Jesus Christ provides us with the perfect example of how to defeat temptation.
Perhaps you’ve heard the joke, “I can resist anything but temptation!” Unfortunately, that is all too often true in our lives. Learning how to successfully resist temptation is vitally important, for we sin only when we yield to temptation.
Christians throughout history have recognized the importance of resisting temptation. One early believer wrote, “Fly from all occasions of temptation, and if still tempted, fly further still. If there is no escape possible, then have done with running and show a bold face and take the two-edged sword of the Spirit.” The desire to escape temptation has led many in the history of the church to attempt heroic but ultimately futile feats of ascetic self-denial. So desperate did one monk become that he threw himself into a thicket of thorn bushes! Unfortunately, that did not bring him the relief from temptation that he so desperately sought.
The way to successfully resist temptation was modeled by our Lord Jesus Christ when He was tempted. We must first understand our enemy’s plan of attack and, secondly, make use of our spiritual resources.
Satan made a three-pronged assault on Jesus—the same three ways he tempts us. First, he tempted Jesus to doubt God’s goodness by commanding the stones to become bread (Matt. 4:3). That implies that God didn’t care enough about Jesus to provide for His physical needs. Second, he tempted Jesus to doubt God’s love, suggesting that He test that love by leaping from the pinnacle of the temple (Matt. 4:5-6). Finally, he tempted Jesus to compromise God’s truth, promising Him the kingdom without the cross if Jesus would worship him (Matt. 4:8-9).
To each of Satan’s temptations, Jesus replied, “It is written” (Matt. 4:4, 7, 10). He thereby showed us the resource for defeating temptation: the Word of God (cf. Eph. 6:17). Do you find yourself overcome by temptation? Then follow our Lord’s example and take up the sword of the Spirit today!
Suggestions for Prayer
Pray that God would make you alert to Satan’s attacks.
For Further Study
Make a list of specific verses you can use to combat the specific temptations you face.
From Strength for Today by John MacArthur Copyright © 1997. Used by permission of Crossway Books, a division of Good News Publishers, Wheaton, IL 60187