Overcoming Temptation Part 1
Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, left the Jordan and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness, 2 where for forty days he was tempted by the devil.
Last week we read about Jesus’s baptism. Today we pick right up after that event as the Holy Spirit leads Jesus into a grueling stretch of temptation.
We’ll talk more about why the Holy Spirit does this later in the week. For today, let’s just start with this starting block: great new starts almost always come with new temptations and new challenges.
Want to lose weight in 2019? A well-intentioned friend will invite you over for dinner and prepare your most-favoritest-dessert ever. Want to get your finances under control in 2019? Most certainly your car will spontaneously combust in the next few weeks. Resolving to be more engaged at home? The kids will push every single button today and likely find some new ones to recreationally push tomorrow.
Part of why we get thrown off at the starting blocks by these temptations and challenges is that they surprise us and we’re not ready for them. So let’s do a little exercise to help us to get ready.
With just about every resolution or change we want to undertake, there are a predictable set of challenges or likely temptations to come our way. I’ve just listed a few above. They’re actually not usually that complicated or mysterious.
So write down a resolution or a change you want to make. Then make a list of 2-5 fairly predictable challenges or temptations that will likely come your way as you try to walk this path.
Then take a moment to prayerfully pre-decide how you’ll respond when those temptations or challenges come your way. Write each response out. Include a verse of Scripture that might help anchor you. If you’re not sure what Scriptures might work, ask a friend to help you.
Jesus is going to face some nasty temptations pitched to him by Satan himself that were actually fairly predictable. Satan can’t actually be all that creative because creativity is God’s property.
And what Jesus is going to do is overcome the temptations with some Scripture that he’s memorized that expresses the pre-decisions in his heart to not fall for the predictable lies that were going to come his way.
Take a few minutes today to put some prayerful thought work into the same strategy Jesus used to overcome temptation and challenges.