TemptationDaily Reflection / Produced by The High Calling
Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted there by the devil.
For much of my life as a Christian, I didn't really believe what Matthew 4:1 says. I didn't have a problem with the idea of the devil interacting with Jesus, trying to get Jesus to do what was wrong. Rather, I just didn't believe that Jesus was actually tempted. I thought of him as something other than a full human being who genuinely felt tempted to sin. True temptation, after all, implies that someone actually feels a desire for something that's wrong. Could it be that Jesus felt drawn to sin, even if he didn't give in to that internal pressure?
Over time, Scripture taught me to affirm the full humanity of Jesus, even as it also taught me to confess his full deity. As a human being, Jesus was truly tempted. This truth is proclaimed twice in the New Testament book of Hebrews:
Since he himself has gone through suffering and testing, he is able to help us when we are being tested. (2:18)
This High Priest of ours understands our weaknesses, for he faced all of the same testings we do, yet he did not sin. (4:15)
Hebrews not only affirms the genuineness of Jesus's temptation, but also draws out encouragement for us. Because Jesus knows the experience of temptation, he is able to understand our weaknesses, and he can help us to endure temptation without sinning.
We all face temptations to sin each day. Sometimes the magnetic pull to do what's wrong can feel unbeatable. But because Jesus was truly tempted, he knows how we feel, and he can help. He can show us a way out, so that we might say "no" to sin and "yes" to God (1Cor. 10:13).
QUESTIONS FOR REFLECTION: When you're feeling tempted to sin, what do you do? Does the fact that Jesus experienced temptation matter to you? Why?
PRAYER: Gracious Lord, sometimes when I'm tempted to sin it seems as if nothing can help me. I want what I want, even though a part of me knows how bad it is for me . . . not to mention for you.
How thankful I am that you experienced genuine temptation. You know what it feels like to be drawn to that which is wrong. And you know how to overcome the power of temptation.
Because you understand my struggles, I feel free to come to you openly, honestly, not holding back. And because you defeated temptation, I come to you not only in freedom, but also in hope. Through your strength, I can say "no" to sin. If I look to you, you will provide a way out.
Thank you, dear Lord, for entering so fully into our experience. And thank you for being there when I'm desperate. Help me to live so that I honor you in everything I do . . . all the time. Amen.