Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.
For those of you old enough to remember the late 60s and early 70s, there was a comedian named Flip Wilson who used to play a character called Geraldine. When the character would do something wrong, her most famous saying was, “The devil made me do it!” Another saying I often hear is, “I am human so I am going to mess up”. Both of these sayings indicate temptation is something, which comes upon us and we are totally defenseless, thereby making us think we are not accountable.
However, Scripture completely disagrees with this line of thinking. While temptation is certainly real, it cannot be casually dismissed as an inevitable outcome to our fallen condition as humans. Temptation is an integral part of life permitted by the Lord, designed to present us with an opportunity to decide between doing what is right and choosing to do wrong.
Jesus demonstrated how to triumph over temptation. Hungry, tired, and lonely after 40 days and nights of fasting in the wilderness, He was offered the chance to break His fast by changing a stone into a loaf of bread. It was a temptation to take matters into His own hands instead of trusting the Father. His response? “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone.’” Jesus 1 – Satan 0
Next Jesus was offered power and status in return for believing a lie and performing false worship. What was His response? “It is written, “‘You shall worship the Lord your God, and him only shall you serve.’” Jesus 2 – Satan 0
Finally, Jesus was offered the chance to prove His faith by an act of total irresponsibility. Standing on the highest point of the temple, Satan used a twisted application of Psalm 51, encouraging Jesus to jump off and trust the angels to protect Him. His response? “It is said, ‘You shall not put the Lord your God to the test.’” Jesus 3 – Satan 0.
What was the result of the failed temptations? …“And when the devil had ended every temptation, he departed from him until an opportune time”.
I know the first objection to this is that we are not Jesus, so we cannot be expected to stand against the temptations of Satan. However, the reality is we do not stand face to face with Satan as Jesus did either.
While we may not be Jesus, we certainly have the Holy Spirit living inside us and His Word to guide us. Jesus overcame Satan through the Sprit of God and truly knowing what Scripture says. Far too often we just give in to the temptation because we are not relying on the Holy Sprit’s power and do not know what God’s Word truly says. Therefore, we do not really even put up a decent fight.
When it comes to temptations, do you put up a fight or are you an easy whip for the enemy?