Tuesday, April 27, 2010

The Tactics of the Tempter

Matthew 4:1-7
Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. And when He had fasted forty days and forty nights, afterward He was hungry. Now when the tempter came to Him, he said, "If You are the Son of God, command that these stones become bread."
But He answered and said, "It is written, 'Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God'."
Then the devil took Him up into the holy city, set Him upon the pinnacle of the temple, and said to Him, "If You are the Son of God, throw Yourself down. For it is written: 'He shall give his angels charge over you' and, 'In their hands they shall bear you up, lest you dash your foot against a stone.'"
Jesus said to him, "It is written again, 'You shall not tempt the LORD your God.'"

So here, Jesus is being tempted by the tempter (Devil). There's one more after this that he tempts Him, but these two verses show my point today.

The Devil's first tempting was to get Jesus to turn the rocks into bread. He didn't throw a Bible verse at Jesus. He questioned whether or not Jesus was the Son of God. Jesus wouldn't do this miracle. It seems like a perfectly reasonable thing to do at first. But then we think about it: Jesus didn't come here to do miracles, and we're not here to perform miracles. We're here for God's glory and to fill out His plan.

Jesus knew He didn't come to this earth to do things like turn stones into bread. He came to win hearts for God. The Devil had seen the greatest miracles in the world, performed by God Himself. His heart wouldn't be turned back to God by a simple turning of stones to bread! So Jesus showed us how to use Bible verses when we are tempted. Sometimes, I think that that's the hardest thing to do, but it worked for Him, so it'll work for us, right?

Now, the Devil was going to take things up a notch. He used Bible verses in the next tempting of Jesus (along with some very dramatic picture messages). Now if this were me, I'd probably fall for it (Although, if I knew it was Satan I would hope that I'd realize that he's lying). But Jesus knows better: He knows that even though the angels will protect Him, there's another verse that says not to tempt God.

And there, my friends, is our point today: Not everything that tempts us is going to be obvious about it. Their first words probably won't be something about the Devil. Sometimes the worst tempters are the ones who know the Bible best and use it to manipulate it to their needs. Which is why we need to remember a few basic truths about God before we do anything. Ask yourself: Is this God-honoring? Is this loving to everyone involved? Does this seem like something God would ask me to do?

Response Question: Another argument is that jumping off that pinnacle would have shown faith in God. Agreements, disagreements? In the comments section.

In His Service,

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