Monday, March 24, 2008

Concluding Thoughts on Temptation (Part 3)

As we saw in the earlier posts about Jesus’ temptation (in Matthew 4:1-11), the devil offered the whole world to Jesus if he would only kneel down and worship him. Today the devil offers us the world by enticing us with materialism, power, sex, money – whatever our weakness is. The Apostle John writes about following the ways of the world in 1 John 2:15-16:

Do not love the world or the things in the world. The love of the Father is not in those who love the world; for all that is in the world — the desire of the flesh, the desire of the eyes, the pride in riches — comes not from the Father, but from the world. NRSV

When you find yourself being tempted by something that the world offers, quote to yourself Jesus’ words to the devil: “You must worship the LORD your God, and serve only him.”

That should put things into better perspective, and give you the strength to resist. Also remember what the Apostle John tells us in 1 John 4:4: “Little children, you are from God, and have conquered them; for the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.” NRSV

So let us resist the temptations of this world by getting our priorities straight, building up our faith by Bible study and other spiritual disciplines, remembering whom we serve and to whom we belong, and realizing we have the Holy Spirit within us to protect us from the devil. And always remember: “The one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.”

The closer you are to God, the better able you are to resist temptation.

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