Have you heard someone shout “The devil made me do it!” when trying to explain away a sin or failure? Whether in jest or not, this is not exactly a true statement. In actuality, as one person quipped, “We start the fire, and the devil supplies the gasoline.”
Building the fire is our choice. In the opening verses of Luke 4, when the crafty devil was trying to entice Jesus, we see a different picture. Jesus never allowed the fire to start, which didn’t give the devil the opportunity to pour gas on the fire!
Note how Jesus was tested, fought the battle, handled temptation, won the victory, and went on in the power of the Holy Spirit to mightily teach the truth and wondrously display His authority.
The devil said to Him, “If You are the Son of God, command this stone to become bread.” But Jesus answered him, saying, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God’” (Luke 4:3 and 4).
Then the devil, taking Him up on a high mountain, showed Him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time. And the devil said to Him, “All this authority I will give You...if You will worship before me...”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’” (verses 5-8).
Then [the devil] brought [Jesus] 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. For it is written: ‘He shall give His angels charge over you...’” And Jesus answered and said to him, “It has been said, ‘You shall not tempt the Lord your God’” (verses 9-10,12).
Rebuke and Resist
Jesus rebuked Satan and every temptation. We can resist temptation as we turn to the power of Christ found in the truths of Scripture. So what can you do the next time you are tested?
- Trust that God is faithful. He will not “allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it” (1 Corinthians 10:13).
- Take up the whole armor of God. If you gird your waist with truth, don the breastplate of righteousness, put on the shoes of the gospel of peace, grip the shield of faith, wear the helmet of salvation, and wield the sword of the Spirit (God’s Word), you are ready for battle (Ephesians 6:13-17).
- Know you are not alone in your trial. Our High Priest, Jesus Christ, was tempted as you are. He is compassionate and understanding of what you face. He won’t leave you alone in your trial. You can go “boldly to the throne of grace, that [you] may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need” (Hebrews 4:16). Jesus stands ready to help you!
Victory in Christ
Having a purpose, a goal, is one of the most dynamic forces in human nature. With purpose, a man or woman can accomplish amazing feats, achieve challenging goals, and persist through staggering difficulties. Without purpose, many people drift through life with little to show for their existence.
Do you know your purpose? Your reason for being? The course of your day at each fresh sunrise?
- Joshua knew his. He declared, “As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord” (Joshua 24:15).
- Mary, the mother of Jesus, knew her purpose. She said, “Behold the maidservant of the Lord! Let it be to me according to your word” (Luke 1:38).
- Paul knew his purpose. He proclaimed, “For to me, to live is Christ” (Philippians 1:21).
If you’re unsure of your purpose, ask God and others to help you understand. Then you can focus on living for Christ and doing what He wants you to do. And remember, with God’s help you can handle temptation and stay on target.
Dear God, I come before Your throne today knowing that in this life I’ll face temptations that could threaten me and my faith. Remind me to turn to Your Word and put on the full armor You provide so I’ll be protected and victorious. Thank You for Your mercy and faithfulness. Amen.
A Woman After God's Own Heart—As you embrace God's plans for you, you will find real purpose in a life of prayer and practicing God's priorities as you become A Woman After God's Own Heart.
Am I committed to resisting temptation?
Memorize Joshua 24:15, Luke 1:38, and Philippians 1:21 this week.
Trust that God is faithful. Take up the whole armor of God. Know you are not alone in your trial.