It is not the strength of your faith but the object of your faith that actually saves you. – Timothy Keller, The Reason for God
For many years the church has taught to overcome temptation by doing what Jesus did. If I were teaching how to overcome temptation from a “What WOULD Jesus do?” approach, then I might say something like this:
WWJD? Jesus quoted Scripture. So I want you to memorize as many Bible verses as possible so you have a catalog of all the right ones. You’ll need a lot of them because you never know when the enemy will find you alone and depleted.
Before you subscribe to that idea, I want to make an observation: Why is it that we would imitate the Scripture memorization from Luke 4, but we wouldn’t do the other things Jesus did?
For example, why isn’t anyone fleeing to the desert or spending 40 days without food? I mean, really, if we were going to do what Jesus did in order to overcome temptation, then we’d need to do three things:
- Stop eating.
- Find a desert.
- And quote Scripture in context pertaining to the specific temptation we were facing. (Luke 4:1-2, 4, 8, 12)
That’s a little extreme. I want to suggest that we aren’t supposed to imitate Jesus, for we are very poor imitations of the Son of God. Luke 4 isn’t a formula for resisting temptation; instead, it offers hope when facing temptations.
Rather than ask, “What WOULD Jesus do?” I want you to ask, “What WILL Jesus do?”
If Jesus is the same yesterday, today, and forever, and IF Jesus indwells me and lives through me, THEN what will Jesus do if I’m tempted?
He’ll say no.
If you read through Luke 4 again, notice how Jesus is absolutely passionate about his “no.” He never wavers. You never wonder if He’s about to fail. Jesus is much stronger than Satan, and when temptation comes full force, there is no contest.
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