“Then Jesus, being filled with the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness, being tempted for forty days by the devil.” (Luke 4:1, 2a)
Are you ever tempted to do something that you know is wrong? Maybe when you get home from school you see the super-chewy, ooey-gooey, fudge brownies that your mom has just finished baking. You ask if you might have a brownie, but to your utter dismay, your mom responds with, “Only if your homework is done; do you have any?” Now you know that you have just a little bit of math homework. But your “need” for that brownie is so great that you think to yourself, “I’ll say ‘no’ right now and just do the math homework later on tonight before I go to bed.” When you think that way, you have been tempted to do something that you know is wrong.
How should we handle temptation? When we’re right in the middle of being tempted to do wrong, that is no time to try to figure out a way to handle it. We need to decide before the temptation how we are going to handle it. One reason Jesus went through the temptations in the wilderness (listed in Luke 4) is to show us how to handle temptation. Let’s take a look at this passage and see what it says about Jesus and temptations.
After Jesus was baptized, He went into the wilderness and fasted for forty days (fasting means that He prayed to the Father instead of eating). At the end of those forty days, Satan came to tempt Him. Our passage lists three temptations that Jesus went through during this time. Each time, Jesus responded by quoting something God had said in the Bible. This is very important. God has given us His Word so we can live in a way that pleases Him. If we are going to handle temptation correctly, we must know what God’s Word says.
Remember the cookie-and-homework-temptation-to-lie situation? A couple of verses that would be good to memorize for a temptation like that would be these:
“Ye shall not steal, neither deal falsely, neither lie one to another.” (Leviticus 19:11)
“Honor your father and mother.” (Ephesians 6:2a)
Each time Jesus was tempted, He remembered something that God had said in Scripture. Think of what you are tempted to do. Can you think of any Bible verses that would help you if you had them memorized? If you can’t, ask your dad, your mom, or pastor, or teacher to help you find some verses to help you when you are tempted to do something wrong.
Each one of us is tempted to sin. But Jesus showed us the way we can go through a temptation and not sin. Let’s follow Jesus’ example and handle temptation the way God wants us to!
Jesus is our Example for resisting temptation through the power of God’s Word.
» What are specific things I’m tempted to do?
» What does God say about these particular sins? (Perhaps make a list of the sins and then write out the reference from the Bible that talks about what God thinks of each sin.)