Trusting Our Training To Resist Temptation

Trusting Our Training To Resist Temptation

Your word have I treasured in my heart, that I may not sin against You.
–Psalm 119:11

We have a great illustration of trusting our training to resist temptation through the life of Jesus Himself. After His baptism, Jesus was in the wilderness going through His own survival experience for forty days and nights, being tempted by Satan. The first temptation was an appeal to Jesus’s physical appetites. After forty days of not eating, He was hungry. Satan said to Him, “If you are the Son of God, tell this stone to become bread” (Luke 4:3). There was nothing wrong with eating, but the temptation was to act apart from God, and Jesus would have none of it. He said, quoting from Deuteronomy 8:3, “Man shall not live on bread alone” (Luke 4:4).

So Satan came with a second temptation, an appeal to power. He said to Jesus, “Let me show you the kingdoms of this world. They will all belong to you if you will simply bow down and worship me.” Interestingly, the kingdoms of the world already belonged to Jesus. He had temporarily relinquished them while He was on earth, but He would one day be the King of kings. This was a temptation to ignore God’s timing for that, to have His kingdom now instead of later. Jesus quoted from Deuteronomy 6:13: “It is written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God and serve Him only’” (Luke 4:8).

Finally, the third temptation was an appeal to glory. In verse 9, Satan took Jesus to the pinnacle of the temple and said, “Just jump down from here, and the angels will take care of you.” Then he actually quoted Psalm 91: “He will command His angels concerning You to guard You” (Luke 4:10). He was saying, “Jesus, You do not have to go to the cross. If You want everybody to worship You as Lord right now, just prove that you are the Son of God, and You can escape the cross.” But Jesus quoted from Deuteronomy 6:16 and said, “You shall not put the Lord your God to the test” (Luke 4:12). After that final unsuccessful try, Luke says that the devil left until a more opportune time arose.

How did Jesus repel the temptation of Satan? He did it by quoting Scripture. I am going to date myself here, but do you remember the old TV commercial for Raid? Bugs are having a party in somebody’s kitchen. All of a sudden, a big can of Raid appears, and the bugs yell out “Raid!” and they run in the opposite direction as fast and far as they can. I used to think that was kind of like the Bible. When Satan and his demons are wreaking havoc in our lives, just take out a Bible verse, and the devil shouts out “Bible!” and he and his demons run away. Is that how it works? No. Satan is not afraid of the Bible. He knows the Bible better than you do. The power of God’s Word is not what it does to Satan, but what it does for us. That is why Jesus quoted Scripture–not to make Satan run away, but to give Himself the insight, the clarity, and the strength to say yes to God and no to Satan. If knowing God’s Word was essential for Jesus’s spiritual survival, how much more important is it for you and for me? Remember this simple formula: memorize God’s Word, recall God’s Word, obey God’s Word. That is how you train in righteousness.

Today’s devotion is excerpted from “Survival Tip #5: Trust Your Training” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2019.

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.