Rise Above

Rise Above

Navigating the challenges of temptation is a common struggle for many Christians. Some grapple with their thoughts and emotions, while others succumb to the allure. In Luke 4, we find a valuable blueprint in Jesus’ encounter with the devil on how to face temptation and emerge victorious on God’s winning side. Let’s delve into the profound lessons we can extract from this pivotal moment in Jesus’ journey.

The Wilderness Experience

“Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, left the Jordan and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness, where for forty days he was tempted by the devil. He ate nothing during those days, and at the end of them he was hungry.” Luke 4:1-2 NIV

The Gospel of Luke unfolds at the beginning of Jesus’ mission, right after His baptism by John the Baptizer. Led by the Holy Spirit, Jesus embarks on a forty-day journey into the wilderness, where He faces relentless temptations from the devil. This extended period leaves Him vulnerable, providing insights into how we too may confront our vulnerabilities.

Proactively Facing Temptation

It’s crucial to note that Jesus didn’t stumble upon temptation; He intentionally entered the wilderness, fully aware of the impending trials. This deliberate approach highlights Jesus’ willingness to face challenges head-on. As we confront our own temptations, we can draw inspiration from Jesus’ proactive stance.

The Devil’s Strategy

“The devil said to him, “If you are the Son of God, tell this stone to become bread.”” Luke 4:3 NIV

The devil, perceiving Jesus as a new creation with an unfamiliar nature, attempts to exploit this vulnerability. His weapon of choice is doubt. The devil’s first temptation challenges Jesus to prove His identity as the Son of God by turning stones into bread.

Responding with Scripture

“Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone.’”” Luke 4:4 NIV

In each temptation, Jesus responds with the powerful weapon of Scripture. When faced with the devil’s doubt, Jesus quotes Deuteronomy 8:3, emphasizing the authority and potency of God’s Word. This underscores the enduring relevance of Scripture in countering not only criticism but also the schemes of our adversary.

Rejecting False Promises

“The devil led him up to a high place and showed him in an instant all the kingdoms of the world. And he said to him, “I will give you all their authority and splendor; it has been given to me, and I can give it to anyone I want to. If you worship me, it will all be yours.” Luke 4:5-7 NIV

The devil, seeking to comprehend the enigma of Jesus, offers Him dominion over all kingdoms in exchange for worship. Jesus, resolute in His commitment to God, rebuffs the devil’s proposal by quoting Deuteronomy 6:13, “It is written: “Worship the Lord your God and serve him only.’”. This reminds us to prioritize worshiping the one true God over false promises of power and glory.

Challenging God’s Integrity

“The devil led him to Jerusalem and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. “If you are the Son of God,” he said, “throw yourself down from here. For it is written: “‘He will command his angels concerning you to guard you carefully; they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.’”” Luke 4:9-11 NIV

In the final temptation, the devil urges Jesus to test God’s protection by throwing Himself off the temple’s pinnacle. Quoting Psalm 91:11-12, the devil attempts to manipulate Jesus into questioning God’s integrity. Jesus responds decisively with Deuteronomy 6:16, “‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’”

The Role of the Holy Spirit

Throughout these trials, Jesus demonstrates the power of knowing and applying God’s Word. His reliance on the Holy Spirit underscores the indwelling presence of God within believers. This reaffirms that, like Jesus, we are not defenseless against the devil’s schemes.

Live Out the Word

Here are five things you can do to help you face temptations:

  1. Proactively Face Challenges: Jesus intentionally entered the wilderness, prepared to confront temptation. Follow His example by acknowledging and preparing for potential challenges. Be proactive in seeking God’s guidance and strength, knowing that you can face trials with confidence.

    “Keep watching and praying that you may not enter into temptation; the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.” Matthew 26:41 NASB

  2. Arm Yourself with Scripture: Just as Jesus countered each temptation with Scripture, immerse yourself in God’s Word. Memorize and meditate on relevant verses that speak to your specific struggles. The power of Scripture is invaluable in resisting doubt and standing firm in your faith.

    “Your word I have treasured in my heart, that I may not sin against You.” Psalm 119:11 NASB

  3. Prioritize Worshiping God: Jesus rejected the devil’s false promises of power and glory, choosing to worship God alone. In your daily life, prioritize worship and devotion to God over worldly pursuits. Recognize that true fulfillment comes from aligning with God’s will rather than succumbing to empty promises.

    “Then Jesus said to him, “Go, Satan! For it is written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God, and serve Him only.’”” Matthew 4:10

  4. Avoid Testing God’s Boundaries: Jesus firmly rejected the devil’s attempt to challenge God’s integrity by testing His protection. Embrace a posture of trust and reliance on God, avoiding unnecessary risks that may jeopardize your spiritual well-being. Remember that God’s promises are trustworthy without the need for unnecessary tests.

    “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.” Proverbs 3:5-6 NASB

  5. Rely on the Holy Spirit: Throughout His temptations, Jesus relied on the Holy Spirit. Similarly, lean on the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit for guidance, strength, and discernment. Cultivate a close relationship with the Spirit through prayer, allowing His influence to shape your responses to life’s challenges.

    “But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh.” Galatians 5:16 NASB

You Can Overcome Temptation

In facing temptation, we can draw profound lessons from Jesus’ encounter with the devil. Proactively confronting challenges, wielding the sword of Scripture, and relying on the Holy Spirit are key elements in navigating the complexities of life. As we emulate Jesus’ approach, we can overcome temptations, staying firmly on God’s winning side.

About The Author

Jesse Velez

Although Jesse Velez will forever carry the essence of a Native New Yorker, he currently calls the sun-soaked city of Miami, Florida, his home. Celebrating a marriage of 31+ years to Eusebia, he proudly embraces his role as the father of five grown children. Jesse has cultivated a profound grasp of the Bible over the span of 40+ years, dedicated to following and serving Jesus while engaging in extensive reading and in-depth study of the scriptures.