Temptation; April 29, 2018

Matthew 4:4 Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.'”

This fits perfectly with the theme of God’s provision because Jesus was being tempted to use God’s gifts to provide for himself, rather than receiving God’s provision. We often have trouble making that distinction. This doesn’t mean you aren’t to work at a job to earn money to support yourself, but it does mean that you aren’t to choose your job strictly on the basis of income. We tend to get caught up in questions like “The meaning of life,” when the Bible is very clear that as God’s creatures, we are to live as He directs, for the purpose of both immediate and eternal fellowship with Him. That’s really living, and Jesus knew it. Until we are convinced of it, we will be vulnerable to the many temptations the devil throws our way through the physical world, just as he tempted Jesus here with bread.

I have certainly experienced this, and as a pastor I work with people who are struggling in this area all the time. My words alone can’t convince them of the truth, so I’ve got to pray for the Holy Spirit to bring the conviction they need. Temptation is the devil’s specialty, and he’s good at it. I’ve got to help people understand that they can’t resist effectively in their own strength, but they can make the choice to allow God to do the job in and through them. It does involve our effort, sometimes a lot of it, but the power comes from God, and the only way to access that power is by our choice. I have learned, through sometimes painful experience, that I’m ineffective at resisting on my own, but that God’s forgiveness is real, and He will provide the “way of escape” (1 Corinthians 10:13) I need, if I will seek Him for it.

Father, You know who is on my heart right now. I pray Your grace and protection for them, that they will see through the lies of the enemy and walk in Your holiness, joy, and fulfillment, for Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!

About jgarrott

Born and raised in Japan of missionary parents. Have been here as an adult missionary since 1981.
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