Because we live in a fallen world and have sinful natures, temptations are an unavoidable part of life. This problem began when Adam and Eve sinned and has continued throughout every generation. However, as believers in Christ, we don’t have to yield to temptations. Yet too many of us do not have a method for dealing with them. In fact, some Christians are ensnared in sin because they don’t know how to resist. There is a way to respond which will help us build a strong defense. If we’ll go to the One who successfully conquered temptation every time, we can learn lessons from His example.
When Jesus was baptized by John, the Spirit of God descended upon Him as a dove and a voice from heaven declared, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well-pleased” (Matt. 3:16-17). It was shortly after this high point in His life that “Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil” (Matt. 4:1). This was not a spontaneous or accidental event but one planned by God for His divine purpose. The Holy Spirit deliberately led Jesus into a time of testing in order to prepare Him for ministry. This is the same reason the Lord allows temptations in our lives—for our testing and preparation.
Thankfully, the limits of our temptations are set by the Lord who has established boundaries over which Satan cannot cross. First Corinthians 10:13 tells us, “God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it.” In our own strength, we are weak and vulnerable, but the Lord is always faithful to give us the strength to endure when we depend upon Him, and to provide the way of escape when we obey Him.
This article is adapted from the Sermon Notes for Dr. Stanley’s message, “Lessons Learned in the Temptation of Jesus,” which airs this weekend on TV.