Struggling with Temptation…. Christ’s Example
Posted by justifiedandsinner
What Child is This?
The One Led By the Spirit!
† IHS †
As you come to know and treasure the grace of God, that mercy and love that comes as we are untied to Christ’s death, may we stand firm in His peace and forgiveness
Can We Wear Our Dad’s Shoes?
Most have done it, some of us have pictures of our children or grandchildren doing it.
Somewhere between the ages of three and five, we walk into our parent’s bedroom, find their shoes, try them on our small feet, and then try to walk in them.
We/they did not get that far, did they?
As we journey through this season of Lent, I think we are going to find out often, that we try to put our Father’s shoes on still. Not our biological parents, but our Father in Heaven’s shoes.
We still cannot walk in them any better than we did when we were four! Nevertheless, the temptation is there, and we want to be grown up and independent. We want the same authority, the same power, the same ability. That is a temptation every day, to play God, or at least imagine what we could/would do, if we had the ability to take His place for a day,
As we read the gospel today, we see that Jesus faced those trials as well. The only one who has walked through life, who would could make a claim to wear the Father’s shoes, to wield His authority.
Will we learn the lesson His actions teach us? Or will we try to take on temptation by falling for Satan’s spin on the scriptures?
Imagine 40 days without your favorite meal or snack, or your favorite beverage! Never mind, we are in Lent, and some of you are doing just that! Jesus was going not 40 days without a specific food, or without coffee, but 40 days without normal dietary intake, without chocolate, or pizza, or bacon, or coffee! We could have just eaten, and yet walking in the parking lot over at the Town Centre and smelling the fumes from Wood Ranch’s ovens can cause us to be hungry!
He wasn’t just hungry, our Lord was starving, His body would have been rebelling against Him, when Satan walks up and offers a solution to Jesus. Just turn these rocks into a nice roll from Panera, or one of those donuts, you know that will be sitting in the MPR about 30 minutes from now.
It’s simple – use what you have, to get something that will take care of your needs.
Which is where many of us fail, as we use what we’ve been blessed with, to get what we want, what we desire, what we feel we deserve.
Like Wednesday night’s sermon, the issue is being content, trusting God with what He’s provided, what He’s called us, where He has placed us in life.
Jesus’s answer is the answer of faith. To trust every word, every promise that comes from the mouth of God. Those words strengthen us, enable us to keep our attention on God, and His work in our life.
It is not easy, Luther put it this way,
I believe that God created me, along with all creatures. He gave to me: body and soul, eyes, ears and all the other parts of my body, my mind and all my senses and preserves them as well. He gives me clothing and shoes, food and drink, house and land, wife and children, fields, animals and all I own. Every day He abundantly provides everything I need to nourish this body and life. He protects me against all danger, shields and defends me from all evil. He does all this because of His pure, fatherly and divine goodness and His mercy, not because I’ve earned it or deserved it. For all of this, I must thank Him, praise Him, serve Him and obey Him. Yes, this is true!
As we will see in each of the temptations, the key isn’t doing it by our strength, by trying to be strong enough to resist temptation, but to turn to God, to His promises, to remember we dwell in His presence, and to know His heart towards us.
The second temptation that Jesus faces is another we are far too familiar with, the temptation of hearing what we want from people, and trying that trick with God. Satan wants us to hear or read the Bible in such a way, that we believe we will never face hardship, never face trauma. No matter what we do, or don’t do.
That sin? Oh, don’t worry about it! Everything you want will be as you deserve! Obedience? Faithfulness? Actually studying the scripture? Prayer? Suffering? It’s not that big of a deal! Gossip, sexual immorality, hatred, not reconciling with people? Nothing to worry about – no side affects! Remember – God will forgive every sin! Pastor said so! Satan would have us know exactly enough scripture that we can act self-righteous, while doing what we want. All thiswhile putting our faith in promises God has never made the way Satan spins them.
Jesus’ answer to Satan again isn’t to fight Satan’s scripture twisting by his own authority, but He returns to scripture, to the commands of God, and rebukes Him from the word of God He knew so well. Don’t put God to the test! It reminds me of what is found in Jude’s little epistle, about the archangel Michael:
9 But even Michael, one of the mightiest of the angels, did not dare accuse the devil of blasphemy, but simply said, “The Lord rebuke you!” Jude 1:9 (NLT)
It is a tactic that is necessarily employed in spiritual warfare, in dealing with temptation. To remember that we don’t wear the Father in Heaven’s shoes, that we aren’t God, but that He is with us, guiding us, that the scriptures reveal He is with us, and that He reigns….
Which is what the last temptation is about, the one where Satan makes a bold promise. Here is everything you desire, the power to save those you love, the power to do whatever you want in their lives.
Oh gosh how tempting this one is in life. What if Satan offered to us unlimited funds for missions. Wouldn’t it be great to have rescued the 33 missionaries about to be killed in North Korea, or feed those starving? Or the ability to cure everyone who suffered from cancer, or diabetes, or heart disease. What if we could bring every person back who has lost their faith, or those who’ve left and healed every painful memory?
Would that be worth bowing before him, for just a moment? Would it be worth it, to set aside the promises of God, for these false promises? Would it be worth it to give up our relationship with God, and all He is for us, to for a moment, to know the illusion of everything being “right”
What could a few seconds of bowing mean? Right?
It’s not just a bow, it’s worship, it submission, it is confessing who has responsibility for your life, it’s about who you trust in, for life, to love you, to care for you in every instance.
Do you want the devil, who would devour you? Or do you want the Triune God, who in Christ came to take on our failure to overcome temptation, who to on our failures, our brokenness, who would bring us back to our Father in Heaven? Who took on our temptation, and defeated Satan, not just in this passage, but the cross
When it comes down to it, who do you want responsible for you?
The one who brings division and temptation, and the one called the Accuser of the family of God.
Or the one who heals.
Rely, trust, believe and know the God who loves you – who died for you.. who lives with you. Know His word and follow His example – don’t take the devil on your own, don’t hear just what you want to hear – but know the God who walks with you… who brings you into His glory, His peace.
About justifiedandsinnerI am a pastor of a Concordia Lutheran Church in Cerritos, California, where we rejoice in God's saving us from our sin, and the unrighteousness of the world. It is all about His work, the gift of salvation given to all who trust in Jesus Christ, and what He has done that is revealed in Scripture. God deserves all the glory, honor and praise, for He has rescued and redeemed His people.
Posted on March 9, 2014, in Sermons and tagged Abundant Life, Concordia Lutheran Church, god the father, grace of God, Jesus, life with God, playing God, sin, temptation. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.