Temptation is real. It is bigger than me, but not bigger than Christ. He faced every temptation I do, yet was never defeated.
What were His three secrets to overcoming temptation?
Have you ever tried not to eat a piece of chocolate cake? Have you ever found yourself looking in the newspaper to find something favorable attached to your name? Have you ever wanted to show off that new car you know will impress everyone?
Israel went into the wilderness and failed. For forty years, they failed time and again at the tests God allowed them to face.
Jesus went into the wilderness and succeeded. For forty days He faced the temptations every man faces and never failed one time.
“How did He do that?”
1. Control your APPETITES.
- We all battle with appetites. Appetites are activated by the “eye gate.” If you can’t see food, you probably won’t eat it. I’ve learned not to stare at a huge food buffet or I will probably end up going over and finding something on it to nibble on!
- Jesus denied His appetites by refusing to turn the stones into bread. Pornography, adultery, gluttony, and drug and alcohol abuse all come from the “eyes.” John called it the “lust of the eyes.” Guard your eyes. Turn away from things your physical body craves.
2. Control your ATTITUDES.
- The second temptation was about His attitudes. We refer to a person who has pride and “swag” as having an “attitude.” It is a high opinion of yourself.
- Satan tried to get Jesus to throw Himself down from the temple. This was an attitude of independence. If the angels had caught Him and set Him gently down, He would have been on the front page of the paper! John called this temptation the “pride of life.”
3. Control your AMBITIONS.
- The last temptation came on top of a mountain. Satan showed Christ all the kingdoms of the world and the amazing wealth in each of them. He offered it all to Him if He would only bow His knee and worship Satan.
- Things themselves are not evil. Things that you worship are evil. People will compromise their integrity, their marriage, their friendships, and even their health just to have money, control, and material goods.
- The “lust of the flesh” craves possessions and power. It sees people as a means to an end. It is not satisfied until it is at the top of the political party, the company, or the list of wealthiest persons.
“Appetites…attitudes…ambitions.” Almost all sin comes from one of these:
1. An appetite that is out of control and becomes a habit or even an addiction. “Self-control” helps you conquer every appetite.
2. An attitude that causes you to feel superior to others, to be conceited about yourself, or to “make a name for yourself.” “Humility” will deliver you from foolish plunges for publicity.
3. An ambition that craves money, power, and control of others. You will do anything to squash anyone who stands in your way of success. “Contentment” will keep you from compromising your spiritual life and future for 30 pieces of silver.
Only the Holy Spirit can empower our will, break our pride, and settle our desires. Invite Him right now to come into your body (eyes), mind (ego), and spirit (worship). Be self-controlled, humble, and contented.
It worked for Jesus, and it will work for you.