When Jesus was tempted by Satan, He relied on Scripture for a proper understanding of what He was to do. Like Him, we must rely on the Ultimate Instruction Manual—the Bible—in times of temptation or stress.
I have talked many times about PAIN and discomfort, and about our softness or weakness handling them. Unfortunately, discomfort motivates and determines many daily decisions, and ultimately, the course of our lives. Occasionally, physical pain is the origin of our discomfort. But most of our decisions, especially the knee-jerk decisions and actions, have their origins in spiritual, emotional, psychological, or relational pain. Unfortunately, when stressed we often respond by saying, “Soothe me now, and I’ll deal with the consequences later.”
Today we’ll look at the third temptation of Christ. Satan used Scripture to tempt Jesus to leap from the top of the temple and land safely. Remember, as we know from His crown of thorns, beating, and crucifixion, Jesus is fully human, so He would have been seriously injured by such a fall.
Jesus could have jumped, and God could have called on the angels to protect Him. It was not a temptation to commit an overt sin. But it was putting His Father’s care to the test … asking Father God to prove his care for Jesus. Jesus responded to Satan by quoting Scripture … simply and firmly stating the truth. He put into context the scripture that Satan, the master of deceit, had quoted out of context.
We learn from Jesus’ response that we should trust God and His promises, and not test His reliability for the wrong reasons. He promises to take care of us, but we shouldn’t step in front of a speeding car to see what He will do. He has promised to meet our needs, but we shouldn’t spend our money recklessly.
In all three temptations, Jesus relied on Scripture for a proper understanding of what He was to do, and He quoted it in times of temptation. He did not take isolated verses out of context but balanced Scripture with an understanding of the true meaning of the verses and God’s overall plan and character. We find this to be part of the Armor of God that Paul exhorts us to use. It provides us with divine power for the spiritual battles we wage each day. Because He experienced temptation Himself, Jesus understands our condition. He is sympathetic. He is also the perfect standard and role model.
Today, acknowledge that you are frequently tempted to deviate from God’s plan, to be the authority in your life, or to misuse God’s word and power for your own needs. Instead, commit to yield to the will of God by using the armor of God. It’s the only way. Start by memorizing Scripture. And get a good study Bible that explains the context of these verses. Then make decisions as if what you read is true. Then you will constantly have power beyond your dreams, right at your fingertips. You will handle adversity in unbelievable ways and have a peace that transcends your imagination. Make a specific plan of how to do this more consistently as the Lord enables and pushes you. You already realize life according to your flawed instruction book is limited, often frustrating, and occasionally overwhelming. Whether you use the perfect instruction manual from your Designer or you use the faulty one you randomly composed yourself is your choice, so choose well.
Dear Father God, You know I am so weak. Please help me to resist temptation by spending more time in Your Word. Teach me not just to read, but also to live the Scripture. Please bring the right Scripture to my mind when I am facing a temptation. Teach me to understand the whole story of Your word. I pray this in the name of the One who never has and never would deceive me, the Living Word, Jesus Christ; and all God’s children say – AMEN!
Then the devil took him to 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 and guard you. And they will hold you up with their hands so you won’t even hurt your foot on a stone.” Jesus responded, “The Scriptures also say, ‘You must not test the Lord your God.’” Luke 4:9-12
Those who obey him will not be punished. Those who are wise will find a time and a way to do what is right, for there is a time and a way for everything. . .” Ecclesiastes 8:5, 6a
For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. Hebrews 4:12