Meanderings of a Minister


Being Tempted with What You Already Have?
October 26, 2012, 12:56 pm
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In Luke 4, we read a familiar story about how Jesus was tempted in the wilderness after a forty day fast.  If you have not read this story in a while, you might want to take the time to stop and read this story in Luke 4:1-13.  Now that you remember it (or read it again), you probably remember hearing messages preached on this passage in which you have been encouraged to memorize God’s word so that you can respond, like Christ, by saying “For it is written…”.  While this is certainly a desired outcome from the story and a good, solid application of its truth, I believe there is something else to be seen here as well.

Notice that Satan comes to Jesus and says, “If you are the Son of God…”  Of course Jesus is the Son of God!  That is the whole point of recording His life, death and resurrection.  What Satan is doing is trying to bring into question for Jesus His very identity.  He is trying to tempt Jesus into proving to Himself and Satan Who He is.  Jesus did not need to prove Himself because He knew Who He is.  Satan was trying to tempt Jesus with something that was already His:  His status as the Son of God.

Next, notice that Satan tempts Him with turning the stone into bread.  Jesus had just spent forty days fasting and connecting with His Father in concentrated prayer.  This is the purpose of a fast.  He had gone forty days without food and had been sustained by God.  Satan comes along and tries to bring that provision into question.  Again, he was trying to tempt Jesus with something He already possessed, which was God’s provision and protection.

Additionally, Satan tries to tempt Jesus with all of the kingdoms of the world.  Notice some language here.  He is trying to tempt Jesus with all of the kingdoms of the world “in a moment of time”.  What does this mean?  Good question.  It means that he is trying to tempt Jesus with not only all of the kingdoms of that day, but all that would arise after it.  It is interesting to me that the United States could have probably been included in that temptation.  Jesus knew He was the Messiah and Savior of the world.  Again, Satan was trying to tempt Jesus with something that was already His.  He IS the King of Kings and Lord of Lords.  All of creation is His inheritance from the Father.

Lastly, Satan takes Jesus up to the top of the temple and tries to get Him to jump and test God’s plan.  Jesus knew He had come to be born in a manger for one express purpose.  He came to live because He came to die.  He came to die so that He could live again and conquer death, Hell, sin, Satan and the grave.  Jesus knew this.  He did not need to test the theory.  He did not need to test God and He would not try to alter God’s plans.  Satan had failed again to tempt Jesus with something that was already His.

So, how does that apply to you and me today?  I am glad you asked!

Much of what causes us to turn our backs on God could be avoided if we truly understood what we have in Christ.  Ephesians says God has given us “…every spiritual blessing…”.  Put simply, that means that we have every gift we need to do anything God wants us to do.  Not only that, but Philippians tells us that it is God at work in us causing us to want to do anything at all.  Satan comes along and tempts us with chasing after the almighty dollar, but we already have a God that provides.  Satan tempts us with insecurity and the desire to compromise in order for people to like us, but we already have a God Who loves us so much He sent His Son to die for us.  Satan tries to tempt us with insecurity and feeling like we can’t do what some of the other “Super Christians” can do, but we already have been given a “manifestation of the Spirit for the common good” according to 1 Corinthians 12.

The next time Satan tempts you with loneliness as a means of getting you to compromise your standard of sexual purity, recognize he is tempting you with something you already have:  a Father Who loves you more than any man or woman ever could.  The next time Satan tempts you with feeling like you need to cut corners or cheat to get ahead financially, recognize he is tempting you with something you already have:  a Father who can do much more than you can imagine and Who owns the cattle on a thousand hills, and the hills, too!  Don’t let Satan tempt you with what you already have!

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