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 shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’”
Matthew 4:2-4 (NIV)
The Lure of Temptation
Have you ever been lured by something that you knew was wrong. For example, if you are a student taking a difficult test and if you failed it you can kiss that academic scholarship good-bye; wouldn’t it be easy, when the teacher isn’t looking, to peek at someone else’s test? Suppose you are an athlete and you want to be at your very best, would you try performance enhancing drugs to give you an edge? What if you are in business and you are trying to get extra money; how easy it would be to cut corners in order to save money.
All of us, at one time or another, have fallen into the lure of temptation. It’s lure is particularly strong when we are at our highest stress level. Why is temptation so appealing to us during these times? It is because temptation offers to us a short-cut on the path that God has placed us on.
Finding the Short-Cut Out
There are times, in our walk with the Almighty, that we may be forced to endure hardships. It is during these difficult moments that we have the tendency to find the easy way out of it. We don’t enjoy pain, so we try to run away from it.
Short-Cuts are Dead Ends
However, when following God’s way, there is no such thing as a short-cut. The detour which temptation presents to us is nothing more than a dead end that forces us to double back and deal with the difficulty all over again.
Although its promise of a short-cut is one feature that makes temptation appealing, another reason that we find it alluring is its appeal to our vanity. All of us want to feel special and have a purpose. Temptation creates in us a belief that we deserve more than what we have been given and that we deserve to have what we want.
Entitlement Causes Delays
However, these feelings of entitlement deviate us from our true purpose in this world, and that is to represent God on the earth. While it’s true that we are special in the eyes of the Lord, however the treasures that He has for us will be given at His timing and not ours. When we greedily seek these gifts before we are ready for them, it will only delay the time it takes for us to receive them from the Lord.
To Combat Temptation
No one is immune to the allure of temptation. Even Jesus Himself was tempted. However, unlike most of us, the Lord didn’t give in to temptation and sin. How was He able to combat the lure of temptation?
The Shield Against Temptation
If we look in the Scriptures, we can see that Jesus combated temptation using the Word of God. An intimate knowledge of God’s Holy Bible will strengthen us when we are weakened by the stresses of life. When life gets tough, the Word reminds us that we are not alone in our struggle. When vanity takes hold, the Scriptures bring us back to earth and reminds us who we are.
Devoting to God’s Word
The Word of God is only effective if we truly read, meditate, and apply what it says in every aspect of our lives. This is a long and difficult exercise; a lot like getting in shape or studying for a big test. Nevertheless, if we persevere, we will see the results of our devotion to the Scriptures. When temptation comes our way, we will be able to say no to it and God will give us strength to endure all things.