What Are We Tempted With? What Is Our "Wilderness"?
Jesus in human body experienced similar temptations we encounter today to provide a scriptural example for us to imitate and incorporate into our own actions and responses. Satan uses the same taunting temptations with us that he tried to use with Jesus. If Satan tempted even Jesus, who are we to think sinful temptation could never happen to us. Yet, that perilous complacency reveals the core of every temptation, pride.
The first temptation of Jesus in the wilderness was self-sufficiency. When Jesus was hungry after going without food for 40 days, he could’ve fallen into the trap of instant gratification. Taking matters into his own hands to relieve his hunger instead of waiting on God for provision through the angels tending to him (Mark 1:13).
Satan knows to strike when we’re at our weakest point physically, mentally, or spiritually. It could be fear, exhaustion, hunger, impatience, anger, distress, depression, disappointment, worry, or anything that detracts us from seeking God and his will for us.
The prideful temptation we all face is thinking we don’t need God, this time. I can do it myself. There’s an innate desire to prove our own self-worth apart from God in a wilderness of trying to satisfy a hunger for success, popularity, recognition, fulfillment, comfort, wealth . . . now!
Then the devil said to him, “If you are the Son of God, tell this stone to become a loaf of bread.” Luke 4:3
The second temptation of Jesus in the wilderness was power. Lusting after what isn’t or shouldn’t be ours and envying others who have more than we do. We live daily in a worldly dark wilderness that idolizes prominent people, positions, and possessions.
We want control over our destiny and when we’re successful, it’s tempting to bask in the splendor, authority, and fame while taking all the credit ourselves instead of giving the glory to God.
Succumbing to this alluring worldly temptation provides a false sense of power over other people and our own circumstances. We want to “have it all,” no matter the cost or loss. While singing 'give me more of Jesus,' we’re living 'give me more of the world.'
If you, then, will worship me [Satan], it will all be yours. Luke 4:7
The third temptation of Jesus in the wilderness was making unwise choices. Choosing to live recklessly and expecting God to come to our rescue. The Lord has given us all free will, but he’s only a prayer away when we’re having trouble making a decision or tempted to think we can do something ungodly and God will protect us from harm. Our wilderness is the expanse of choices confronting us every day, especially through the vast array of temptations via access to mobility, electronics, and Big Tech.
Satan whispers in our ear that there won’t be any consequences for making wrong choices that “He [God] will command his angels concerning you, to guard you.” Luke 4:10
We may sense the Holy Spirit warning our conscience against harming others or ourselves but act anyway. God is always there to forgive us when we repent from wrongdoing, but he will not defend us when we intentionally sin or live unwisely.
If you are wise and understand God’s ways, prove it by living an honorable life, doing good works with the humility that comes from wisdom. James 3:13 NLT
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