Temptation is an enticement to act contrary to God’s will. This is exactly what Satan was attempting when he tried to tempt Jesus and what he continually tries to do with us. Every time we are enticed to disobey God with our thoughts, words, or actions, we must choose whether to walk faithfully with the Lord or go our own way.
The tempter is called by many names in Scripture: the devil, Satan, accuser, slanderer, and father of lies, just to name a few. He is an intelligent being who is completely evil. He is directly involved in perpetrating evil in individuals, and on a larger scale, in the world. Satan is a fallen angel who first appears in the Scriptures in the garden of Eden where he seduced Eve to believe a lie. He is the original source of sin and continues to spread his lies to this day.
One of Satan’s deceptions is convincing people that he doesn’t exist. The caricature of the devil in a red outfit with a long tail, horns, and a pitchfork causes some people to discount him as an imaginary creature. But if we fall for this lie, Satan has us right where he wants us. When we deny his existence, he is free to ruin our lives because we have no defense against him. Furthermore, to doubt Satan’s existence is to disbelieve the Bible, which testifies that he is a powerful source of evil. The Matthew 4:1-11 account of Jesus’ temptation clearly identifies the tempter as the devil.
How is Satan tempting you to turn from God? Stay close to God’s Word and ask God to help you resist him, and the Lord will make a way for you.
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.