It Is Written
Many of us have probably been in situations where we find ourselves at what I like to call a “Temptation Crossroads”. I can recount many times in my own life when I have been there. An opportunity has presented itself and I find myself getting tempted to the point of no return. It’s at that moment that we have to pause and weigh out our options. Most of us would say there is no other option right? Well that’s easier said than done when you have the temptation right in front of you. And sadly, many of us are quick to choose the easy road (saying yes to sin) then taking the hard road (run Forest run!). It can get frustrating. One of the things I have been getting into the habit of thinking is WWJD (What would Jesus Do)? I know some of you are already getting PTSD from everyone wearing those old knitted bracelets with those letters printed across them. But the question is a good one to ask. What would Jesus do if He were at this crossroad. I think the better thing to ask ourselves is “What DID Jesus do?” Wait, Jesus was tempted? Jesus had those crossroads? According to Hebrews 4:15 the answer is yes.
“For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin.”
So if Jesus was tempted just like we are, then how did he say no to sin? The easy answer would be because he’s God. But that answer would not do Hebrews 4 justice. Jesus was tempted even though he is God, yet he did not sin in the midst of his temptation. Luke 4 gives us this account.
“Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, left the Jordan and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness, where for forty days he was tempted by the devil. He ate nothing during those days, and at the end of them he was hungry. The devil said to him, “If you are the Son of God, tell this stone to become bread.” Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone. The devil led him up to a high place and showed him in an instant all the kingdoms of the world. And he said to him, “I will give you all their authority and splendor; it has been given to me, and I can give it to anyone I want to. If you worship me, it will all be yours.” Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God and serve him only. The devil led him to Jerusalem and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. “If you are the Son of God,” he said, “throw yourself down from here. For it is written:
“‘He will command his angels concerning you
to guard you carefully;
they will lift you up in their hands,
so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.
Jesus answered, “It is said: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.”
When the devil had finished all this tempting, he left him until an opportune time.
If there is one thing we can learn from this passage it’s this, memorize Scripture! How did Jesus overcome the temptations being presented to him? He quoted Scripture. Whenever the devil presented Jesus with any temptation Jesus responded with, “It is written.” It seems like a simple way to overcome temptation but yet it is so powerful. When we have Scripture memorized it takes root in our hearts. The heart ultimately is where our sin comes from. Jeremiah 17 says,
“The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick”
What is the cure to this sickness? The Holy Spirit and the Word of God. When we memorize scripture and spend time in God’s word, we are setting our minds on things above and not on things of this world. The more our minds are focused on God, the easier it is to say no to temptation. How do we keep our minds focused on God? By reading His word and spending time in prayer. Jesus knew Scripture like the back of his hand, and because of that he was able to refute every temptation the enemy threw at him by quoting scripture. There’s a reason why the Apostle Paul calls the sword of the spirit the word of God (Ephesians 6:17). The word of God is what we use to combat the enemy when temptation comes.
We are in a constant state of spiritual warfare. The enemy is always there whispering temptations into our ear. It doesn’t help that we live in a world that normalizes sin. And to top that off we have our sinful heart, though redeemed by the blood of Christ, that still entice us to sin. We have to prepare ourselves and be on constant alert at all times. How do we prepare, by spending time in prayer and in the word of God. My encouragement to you is to make a habit of memorizing God’s word, don’t just read it in passing. Let it dwell richly in your heart. I promise that when you have the word of God in your heart and mind, it will become easier to say no to sin and yes to Christ.