Temptation is something we all have to deal with, and we will have to deal with it for the rest of our lives. It doesn’t matter if you are a believer or not we all live in a world full of temptation. So, how do we deal with it then? Let’s look at how Jesus dealt with it and see what we can learn.
Without going into too much detail I’m going to assume you know the story. If you don’t I hope that you will look at it for yourself. It is found in Matthew 4, Mark 1 and Luke 4. Jesus was baptized and right away the Holy Spirit led him into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil. If you want to be specific it actually says he was driven in Marks account. Either way my point is that God himself wanted Jesus to be tempted. Therefore I have no reason to think he feels any different about us.
Every time the devil spoke to Jesus to try and get him to do something Jesus didn’t stop at telling him no he went on to tell him what the Word says. You see Jesus didn’t “just say no” because he knew that wouldn’t work. He knew that saying no to one thing required saying yes to something else. This gives us a clue how we are to deal with temptation also. We can’t just say no to the temptation we have to say yes to the Christ.
Throughout the Old Testament we read time after time where Israel became caught up in idol worship. Of course God wanted that to stop so he sent them a prophet to tell them, but he didn’t just say put away your idols he would say turn back to God. Paul said the same in 1 Thessalonians 1:9 “For they themselves report about us what kind of a reception we had with you, and how you turned to God from idols to serve a living and true God.” So you see this is the way to deal with temptation.
On a personal note I remember the first few weeks after being born again how addictive cravings would crop up. I remember one specific time when I thought to myself “I could sure smoke a joint right now.” I hadn’t smoked pot in quite a long time but for some reason the temptation popped up. I remember standing in my kitchen thinking “All I have to do is go out that back door, and I could find some pretty easy.” Instead I sat down at the table and opened my Bible. I don’t remember what I read but I do know that 30-45 minutes later I had forgotten all about the pot or even why I picked up my Bible. No one had taught me to do this but apparently the Holy Spirit was teaching me.
What this all boils down to is learning to redirect our thoughts toward God when we are being tempted to go astray. We can’t fight the temptation on its playing field we have to fight it by learning to look to the Spirit for victory. Meanwhile we take Paul’s advice to the Philippians and make it our own. We are to think on things that are true, honorable, right, pure, lovely, good repute, excellent, or praiseworthy. When the enemy starts to suggest things to us like he did Jesus we will be ready to reply like he did with “It is written…”
Written by Louie