(1)Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the desert to be tempted 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."
(4)Jesus answered, "It is written: 'Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.'[a]"
(5)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.'[b]"
(7)Jesus answered him, "It is also written: 'Do not put the Lord your God to the test.'[c]"
(8)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."
(10)Jesus said to him, "Away from me, Satan! For it is written: 'Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.'[d]" 11Then the devil left him, and angels came and attended him.
Have you ever thought you were being tempted beyond what you can endure? Have you ever promised God you would never repeat a sin only to fall right back into that same sin? Have you felt such a pull to sin that you told yourself “It’s ok”- or “I’ll repent and be forgiven...God understands”?
As the above scripture tells us He does understand but it doesn’t mean He fell for it and neither should we. Satan can be SO sneaky that I’ve actually done something and didn’t even realize I had sinned only to be hit in the face with it after the fact, and then had to live with the shame and seek repentance. I’m speaking of what some might consider a “small sin” like walking out of my office building with a company pen in my purse (and yes, my supervisor is on this distribution) or taking the sugar packets from a restaurant. You might feel those are harmless but are they?
I read a book last year by Beth Moore titled “Get Out of that Pit”. She addresses three ways we fall into sin (pits).
1. We accidently fall in
2. Someone can push us in
3. We can jump in.
I remember an illustration a preacher gave one year I was at church camp. He held up a large black “L” and said it represented the big lies (sin) we do. Then he held a smaller white “L” and said it represented our “little small white lie’s” (sins). But when he put the two, one on top of the other- they really were the same exact size, the black one just appeared larger.
Isn’t that so true of our sins? Sometimes what we feel is small or insignificant really isn’t in God’s eyes. Or something we do that’s accidentally turns out to be HUGE and hurts everyone around us. It becomes a mess so fast we don’t even know what hits us. Sin is Sin- Small or Big- Black or White- it’s SIN.
Satan is a master at making us believe we can justify our wrong actions. What are we to do when we’re faced with a sin? Let’s look again at how Jesus reacted.
He quoted Scripture
He stated the facts
He rebuked Satan
We are promised:
"No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it."
I Corinthians 10:13 (NIV)
Another translation The Message puts it this way:
"No test or temptation that comes your way is beyond the course of what others have had to face. All you need to remember is that God will never let you down; he'll never let you be pushed past your limit; he'll always be there to help you come through it."
Isn’t that an awesome promise!?! When Satan lies to us- we can and should call on these scriptures and he (Satan) will flee from us. How empowering is that!?!
Maybe today you’re dealing with a temptation/sin that has a death grip on you. Maybe you’re feeling like there’s no way out. That you’re stuck and beyond hope. Please don’t believe that- Please don’t give Satan that power over you. If you’re so overwhelmed you don’t even know how to pray- write down the scriptures above and read them to yourself when you feel hopeless and defeated. Soak in His promises.
Jesus does understand sin because He was tempted. But by His example we can overcome sin and be free as He made us to be- Free in Him. Temptation will always be here- but it doesn’t have the last word- God does and He says “Flee from Me”!