As Jesus begins His public ministry, two important things take place. The first is His baptism by John at the Jordan River. John publicly proclaims Him as the “Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world.” The Trinity of God is seen, as the Spirit of God descends as a dove and the Father’s voice is heard to speak, saying, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” This experience confirms for John that Jesus is indeed the Messiah.
The second event is Jesus’ temptation in the wilderness. Immediately after His baptism, the Spirit of God leads Jesus out to the desert. For 40 days, Jesus fasts, prays, and is ministered to by angels. He is also tempted, and we are told about three specific temptations. We learn several lessons about temptation from Jesus’ experience and response.
- Temptation can come when we are doing exactly what God calls us to do; often after a “high” spiritual experience with God.
- Our enemy, the devil, looks for opportunity, “an opportune time” to tempt.
- Temptation can come when we are physically tired and hungry.
- The devil’s tactics are always the same: lust of the flesh (appetites), lust of the eyes (desire to have/acquire), and the pride of life (desire for honor, self-promotion).
- Temptation can be defeated by the power of the Word of God, but we must know it well. The devil knows it too and will twist it to deceive us.
I believe Jesus, in His humanity, experienced temptation just as we do. I also believe that because He is the sinless Savior, He could not sin. He was perfect God and perfect man. Just as our ability to defeat temptation grows stronger and stronger as we allow the Spirit of God to have “all” of us, the devil would never be able to defeat Jesus, because He was perfect, even in His human state.
We are not perfect yet, but we do have the power to resist temptation within us, if the Spirit of God indwells us. We must be aware of our enemy’s strategies and desire to destroy, but we do not need to fear Him. We can walk in victory, just as Jesus did. The devil left the wilderness defeated, but already scheming to try again. In Christ, we have the authority to send him away as well.
Submit therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. (James 4:7)
How are you being tempted? If you want victory over sin, repent and confess where you have given in already. Accept God’s forgiveness and start anew. Put on your armor (Ephesians 6) and arm yourself with the Word of God (specific scriptures which speak to what tempts you). Then tell the devil to get away from you by the authority of God’s Word and because you belong to God as His child. You will come out of the wilderness a victor, just like Jesus.