“Then Jesus said to him, ‘Away with you, Satan! For it is written, You shall worship the Lord your God, and Him only shall you serve.’” Matthew 4:10
I have been thinking about temptation lately. There are things in my life that I have to constantly battle and guard against. I want to do what is right, but I confess there are times when I succumb and fall into the same jaded, ugly, tiresome sin. I know better. How does this temptation get to me and how can I triumph over it? So I have to analyze temptation.
We suffer temptation because we live in a fallen world, because we are mere flesh and bone, and because we enjoy sin. We sin because we are sinners. It comes as naturally as breathing. Jesus has redeemed us and victory over the flesh is ours, but we must diligently, deliberately, and determinately choose to walk in that victory. We won’t be perfect at it until Jesus comes, but He has assured us that with repentance and return, we will always be restored. Our faith will be tested by the adversary. Faith battles temptation. This is war! My faith will be resisted by my flesh, the world, and the devil. Expect the battle.
In temptation, I know my own heart. I see my desperate need for a Savior. In temptation I appreciate and value the grace of God to me. In temptation I find strength to stand against my own desires, the need of my flesh, and the wandering weakness of my thoughts and instead choose God—for God Himself.
The enemy is vile. He will come “in the wilderness.” He will attack when we are weak and depleted. He will speak to our need. However, our need is not the real issue. The temptation is to choose our own ways over God’s. The temptation is to meet our own needs in our own way. It is a better thing to humbly wait on God’s will for me in a given situation. I never want to shortcut the will of God in my life. Nothing is worth that.
And so, I will gear up for the battle. I will train myself in warfare. I will serve God—not the devil, not the world, not myself.
“Father, help me overcome temptation. May I put You first in all aspects of my life and serve You alone. Help me choose You and Your ways. And when I fail (because I will), help me repent quickly and run back to You no matter how long it takes or how many times I have to pick myself up. May I ever run to You until I have that victory You have won for me! Amen.”