Posts Tagged temptation
Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit in the wilderness, where for forty days he was tempted by the devil. He ate nothing at all during those days, and when they were over, he was famished. The devil said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command this stone to become a loaf of bread.” Jesus answered him, “It is written, “One does not live by bread alone.’ ” Then the devil led him up and showed him in an instant all the kingdoms of the world. And the devil said to him, “To you I will give their glory and all this authority; for it has been given over to me, and I give it to anyone I please. If you, then, will worship me, it will all be yours.” Jesus answered him, “It is written, “Worship the Lord your God, and serve only him.’ ” Then the devil took him to Jerusalem, and placed him on the pinnacle of the temple, saying to him, “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down from here, for it is written, “He will command his angels concerning you, to protect you,’ and “On their hands they will bear you up, so that you will not dash your foot against a stone.’ ” Jesus answered him, “It is said, “Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’ ” When the devil had finished every test, he departed from him until an opportune time. [NRSV]
- Not a business trip,
- Not a vacation,
- Not a luxury,
- Not even a mission trip,
- Before Doing No Harm and Doing all the Good, it is the maturing of the Spirit of God within us.
- Studying, prayer, fasting, listening and waiting for God.
- But a necessary beginning point for ministry and faith.
Work of Nurturing Spirit within Us.
If you ever ask, “why am I so weary, worried or stressed?” think about the last time you devoted serious time to spiritual retreat.
- The first lesson Jesus models is to be a strong spiritual person we need serious time for spiritual preparation.
But there is more.
Not only do we more often say to ourselves: “I don’t have time and energy for spiritual training, I did that years ago, or I will do that later.”
But when we invest the time, is not going to keep evil from confronting us.
We are preparing ourselves when evil, temptation, hopelessness comes our way.
2. The second lesson Jesus models is that Spiritual Training doesn’t help us avoid evil, it helps us confront evil and temptation.
Spiritual Training makes us ready for
- On the last day of a month and a half spiritual journey, Jesus is hungry. Jesus is wrestling with acceptance. Jesus is contemplating his use of power.
- The scope of the temptations takes him from Judea to Jerusalem to the ends of the earth, thus matching the three journey of Jesus’s ministry that Luke will recount in this gospel.
- The weight of the three temptations ranges from small to medium to larger.
- The reality of the three temptations was personal to Jesus’s condition, opportunity and position.
- The thing about dealing with temptation for us is that it is equally personal, timely and as dangerous for us as it was for Jesus.
The SCENE: Evil shows us in our life and says: You are not getting what you deserve. You are not loved, attractive,
Fairness, Belonging, and Responsibility.
3. Jesus models listening to the voice of evil. We can’t live to hide and avoiding temptation. Jesus could not and neither can we.
On three particular fronts, Jesus is tempted.
- How far can I lie to myself (Jesus was physically hungry, but his training was to trust God to provide.)
- How can I fool my family and friends (Jesus knew God would provide, His training was to test himself, trust God and not test God.)
- How can do what I want, use my family and friends and have the world at my feet. (If you and I have the power of God, how would alter physical and how far to test.)
Jesus doesn’t believe the twisted truth, lies, fears and threats, but he listens to know what the issue behind the words.
The devil asks him to use his authority to serve himself.
- He was hungry, justifiable.
- He was at the end of the journey, cut some slack, not going to be legalistic. and
- No one will find out, only you and I will know.
The devil was asking:
- serve yourself first
- you can bend the lines
- It’s all about you.
If we listen to the lies, twisted words, fears and threats of temptation, NOT BELEIVEING THEM but hearing what is at stake we can make better choices about faithfulness.
After listening Jesus speaks/acts:
4. The response Jesus models for us is to trust scripture to speak to us and tell our actions.
With every temptation, Jesus draws on scripture to tell and frame
- One does not live by bread alone
- Worship the Lord your God, and serve only him
- Do not put the Lord your God, to the test.
40 days of Bible study, prayer and spiritual training, gives the opportunity to get familiar with scripture to allow God to speak through us, to face evil face-on, with the authority of God.
DANGER: It’s not using scripture as sarcasm to cut down our enemies, it is allowing God to speak to our enemies and let God deal with them.
