Scripture Reference: James 1
We will be tempted. From day one, literally, that’s how it’s been. Christ wasn’t immune to temptation himself. After all, it is a part of life. It always has been, even then. The difference, as we all should know, was how he responded to this temptation. Jesus was fully a man, even as he was fully God. Two times, in particular, the Gospel records the temptation of Jesus. The first time was after he was baptized. He went off alone into the wilderness. Forty days and forty nights. It was there he encountered the tempter. Preparing for three intense years of proclaiming the good news of God’s Kingdom, Jesus was tempted with a false gospel. The devil tempted him three times.
“Turn these stones to bread,” said the tempter, and a hungry world will follow you. “Throw yourself down from the temple,” the angels will save you and the people will proclaim you Messiah. “Bow down and worship me,” and I’ll give you every nation, every empire.
Jesus faced them, and said “no”. “Away from me, Satan,” he said. But temptation did not leave, even though the tempter did.
The Bible records another instance when Jesus squarely faced into temptation. That second time it was in the garden of Gethsemane. Face to face with God and not the tempter, Jesus asked that the cup he was about to drink from upon the cross, might be taken away. Three times he prayed this.
The temptations of the devil in the wilderness may have returned to Jesus in his final hours. But finally, Jesus put them aside, and drank from that cup and took upon himself the responsibility for our sin, not his own. What Adam and Eve avoided that day in Eden, Jesus accepted. He took responsibility for that fatal bite of the apple, and every bite mankind has taken since.
You see, the tempter couldn’t make Jesus do it, and he didn’t make Adam and Eve do it. They chose! Adam and Eve (both of them) made the wrong choice. The tempter just placed the possibility in front of them. They were the ones who acted upon it. The devil didn’t make them do it. But how do we combat temptation?
It’s summed up in verse 21, which follows today’s reading “21 So get rid of all the filth and evil in your lives, and humbly accept the word God has planted in your hearts, for it has the power to save your souls.
It has two parts. The second produces more success than the first.1. “get rid of all the filth and evil in your lives”.
To illustrate this, think of Joseph in Genesis 39. Joseph had risen to a prominent position in the house of Potiphar and one afternoon when Potiphar was away, his wife made sexual advances toward Joseph. Joseph’s response when she pulled him in close by his coat was to slip out of her grasp and run away from her, leaving his coat in her hand.
And that is certainly good advice. If we find ourselves in a situation that is tempting us to sin, we are well-served to flee from the situation. If it’s right in front of you, get it out of your face.
If temptation sneaks up on you, don’t hesitate. Run. Christ says “Get behind me, Satan, you are a stumbling-block to me”
This is indeed a great strategy for dealing with certain kinds of temptations-if we can minimize temptation by avoiding situations and things that tempt us, then that’s what we should do. But let’s be honest, we already know that. It works sometimes, but not really. Not really because, as human beings, we’re not all that strong.
Then comes part 2 of verse 21 “humbly accept the word God has planted in your hearts, for it has the power to save your souls.”
Think about some of the temptations we face, and to each, James has a response:
Tempted to rely on your own strength “be sure that your faith is in God alone.”
Tempted to get angry with God when things get tough “do not say, ‘God is tempting me’ God is never tempted to do wrong”
Tempted to become lazy “Do not waver”
Tempted to despair and give up “God blesses those who patiently endure testing and temptation.”
Tempted to blame others “Temptation comes from our own desires, which entice us and drag us away.
Tempted to keep beating ourselves up for past mistakes “He chose to give birth to us by giving us his true word. And we, out of all creation, became his prized possession.”
No matter what the temptation is, bring it before the Lord. If we insist on fighting our battles alone, chances are we will lose them alone.
Posted by Fay-Ann Swearing Copyright @ Daily Devotionals. All Rights Reserved