3 Temptations the great will face...
Reading: Mathew 4:1-11
Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted[a]by the devil. 2 After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry.3 The tempter came to him and said, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.” Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’[b]”Then the devil took him to the holy city and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. 6 “If you are the Son of God,” he said, “throw yourself down. For it is written:
“‘He will command his angels concerning you,
and they will lift you up in their hands,
so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.’[c]”
Jesus answered him, “It is also written: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’[d]”
Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. 9 “All this I will give you,” he said, “if you will bow down and worship me.”Jesus said to him, “Away from me, Satan! For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.’[e]”
Then the devil left him, and angels came and attended him.
So the Lord told you that He has great plans for your life. You are excited. You're ready to conquer the world, but did you know that there is a test coming? Jesus was led by the Holy Spirit into the wilderness after the Holy Spirit rested upon Him in a public setting identifying Him as the Son of God. You would think that after such an episode the wilderness would be the last place that God Himself would lead Jesus, but God's ways are not our ways.
Jesus was then tempted in three areas, and you better believe that if you plan to follow in Jesus' footsteps, you will be tempted in these ways as well. Each temptation appeals to a different aspect of humanity- the flesh, the soul and the spirit. Jesus shows us the accurate response to each.
1. The temptation to be self-sufficient (flesh level)
This temptation came when Jesus was hungry ( he had fasted 40 days). Jesus was tempted to satisfy his own needs through his own efforts at a place that could have been a point of desperation for him.Jesus counteracted it by identifying GOD as his ultimate source of provision.
Realize that when God declares greatness over you, you will be tempted to make it all happen on your own. You will be tempted to move in self-effort out of desperation to see your future come to pass. Remember that God is your ultimate source, and wait until He declares that it is time for your needs to be met.
2. The temptation to presume upon God's grace through pride (soul level)
Seeing that a temptation at the physical level did not phase Jesus, a second temptation was presented. It was the temptation for Jesus to be lifted up with pride in his mind and emotions to the point where he felt invincible, and would presume upon his relationship with God the Father and put it to the test. The highest point of the temple within the holy city represents the pinnacle of religious ascension from a worldly perspective. If Jesus had a career coach, he would probably have advised him to do all that he could to make it to that place. The place called earthly success. Jesus, however, knew that God had way more for him than that. If Jesus had succumbed to that temptation, he would have allowed a voice other than that of the Father to lead him, and that would have been sin.
When greatness is before you, you will be tempted to think that God is at your beck and call because you are a child of God. You may be, like Jesus, shown the peak of success within your local context or career path and feel like God will support any decision that you take on your own to plunge yourself down that path. In an attempt to prove the power that you have in God, you may overstep your boundaries and hurl yourself into opportunities that will prove to be suicide for God's purposes in your life. Do not put God to the test.
3. The temptation toward idolatry (spirit level)
Jesus was taken to the mountain and shown all the kingdoms of the world and the splendor attached to them. Jesus was destined to be the King of Kings, yet he was tempted with the kingdoms of this earth. Jesus recognized the bait. He was being tempted to have his affections stolen away from God the Father by having his eyes lured away to promises of influence. Satan knew that if Jesus could be enamored by power, he would easily yield his spirit to the one who could offer him such.
Know this, the closer you get to the greatness that God has promised, the more you will be tempted with counterfeits that could lure your affections away from the Lord. You will be offered relationships, opportunities and possessions that feel and look like the real thing; but with them comes the invitation to worship another- a God that you have not known. This is where constant relationship with Christ is important. Intimacy with the real thing is the only safeguard against imposters. Like Jesus, keep your heart attuned, and worship ONLY the Lord your God.