God speaks the Love, the Truth, the Power, the Life, the Hope. Let temptation deal with God.
How does Jesus deal with evil
- Spiritual Training
- Preparing to Face and not Avoid Evil/Temptation
- Listening for the truth about the voice of Temptation
- Speaking God’s word instead of My words
- Take these next forty days to read the Bible, as much as you can study
- Take the next forty days to pray for the church, your faith, all the politics of the world, all the economies, all the fears
- Take the next forty days to as the framework as a training program. Service, fasting, forgiving, singing, etc.
- Take the next forty days to name, name, write down the things that temp and test our faith personally. seek out verses that speak to them.
- Take the next forty days to prepare for Christ to live, speak and love through you.
- Isaiah 40:28 Have you not known? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He does not faint or grow weary; his understanding is unsearchable.
When I face temptation: I need to hear God speak through
Romans 8: 31-39 If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. Who then is the one who condemns? No one. Christ Jesus who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? As it is written: “For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.” No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
God is with us, in Jesus, in 30 AD in 2016 AD, in politics and poverty, in school and prisons, in church and walmart, GOD IS WITH US, ALWAYS.
Isaiah 40:28 Have you not known? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He does not faint or grow weary; his understanding is unsearchable.
I’m as fickle, afraid and as vulnerable as grass blowing in the wind, and so are the opinions, polls, and agendas, but GOD IS EVERLASTING, GOD, is not tired, weary or uninterested. GOD WAS, IS AND WILL BE.
Philippians 4:13 I can do all things through him who strengthens me.
I can’t do anything on my own, but if my strength and endurance are in God’s, I can do all things.
Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. He fasted forty days and forty nights, and afterwards he was famished. The tempter came and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread.” But he answered, “It is written, ‘One does not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.'” Then the devil took him to the holy city and placed him on the pinnacle of the temple, saying to him, “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down; for it is written, ‘He will command his angels concerning you,’ and ‘On their hands they will bear you up, so that you will not dash your foot against a stone.'” Jesus said to him, “Again it is written, ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.'” Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor; and he said to him, “All these I will give you, if you will fall down and worship me.” Jesus said to him, “Away with you, Satan! for it is written, ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve only him.'” Then the devil left him, and suddenly angels came and waited on him. [NRSV]
Types of Temptation: My Own, My Circle, Strangers
Stone to Bread
We want to blame the devil but we do a good tempting ourselves. We know our own weaknesses and lust without much struggle.
We live with the assumption that if no one knows, if no one else cares, if no one speaks up, then it’s just not that bad.
Living under the radar is directly about are relationship with God.
There are those in our circles of influence: Those in our family, community, in the church or other groups who know our actions and see our deeds, and know what’s going on, but we point out each other’s sin and brokenness and keep each other’s silenced by mutual leverage.
We will mind our business and stay out of yours because we want to be perceived as “good Christian folks”
We don’t want to be tested ourselves so we don’t put each other to the test.
Jesus is taken to a mountain top experience and sees the global perspective of personal choices.
We want to find the lowest price on our clothes, tools and toys but don’t tell us about the people working for pennies to make the prices so low.
We don’t want to connect our little sins with the folks who are certainly guilty of bigger sins. A sin maybe a sin, but the consequences aren’t the same.
What do we learn about Temptation
1. It is a real experience for us all, including Jesus
2. It most often comes when we are at our weakest moments.
3. It reaches every level of our experience.
4. Spiritual Retreat can be a good context for being prepared
5. Scripture is the first defence
6. We can be angels or devils to others, offering nurture and support or torment and pain.
If we pray, “Do not lead us into Temptation..” then we ought not “Lead others into temptation either.”
RETREAT ( a Lenten season of practicing being lead by God instead of ourselves, our friends and fears. )
I have a micro retreat in the next five minutes. Don’t look at your watch, allow me to be the time keeper…
Spend the next five minutes prayer for God to strengthen you in the face of your sin, weakness, struggles, fears and failures.
Spend the next five minutes reading scripture for your support
Spend the next five minutes thinking of ways you might minister to someone who has been torn by sin and separation
Then together we will pray for strength and power and trust.