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Three Things Jesus Taught About Overcoming Temptation

Updated: Feb 15, 2023

(Revisiting a blog post from January 2022)

Earlier this week, we discussed how every one of us struggles with a repetitive cycle of sin. We evaluated why that happens, and the three categories of temptation we face. Additionally, we explored overcoming those temptations by learning to speak like Jesus.

Now, dive in a little deeper to see exactly how Jesus overcame the SAME temptations and desires we face today.

In Luke, Chapter 4, Jesus is full of the Holy Spirit. Still, He is led into the wilderness. Typically that’s not the place we want to be led. But this is also why most of us will never lead a meaningful life. We want the promise before the wilderness. However, sometimes it’s important to work things out in private before we are visible in the public’s eye. This approach is what Jesus walks out in His life. Before launching into public ministry, Jesus goes into the wilderness to pray and fast. In this setting, the enemy shows up to tempt Him. The devil wants Jesus to sin. He wants Jesus to break the law of God. How did Satan tempt Jesus? In the same three ways, he tempts us!

  • Being tempted for forty days by the devil. And in those days He ate nothing, and afterward when they had ended, He was hungry. And 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 4:4 (NKJV)

Satan implores Jesus to turn a rock into bread. He is trying to provoke Jesus to flaunt spiritual prowess. But Jesus resists this temptation by saying, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God.’ ” Jesus tells the enemy that true spiritual food--the Word of God--is of greater value than any natural food. The enemy tried to appeal to the desire of Jesus’s flesh, His hunger. Specifically, Satan tempted Jesus through the LUST OF THE FLESH.

  • 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, and their glory; for this has been delivered to me, and I give it to whomever I wish. Therefore, if You will worship before me, all will be Yours.” 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.’ ” -Luke 4:5-8 (NKJV)

Next, the enemy showed Jesus the world's kingdoms and everything they had to offer. He offers to give all of these empires to Jesus. However, to receive this reward, Jesus must worship Satan. The enemy attempts to stir the LUST OF THE EYES in this scenario. But Jesus resisted this temptation and declared the truth of God’s Word, ‘You shall worship the LORD your God, and Him only you shall serve.’ ” Jesus also commanded Satan to get behind Him! This example is powerful because you can follow this example in your own life. You can speak to the enemy and crush the bondage of discontentment, comparison, and temptation.

  • 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. For it is written: ‘He shall give His angels charge over you, To keep you,’ and, ‘In their hands, they shall bear you up, Lest you dash your foot against a stone.’ ” And Jesus answered and said to him, “It has been said, ‘You shall not tempt the LORD your God.’ ” Now, when the devil had ended every temptation, he departed from Him until an opportune time. -Luke 9-13 (NKJV)

The next temptation for Jesus arrives in the text as the enemy challenges His understanding of His Father’s love. Satan tried to convince Jesus to attempt suicide so His Heavenly Father would have to intervene. But, "Jesus answered and said to him, 'It has been said, ‘You shall not tempt the LORD your God.’” As this unfolds, the enemy tempts Jesus with the PRIDE OF LIFE.

Every category of sin appears in Luke's chapter four. But Jesus overcame every category!

We learned earlier this week that "sin is lawlessness," and we break the law of God because we don't fight against our desires. So we must understand that our desires always fall within one of these three categories: lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, or pride of life.

Heaven wants you to know that because Jesus overcame every category of temptation so that you can as well! You do not have to settle for being a law-breaker in the eyes of God. Of course, you may slip up or make mistakes, but this will not be your final story. You can be made new in Jesus Christ!

How did Jesus have the strength to overcome the enemy’s temptations? Through three things: prayer, fasting, and speaking the Word of God.

1. REALIGN YOUR PRIORITIES through PRAYER. Seasons of PRAYER can help you realign your PRIORITIES. You value whatever the temptation is offering less and begin prioritizing the meaningful things God has made or is making available.

2. CHANGE YOUR PERSPECTIVES through FASTING. Seasons of FASTING can help you become more hungry for God than your next meal, which changes your PERSPECTIVE. There is no greater appetite than our desire for food. Seeking God through fasting is a great way to modify your perspective regarding what is most meaningful in your life.

3. DECLARE GOD’S PURPOSE for your life through HIS WORD. When you are in a season of prayer and fasting, you should also be in a direct relationship with the WORD OF GOD. Intentionality in this regard leads you to a place where you can start declaring God’s PURPOSE over your life. If you are going to pray, you must involve God’s Word because the most potent form of prayer is praying for the promises of God. Also, if you are going to fast, not only should you pray instead of partaking in regular meals, but you should read the Word of God as a supplement to food. This intensified relationship with God’s word sets you on a path to better declare His purpose for your life. Especially when you are in seasons of realigning priorities and changing perspectives.

Your purpose is not to bow down to the enemy so you can have more of this world. Instead, your objective is to bow down before God so you can have more of the Kingdom of Heaven made manifest on Earth. This mission is your purpose!

My challenge to us, going into the first 100 days of the new year, is to intensify your pursuit of God through prayer, fasting, and studying God’s Word. It may sound elementary, but it can be life-changing. God has called you to live a meaningful life…to be more than a weak, powerless Christian. He has called you a Spirit-empowered, life-giving, need-meeting, Jesus-connected, devil-stomping Christian!

Put the devil in his place--behind you--by living a spiritually meaningful life. Now is the time fulfill the purpose God has for us!

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