Oct 4, 2012, 1:15 PM
When Joseph was seduced by Potiphar’s wife, he fled as fast as he could to the point of leaving his jacket behind. However, God provided a way of escape for him even though it landed him in prison. When he left the prison, he moved straight into the palace, unto the throne.
Temptations have become a part of our daily experience. If we are to succumb at each trial, what will become of us? Each time the devil tempts us and we give in, we are moving away from God. Sin is a separator. When Adam and Eve sinned they could not stand in God’s presence and they hid from him. God has aptly provided his word as a tool with which to keep the enemy at bay.
Satan would stop at nothing; he even tempted our Lord Jesus just as the latter had finished a forty-day fast and thought him vulnerable. His intention was to get him to fail right at the start of his ministry. But each time Satan threw an arrow at him, it bounced back. Jesus had an adequate response from nowhere else but the Scriptures, the Word of God.
First, the tempter, Satan, said to Jesus: “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.” Jesus replied: “It is written: ‘man does not live by bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’ “ (Matthew 4:4) Jesus was saying; I have something better than food, the Word of God. Besides, “I am the living bread that came down from heaven.” (John 6:61) Food was not so much a priority for him – not when the offer came from the enemy. Jesus is not like Esau who sold his birthright for food. (Genesis 25:31-34) In the area of provision, Jesus had everything.
Satan made two other vain attempts. He took Jesus to Jerusalem, to the highest point of the temple and said to him; ‘Throw yourself down and the angels will lift you up in their hands.’ Again, he took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and made a conditional offer- if only he would bow down and worship him. At the second attack, Jesus responded: “For it is written: Do not put the Lord your God to the test.” At the third attack: “For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God and serve him only.‘ ” (Matthew 4:7-10)
These three temptations centred on provisions, protection and position, none of which was of major interest to Jesus – as all of these were earthly things. Jesus was operating in the spiritual realm therefore none of these could appeal to him. The prince of this world miscalculated; his ruse to capture Jesus’ attention with mundane things did not bear fruit. Where the first Adam failed Jesus, our second Adam, triumphed, having stood steadfast and unshaken on the Word of God.
The only weapon Jesus used against Satan was the Scriptures. We also can use the same weapon to counter Satan and his demons.We should arm ourselves with it for combat. Jesus was no match for Satan so he ‘left him’ alone. You will observe that Jesus did not start praying to the Father for help. No. There is power in the Word of God and that was all he used.
Unfortunately, we cannot pray temptation away; it is something we have to face upfront. It is part of the growing-up process. Job was tempted to disown and blame him for his sufferings. He didn’t. In fact he declared: “When he has tested me, I will come forth as gold.” (Job 23:10) Gold is a precious metal that brings out its beauty after going through heat. Rather than disfigure it, heat purifies it. Temptations should improve us as we overcome them.
The Scriptures provide us with sufficient weapons with which to ward off any temptation from Satan, and he will back off. Furthermore, we are encouraged because our Lord himself was tempted just like us. “Because he himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.” (Hebrews 2:18) He is therefore aware of what we are going through and can offer assistance.
We need all the assistance we can get to put up resistance. The Bible assures us that when we lean on the Word of God - our ‘shield of faith’ - we can ‘extinguish all the flaming arrows the evil one.” (Ephesians 6:16) Every ploy of the devil is geared towards depriving us of our place in the kingdom from which he has been thrown out.
We must be on our guard and never drop it. In this regard, we should begin to watch where we go, what we do and who we ‘hang’ with. We must watch the kind of company we keep and stop playing in Satan’s minefield. Jesus has given us power over the enemy. (Luke 10:19)