Title: Be Ready, The Devil will Test & Tempt You!
Text: Luke 4:1-13
(After growing up into a young man, Jesus at 30 years of age began His mission of sharing the good news message from God. He had been identified at His baptism as God’s special Son, and it was time for Jesus to begin pursuing His Heavenly Father’s mission for Him. But first, God sent Him into the desert to spend 40 days alone being tested and tempted. God used the Devil to demonstrate that Jesus was ready to accomplish what God asked Him to do.)
Now Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, left the Jordan (where He was baptized) and was led by the Spirit into the wild. For forty wilderness days and nights he was tested by the Devil. He ate nothing during those days, and when the time was up he was hungry.
The Devil, playing on his hunger, gave the first test: “Since you’re God’s Son, command this stone to turn into a loaf of bread.”
Jesus answered by quoting Deuteronomy: “It takes more than bread to really live.”
For the second test he led him up and spread out all the kingdoms of the earth on display at once. Then the Devil said, “They’re yours in all their splendor to serve your pleasure. I’m in charge of them all and can turn them over to whomever I wish. Worship me and they’re yours, the whole works.”
Jesus refused, again backing his refusal with Deuteronomy: “Worship the Lord your God and only the Lord your God. Serve him with absolute single-heartedness.”
For the third test the Devil took him to Jerusalem and put him on top of the Temple. He said, “If you are God’s Son, jump. It’s written, isn’t it, that ‘he has placed you in the care of angels to protect you; they will catch you; you won’t so much as stub your toe on a stone’?”
“Yes,” said Jesus, “and it’s also written, ‘Don’t you dare tempt the Lord your God.’ “
That completed the testing. The Devil retreated temporarily, lying in wait for another opportunity.
Truth: If you desire to become a child of God, like Jesus, you will be tested and tempted. Being a Christian does not mean there will be no challenges or threats in your life. In fact, expect and be prepared for times when you will be tested and tempted because of your relationship with God.
Thoughts: This story about Jesus reveals three ways you will be likely tempted and tested by the Devil. But, trust this truth: God does not allow the Devil to do anything that God does not want you to handle. So why does God want you to go through tough times?
Well, to begin with, even the brother of Jesus said (ref James 1:2-4) – “Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors. So don’t try to get out of anything prematurely (there are no short-cuts). Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way.”
God wants you to become the best you can be, and it may mean He will bring times of testing to make you stronger and thus making you aware of areas in your life that need to be better. God wants you to be worthy to help others to follow in your footsteps, just as Jesus led His disciples.
The three ways the Devil will test you are as Jesus was tested & tempted. The Devil will test –
1. Your concern for your daily needs.
2. Your desire for influence over others.
3. Your faith in God and His promises.
Jesus responded well to each of these temptations, and so can you.
1. God promises to supply all our daily needs. Our hunger and thirst should be greater than our daily food and water, where you will live or how you will be able to provide for all your daily needs. Our faith should be in God’s promise to take care of us. Jesus mentions our daily bread in the Lord’s prayer as coming from God, not the world. Jesus also said “You’re blessed (will know true happiness) when you’ve worked up a good appetite for God. He’s food and drink in the best meal you’ll ever eat.” Matthew 5:6
2. Jesus plainly said to the Devil that you can never receive lasting pleasure from others. You cannot make others love you or make you feel good. However, if you pursue the approval of God, you will find the joy in your life that will last. Jesus said this about the kind of life we should have with others: “You’re blessed (know true happiness) when you can show people how to cooperate instead of compete or fight. That’s when you discover who you really are, and your place in God’s family” Matt 5:9. All power and authority rest with God. If you try to exercise what you think is your power and authority over others, your relationship with God will suffer.
3. Your relationship with God must be like Jesus had with His Father – a life of absolute faith. There is never a reason you should have to test God and His promises. There is enough evidence in your life and the lives of your family and friends to strengthen your faith relationship with God. Jesus clearly talked about God’s love for you when He said: “This is how much God loved the world: He gave his Son, his one and only Son. And this is why: so that no one need be destroyed; by believing in him, anyone can have a whole and lasting life. God didn’t go to all the trouble of sending his Son merely to point an accusing finger, telling the world how bad it was. He came to help, to put the world right again. Anyone who trusts in him is acquitted; anyone who refuses to trust him has long since been under the death sentence without knowing it. And why? Because of that person’s failure to believe in the one-of-a-kind Son of God when introduced to him.” John 3:16-18
The final point is this: The better you understand the three ways that the Devil will attack you and challenge your relationship with God, the more you understand that the Devil will lurk in your life looking for another time to test you again and again. The more you love God, the more jealous the Devil is of that love and he will try to destroy that love relationship. But God says this: “You’re blessed (will know true happiness) when your commitment to God provokes persecution. The persecution drives you even deeper into God’s kingdom. ‘Not only that—count yourselves blessed every time people put you down or throw you out or speak lies about you to discredit me. What it means is that the truth is too close for comfort and they are uncomfortable. You can be glad when that happens—give a cheer, even!—for though they don’t like it, I do! And all heaven applauds. And know that you are in good company. My prophets and witnesses have always gotten into this kind of trouble.” Matt 5:10-12
Walk in the footsteps of Jesus by faith, trust His message, and you will be blessed. The Devil’s ways will never bring you anything but regret and sadness. I pray you never have to learn this lesson the hard way, so I pray you will trust in God’s ways!