I have a few thoughts on temptation.
Temptation is not sin. My response to temptation may be sin.
I'm struck by a few facts in this passage.
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2. Jesus knew the Word. He didn't argue with Satan. He simply quoted the Word.
3. Resist - and he'll leave you alone. The tempter leaves - but he'll be back. (4:13)
This reminded me of another passage. After warning about loving the world, John goes on to say this in I John 2:16, "For everything in the world, the cravings of sinful man, the lust (cravings) of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and does comes not from the Father but of the world." NIV.
While studying I John, I reached the conclusion that Satan often tempts us in three areas:
- Cravings of our flesh
- Cravings of our eyes - what looks good to me
- Boasting - which tries to meet my needs outside of God's provision
I've watched this pattern as I come across other temptations in the Bible - Adam and Eve's Fall (Gen 3), David and Bathsheba (2 Sam 11) and Jesus' temptation, here in Luke 4.
- Satan appealed to the cravings of Jesus flesh (4:2-4). Just turn a few stones to bread. Satisfy the craving.
- Satan appealed to Jesus' eyes (4:5-8). He attempted to lure Jesus with the world's glitter.
- Satan attempted to get Jesus to do God's will outside of God's purpose and provision (4:9-12).
Since temptations will come - from my own flesh or from Satan's hand; since I see this pattern in several cases of Scripture; it is wise for me to be alert!
What appeals to my flesh? What looks good to me? Where and how do I try to meet my needs apart from God? I must deal ruthlessly with these areas in my life...to keep temptation from becoming full-blown sinful habits. Your areas of cravings and temptations will certainly be different than mine - but that's what I love about the gospel. It's about relationship. Walk with Him and He will show you where your areas of weakness are - and then you are wise to alert.
Living all of life before the face of God...