple and said;  “If You are the Son of God, throw Yourself down” and then he quoted Psalm 91:11-12.  It is important for us to remember that Jesus rejected each of the temptations by quoting Scriptures.  Anything and everything that goes against what is written in the Bible must be resisted.  God has spoken.  Each temptation was defeated by citing a passage of Scripture that had reference to the temptations.

Ultimately it comes down to a choice we make regarding the will of God.  Jesus chose God’s way; Eve chose her own will.  Just a Jesus decided on the methods He would follow, we must do likewise.

Jesus made the right choice.  He told Satan, “Be gone Satan!  For it is written, ‘You shall worship the LORD your God, and serve Him only’” (Matt. 3:10).  Only then did the devil leave Him (v. 11).   “Go away” is a decisive rejection of the propositions Satan made to Jesus.

Some things seem never to change.  None of the temptations were obviously evil.  The “forbidden fruit” which tempted Eve was good for food, pleasant to the eyes, and to be desired to make one wise (Gen. 3:6).  Satan makes temptations attractive and advantageous to the tempted.  The power of temptation is its ability to make evil look like something good.

What is wrong with turning stones to bread after you have fasted forty days in a desert?  What is wrong with performing great spectacular miracles to demonstrate the power of God upon you?  Why not take the easy way instead of being executed on the cross for something you did not do?  On the face it looks so good.

Jesus chose to consistently worship God only, and all power in heaven and earth was give to Him (Matt.28: 18).  We face the same choice Jesus did.  We can choose to trust God and follow consistently the road He has set before us.  We will obey Him or go the way of the world, the flesh and the devil.

The path to victory is the path Jesus took!  “It is written! …  It is written! … It is written!” 

Selah!

Message by Wil Pounds (c) 2006

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(c) 2006  Message by Wil Pounds. Anyone is free to use this material and distribute it, but it may not be sold under any circumstances whatsoever without the author's written consent.

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