I was driving down a busy road when an 8-foot ice- cream cone approached in the oncoming traffic lane and then sailed past me. I blinked and checked my rearview mirror. The towering tribute to mint chocolate chip, an advertisement for a local restaurant, definitely tempted my sweet tooth!
No stranger to temptation, Jesus challenged His followers to stay alert and pray so that they would not give in to it (Matthew 26:41). He also reminded them that although “the spirit is willing . . . the body is weak.”
Jesus knew all about the weakness of our physical bodies, having endured a time of solitude and fasting in the wilderness (Luke 4:2). After 40 days of hunger, He was challenged by Satan to change a stone into bread. But Jesus used Scripture to resist the devil’s ploy (Luke 4:4).
Satan tried another tactic: lying. After showing Jesus all the world’s kingdoms, he said, “I will give you the glory of these kingdoms and authority over them . . . because they are mine” (Luke 4:6). Huh? I don’t think so. Jesus is and was clearly in charge of the world (Colossians 1:16). Consider what He said about Satan and his lying ways (John 8:44).
Still, Satan exaggerated his power to try to coax Jesus into worshiping him. God’s Son resisted, saying: “You must worship the Lord your God” (Luke 4:8). After another failed attempt, Satan “left Him until the next opportunity came” (Luke 4:13).
Satan is always looking for His next chance to tempt us as well (1 Peter 5:8). That’s why we need to guard against weakness and isolation through accountability with fellow believers. We can also memorize Scripture that will help us face and defeat temptation. Then we’ll be equipped to resist the devil and send him packing (James 4:7).
NLT 365-day reading plan passage for today: Genesis 28:10-22
Read Genesis 3:7-19 to see the original results of giving in to temptation. Read 1 Corinthians 10:12-13; see how God can help us endure it.
Why is temptation often more intense when we’re alone? Why do we sometimes give in to it, even when we have a clear view of right and wrong?