Confronting Temptation With Scripture

Confronting Temptation With Scripture

The tempter came and said to Him, “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 on bread alone, but on every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God.’”
–Matthew 4:3-4

Growing up, when I heard the story of Jesus’s temptation in the wilderness, I had in my mind that the reason He quoted Scripture was to make Satan run away. I thought, “The Word of God is such a powerful weapon that whenever you quote Scripture, Satan just runs in the opposite direction.” Hogwash! Satan is not afraid of the Bible. In fact, he knows the Bible better than most Christians do. When he was tempting Jesus to jump down from the pinnacle of the temple, he even quoted the Psalms. But Jesus quoted Scripture right back to him, not for Satan’s benefit, but for His own benefit. Quoting Scripture gave Jesus the strength to recognize Satan’s lie and replace it with God’s truth, so that He could act on that truth. That is what He was modeling for us. When wrong thoughts come into our lives, we need to know God’s Word so well that we are able to call up the appropriate Scripture and replace those wrong thoughts with God’s thoughts.

For example, let’s say you are overwhelmed with a particular fear related to your job, or to your future, or to your family. That fear has paralyzed you. It is not enough to say, “I am just not going to think about it.” Instead, you need to take that wrong thought–that fear–and replace it with God’s thought. Call up 2 Timothy 1:7: “For God has not given us a spirit of timidity, but of power and love and discipline.” Or Philippians 4:6: “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.”

Maybe you are concerned about your financial future, and you are thinking about money way too often. What do you do with those thoughts of greed? It is not enough to say, “I am not going to think about money.” Instead, quote 1 Timothy 6:7-9: “For we have brought nothing into the world, so we cannot take anything out of it either. If we have food and covering, with these we shall be content. But those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a snare and many foolish and harmful desires which plunge men into ruin and destruction.”

Maybe you find yourself attracted to somebody to whom you are not married. You begin to wonder, “What would it be like to be with that person?” It is not enough to say, “I am just not going to think about it anymore.” You have to confront that temptation with the truth of Proverbs 6:32: “The one who commits adultery with a woman is lacking sense; he who would destroy himself does it.”

Do you see the pattern here? Recognize wrong thoughts and replace them with God’s thoughts. That’s what Paul meant when he said, “Having girded your loins with truth” (Ephesians 6:14).

Today’s devotion is excerpted from “When Satan Comes Knocking” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2010.

Scripture quotations taken from the (NASB®) New American Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1960, 1971, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. All rights reserved. www.lockman.org;