21 September 2016
Reading: Daniel 7-8; Psalm 137; Luke 4
1 Then Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan River. He was led by the Spirit in the wilderness, 2 where he was tempted by the devil for forty days… 13 When the devil had finished tempting Jesus, he left him until the next opportunity came. (Luke 4:1-2, 13 NLT)
Before he could begin using the power imparted to him through the Holy Spirit at his baptism, Jesus was thoroughly tested, probed in every part of his being during forty days alone in the Judean wilderness. It was God’s Holy Spirit who guided Jesus into and through this time of fasting and the temptation that followed. Satan himself gave Jesus his personal attention and used all his wiles to try to defeat Jesus at the very beginning of his ministry. Jesus turned his back on the temptations and embraced his purpose and God’s word. Satan was finished for the present, but he would watch for another opportunity to defeat Jesus through temptation.
I don’t expect to ever attract Satan’s personal attention the way Jesus did, but as James 1:13-16 says, I have flaws that allow temptation to get at me in my vulnerable areas. Jesus was tempted to go for personal comfort and benefit, to take a short cut to what God had told him to do, and to make himself look good to others. There’s not one of those things that doesn’t tempt me at one time or another. I’ve got to be alert and aware of each temptation prompted by self or sin. How about you?
Father, You and I know my vulnerability to temptation better than anyone else. I need your wisdom and grace to stay alert and stay focused on what is right and real. Help me not to fall into sin when the temptation arises. With David, I pray these prayers that I may not fall to temptation…
12 How can I know all the sins lurking in my heart? Cleanse me from these hidden faults. 13 Keep your servant from deliberate sins! Don’t let them control me. Then I will be free of guilt and innocent of great sin. 14 May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing to you, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer. (Psalm 19:12-14 NLT)
5 O God, you know how foolish I am; my sins cannot be hidden from you. 6 Don’t let those who trust in you be ashamed because of me, O Sovereign Lord of Heaven’s Armies. Don’t let me cause them to be humiliated, O God of Israel. (Psalm 69:5-6 NLT) In Jesus’ Name, Amen.