We come face- to -face with different forms of challenges. Every day, as Christians, we find ourselves tempted in one way or the other. But how do we overcome temptation? What can we learn from Jesus’ experience with temptation and how He overcame?
After Jesus was baptized by John, He moved to the wilderness to fast and pray. He was tempted from the onset till the very end by the devil, as we read in the passage below.
“Then Jesus, being filled with the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness, 2 being tempted for forty days by the devil. And in those days He ate nothing, and afterward, when they had ended, He was hungry.3 And the devil said to Him, “If You are the Son of God, command this stone to become bread.”4 But Jesus answered him, saying, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God.” 5 Then the devil, taking Him up on a high mountain, showed Him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time. 6 And the devil said to Him, “All this authority I will give You, and their glory; for this has been delivered to me, and I give it to whomever I wish. 7 Therefore, if You will worship before me, all will be Yours” 8 And Jesus answered and said to him, “Get behind Me, Satan! For it is written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God, and Him only you shall serve.” 9 Then he brought Him to Jerusalem, set Him on the pinnacle of the temple, and said to Him, “If You are the Son of God, throw Yourself down from here. 10 For it is written: ‘He shall give His angels charge over you, To keep you,’ 11 and, ‘In their hands they shall bear you up, Lest you dash your foot against a stone.12 And Jesus answered and said to him, “It has been said, ‘You shall not tempt the Lord your God.’ ” 13 Now when the devil had ended every temptation, he departed from Him until an opportune time.” Luke 4: 1-13 NKJV
The devil first began by challenging Jesus’ identity by asking Him to turn stone into bread, if He was the Son of God. In our daily lives as Christians, we come across similar situations where our identity and faith in Jesus are being challenged. Jesus didn’t directly address this challenge because He was confident of whom He was. In the world today, where there is a crisis of identity, we can overcome just like Jesus did by understanding what the Word of God says about our identity as Christians.
In the passage above, we also read that Jesus was tempted to eat during his fast. His hunger for food was legitimate. He was tempted to go with His feelings and emotion; the same natural tendencies we find ourselves experiencing in daily life. But Jesus responded that ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every Word of God.’ In similar circumstances, we can remind ourselves that we are to seek first the kingdom of God, and what we need shall be added to us (Matthew 6:33) and that we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us (Philippians 4: 13).
The devil also dared Jesus to jump stating that God has promised angels to prevent Him from getting hurt. He was testing Jesus’ trust in God. It was a questioning of God’s love. But Jesus stopped him in his tracks by speaking the Word of God back; ‘You shall not tempt the Lord your God.’ We also find ourselves in situations where Scripture have been misinterpreted. This makes it absolutely important for us as Christians to have a sound understanding of the Bible so we can separate the Truth from false doctrine. You can trust God to keep His Word but not by tempting Him.
Jesus was also tempted with power and control. Knowing that Jesus had humbled Himself by leaving His place in Heaven and coming to earth in human form, the devil asked Jesus to worship him for power on earth in return. But Jesus declined saying that the Almighty God was the only One worthy of worship.
Jesus overcame satan by:
- Speaking the Word of God
- Refusing to compromise
- Controlling His passions
- Enduring the pain of the moment for the joy that was set before Him.
- Developing habits that helped Him to overcome; such as fasting and praying, preaching and teaching the gospel
- Keeping the focus on God the Father