Sunday, March 13, 2011

…Into Temptation

“Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the desert to be tempted by the devil.” Matthew 4: 1

I think we understand that Satan is going to tempt us. And I think we understand that he was going to tempt Jesus. But why did the Spirit lead Jesus into the desert for this confrontation with Satan? This doesn’t seem like something God would do, does it? Or does it? Of course God does not want us to sin and God does not wish or will evil on us, but I think sometimes we need to be reminded of our weakness and our utter dependence on God.

The reality is that none of us is more powerful than Satan. The truth is that apart from God’s grace, we haven’t got a chance. But the Good News is that Jesus came, met the temptations of the devil, won that battle and then died on the cross for our sins and rose from the dead, winning the war against Satan as well. And with His power, there is nothing Satan can do to touch us.

In our pride we think that all of our good works and efforts are what keep Satan at bay. We delude ourselves into thinking that if we work hard enough or pray hard enough that we can earn God’s privilege or eternal life. But God’s grace cannot be earned or won. God’s love cannot be bought or manipulated. God is not impressed by our good works nor does He hate us for our sins. The ultimate reality of our lives is that God loves us unconditionally at all times. And because of this love He offers us the grace to love Him back.

Surviving times of temptations without committing sin are opportunities to grow ever-more in humility and gratitude for God’s love and grace in our lives. They are times to realize that Satan has no power compared to the power and might of our God. They are times to be reminded that the Son of God endured everything that we endure and that with His power, we can overcome Satan as He did.

Dear Jesus, allow me to dive deeper into Your grace when confronted with temptations. I want to be victorious over sin as You were. Amen.

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