By Lee Roy Anderson
Jesus and Temptation. How did Jesus meet temptations which impoverish life? Matthew records the tempter coming to Jesus with the focus upon “if” questions. If you are the Son of God. Matthew 4:3. Oh, the pitfalls of the belittling “if” questions. Today the tempter seeks to plague the church with raising spiritual doubts, mistrust, and hindrances as incentives for backsliding. Jesus is an example of creatively using evil solicitations to build strength of character and deeper spiritual commitment.
How did our Lord do this? First, when the tempter appeared, Jesus made a positive God affirmation. Jesus never argued, reasoned or defended God with Satan. He simply affirmed the reality of God’s being and his sovereignty is like a small child’s trust in the parents love and authority. God is worthy of trust because he is a trustworthy ruler – God whose loving desires the highest for human life.
Second when Jesus was tempted he surrendered his life over to serving God’s will as the highest goal for life. Jesus affirmed a deeper commitment to fulfilling, God’s will. Because the Heavenly Father’s character loves and trustworthy this means the divine will is always right. Jesus moved the temptation dialogue toward a deeper consecration and abandoned service to divine will.
Third, by an active choice Jesus rejected the devil’s solicitation and presence – get behind me Satan, as an example of God’s continual presence with us in temptation. Angels came and ministered to Jesus.
When we have affirmed God as the resting place for our hearts and dedicated ourselves to his will, we become empowered to do his will and reject the devil and temptation. In summary, Jesus’ example affirmed the place and nature of God as a loving father when tempted based upon the loving nature of God, Jesus built a life of trust around the optimism of the divine will over against temptation. This resulted in a willful rejection of the devil. During life’s hardships the apostle Paul validated Jesus’ example by testifying, “I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day.” 2nd Timothy 1:12 Are we victorious over our temptations?