The Temptation

Yesterday at St. Matthew’s Erin and I both preached from Luke 4: 1-13, the temptation of Jesus.  Each Sunday we preach from the same text, it’s one of the things that we to do help our church be unified through our three services.  By the way, you can listen to any of our sermons by visiting the podcast portion of St. Matthew’s website.

Temptation is something that we all struggle with, and I think in reading what happened to Jesus, we can learn a lot about how we can deal with temptation ourselves.  Listen to what the text says:

Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit in the wilderness, 2 where for forty days he was tempted by the devil. He ate nothing at all during those days, and when they were over, he was famished. 3 The devil said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command this stone to become a loaf of bread.” 4 Jesus answered him, “It is written, ‘One does not live by bread alone.’”

5 Then the devil led him up and showed him in an instant all the kingdoms of the world. 6 And the devil said to him, “To you I will give their glory and all this authority; for it has been given over to me, and I give it to anyone I please. 7 If you, then, will worship me, it will all be yours.” 8 Jesus answered him, “It is written,
‘Worship the Lord your God,
and serve only him.’”
9 Then the devil took him to Jerusalem, and placed him on the pinnacle of the temple, saying to him, “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down from here, 10 for it is written,
‘He will command his angels concerning you,
to protect you,’
11 and
‘On their hands they will bear you up,
so that you will not dash your foot against a stone.’”
12 Jesus answered him, “It is said, ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’” 13 When the devil had finished every test, he departed from him until an opportune time.

Temptation_-_Cat_and_Goldfish_Bowl.jpgAs I read this text, there were (at least) four things that jumped out to me about temptation.  And maybe this is one of the reasons Jesus was tempted, to show us how to resist it.

First, notice the devil attacks Jesus when He was weak.  It says that Jesus had been fasting and was famished.  And that is when the devil came at Him.  You will face temptation.  You will.  Know that the devil knows your weakness.  He will hit you there.  You will face temptation in the spots where you are your weakest.  Be aware.  Be on guard.  Know these places, know these spots.  And don’t give temptation a foothold.  Don’t play with fire.  The devil knows where you are most vulnerable.  Be on watch in those areas.

Second, the devil tries to make Jesus doubt. He tells Jesus, if you are the Son of God.  Jesus knew who He was.  The devil tried to make Him doubt.  The devil will make us doubt.  He’ll try to make us doubt God’s love.  He’ll try to make us doubt our worth.  He’ll try to make us doubt God’s truth.  He will do all in His power to put those doubts in our minds.  Don’t let him.  Because you have to remember number three.

Third, the devil lies. If you don’t remember anything else about temptation.  Remember this.  Temptation is a lie.  Temptation is a lie. It always is.  It looks good. But it kills us.  In the text the devil says that all authority has been given to him to give to whomever he wants.  Nope.  That’s God’s call, not His.  He is lying.  Temptation is always a lie.  When you hear that voice, tempting you, always know that voice is a lie.  If the devil’s lips are moving, they are lying. Temptation promises life and fun and ends in destruction.  Temptation is always lie.

And last the devil misuses scripture.  In the text, the devil quotes the bible to Jesus. But he is misusing it.  Not everyone that quotes the bible is of God.  Know your Bible.  Remember your context.  Be aware of the truth of God’s Word.  The devil will try to use the Bible for harm and for destruction.  So that means that you have to know the Bible for yourself.  Read it.  Study it.  Pray with it.  Make it yours.  When you know the Bible, you will better be able to stand against those temptations.

Temptation is coming.  We will all face it.  Jesus faced it, so will we.  And when it comes, may we find the grace to stand against it.

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When Your Prayer Life is Hard

Jesus models for us, in our lives, what life should be like. He shows to us the model of Christian life and faithfulness.

Will we ever live as He lived? No likely. But, He shows us what we should aspire to. He shows us what we should chase after.

We should all, in our lives, try to be like Jesus.

And we get that in terms of loving, or serving, or forgiving. We understand that.

Today’s passage, through, it gives us insight to what we should try to be like, in terms of our prayer life.

Look at what happened into in Mark 14:35-56:

And going a little farther, he fell on the ground and prayed that, if it were possible, the hour might pass from him. And he said, “Abba, Father, all things are possible for you. Remove this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will.”

Jesus prays that this cup pass from Him. Yes, He chose the cross. He knew it was what He must do. He knew it was God’s plan for redemption for humanity. He knew it was what was to come.

And we see, that even while He chose it, He was not looking forward it. He was not excited about it. He really knew how tough it would be.

So, He asked His father, if possible, let it pass. But, He said, not it be His will, but God the Father’s will.

When your prayer life is hard, He understands. When you aren’t sure what to pray, He understands. When your prayer life is a struggle, He understands.

When we struggle with life, when we struggle with challenges, when we deal with all types of problems, He understands. He’s been there. He’s been in the place where He asked God to take the cup from Him.

But, how did His prayer end? Not what He will, but what God willed.

When it’s hard, he understands

Jesus went through the challenge and pain of the cross. He went through the pain of betrayal and hut. He went through all of this. And He emerged victorious.

So will you. Be faithful. Pray. Trust. Hope. Lean upon Him. Know He’s been where you are.

Trust in God’s will. He will take care of you. Even when your life pray life is hard. He will not leave or forsake you. Trust in Him. Even when you don’t know what to pray or how to pray. Trust. His grace is sufficient.

And through Him, just as He did, we will triumph.

Don’t forget, you can click here to download Asbury’s mobile app and read these devotionals, as well as listen to my sermons on your smart phones.

An Example

Jesus Christ is Lord of all. He is the very Son of God. The Bible tells us in Colossians that everything in all of creation was made by Him and through Him. He holds everything together. He is the source of life, the source of strength, the source of everything that is good in life.

He sets the example for us. The word Christian means a follower of Christ, or sometimes “little Christ.” As Christians, we are commanded and called to live as Christ would have us to live.

And, lucky for us, Jesus set the example for us. He showed us what we are supposed to do. Look at what we see in John 13:12-15 today:

When he had washed their feet and put on his outer garments and resumed his place, he said to them, “Do you understand what I have done to you? You call me Teacher and Lord, and you are right, for so I am. If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example, that you also should do just as I have done to you.

What did Jesus do? He served. He served in the must humiliating, demeaning fashion. He served His disciples. He washed their feet. He set an example.

Today, our command as Christians is not to walk around beating our chests. It’s not to act like we are better than others. It’s not to look down our noses at others. It’s not beat other people up.

It’s to serve. Our calling today is to serve others. Our calling today is to follow the example of Jesus and place others ahead of ourselves and serve them, serve their needs, love them.

In loving them, we show them Jesus’ love for them. In serving them, we show them their worth. In serving them, we follow the example set by our Lord.

We will not be able to argue someone into the kingdom of heaven. But, we can love them in. We can serve them in. Jesus showed us that example. He showed us what we are to do. He served His disciples.

And He calls us to serve each other. Today, in your life, find a way to serve someone. And in doing that, you will be showing Jesus example of love. And in that, He will be glorified, and folks will know His love.

Today, he set an example for us. Today, may we follow.

Don’t forget, you can click here to download Asbury’s mobile app and read these devotionals, as well as listen to my sermons on your smart phones.