We’ve all been there. We’ve known our weaknesses since we were children. We’ve struggled with temptation for as long as we can remember. We’ve given in, struggled to avoid it, or done our best to resist it. We’ve wrestled with it because of parents, maybe teachers, or even God. However, somehow the temptation follows us into our adult years, and unless we overcome it, it threatens to overcome us! There seems to be no way out of this vicious cycle, but ~ as usual ~ God has the answer, and it’s always in His Word.
As we follow Jesus’ life in the book of Matthew, chapter four, we see Him fasting in a very hot and dusty place. He’s in the desert ~ alone… or is He? Usually a person will fast to cleanse the body, the mind or the spirit; possibly all three. Jesus was in this place for the strengthening of His Spirit. He was spending time with His Heavenly Father during this fast. His Spirit was being made strong, but His body was losing strength as He neared the end of His forty day fast. Jesus was hungry, and in walks temptation.
Satan shows up to offer Jesus bread after forty days of not eating! Most of us wouldn’t have passed the test, but thank God that Jesus always did what was right. He was aware that His spirit must always be in control of His soul and His flesh, so His response to every temptation was to simply share the truth of God’s Word. Jesus passed every test by quoting the Word of God! “It is written …” was Jesus’ response ~ every time!
So why do we make this process so hard? We try to face the enemy in our own strength, and IF we are honest, we’d just as soon give in to the temptation. Giving in feeds our flesh or our soul, but it will never feed our Spirit. If Jesus is to be our example, then we must also strengthen our spirit so that it will continually be in charge of our soul, and our flesh!
Feeding the spirit takes discipline, but God already gave us all that we need in His Word. Jesus did all the work for us through the redemptive acts that culminated at the cross. He took back the keys to death and Hell, and rose to return to His throne in Heaven. ALL has been paid for, we just need to rely on that Truth! Jesus conquered every sin, so we could walk free of it!
So when temptation comes ~ and it will ~ speak God’s Word! Remind the devil of what God says. “It is written …” should precede the verses that pertain to that situation. That’s why it is so important to not just read, but chew on the Word of God. If there is a certain thing that continues to tempt you, ask God’s Spirit to highlight the passages that are meant to overcome that temptation, then write them down, and speak them out loud when the temptation comes, just as Jesus did!
Then, remember to thank God! The Bible is His guide book to victorious living, so don’t let it get dusty! Put it to good use! Remind the enemy of his defeat, and begin to walk in your victory!