And here’s how to resist temptation
By Jessica Brodie
It was so hard to resist. I knew I shouldn’t eat that whole box of cereal, but I was tired and hungry, my late-night editing project had morphed into a monster, my resistances were down, and it looked incredibly, crunch-tastically good.
One bowl turned into another, and soon I had an empty box and a bellyache. I’d caved to temptation and now I was paying the price.
We all face temptations, and unfortunately they’re not always as simple as a bowl of cinnamon cereal. And they can be so difficult to resist! Sometimes thinking about the consequences can stop us from going down the wrong path. Other times, well….
It helps to know Jesus, A.K.A. God Who Became Flesh Just Like Us, also faced temptation. And his resistances had to have been shot, too—in the Gospel of Matthew (4:1-11) we learn he went into the wilderness and fasted for 40 days when the devil came to tempt him. First of all: 40 days. Days! I get grumpy when I skip breakfast.
And then temptation, the devil himself, was before him. He tempted Jesus with bread, with riches, with power— and yet Jesus resisted every time.
The story gives us a powerful example: not only because it shows us that we can and should resist temptation, but also how we should do so.
Jesus resisted temptation by countering it with God’s holy word. He didn’t say “no thanks, I’m set,” didn’t rely on his own brain or willpower to stand strong. To every temptation that came from the devil, he offered Scripture in response:
“‘It’s written, People won’t live only by bread, but by every word spoken by God. … Again it’s written, Don’t test the Lord your God. … Go away, Satan, because it’s written, You will worship the Lord your God and serve only him’” (Matthew 4:4,7,10 CEB).
The devil couldn’t fight that kind of strength and power. Tail between his legs, he took off.
And Jesus triumphed—over earth, over sin, over temptation. Amen!
I know when I’m tired and overworked, I don’t need a bowl of cereal—I need holy rest in the arms of my savior. Salvation doesn’t come in a bowl of crunchy deliciousness with milk poured on top. It comes through the Creator God who became flesh and died on the cross so I could have the path to eternal life.
I know I can counter temptation by looking past it to the Truth. By following Jesus’s example I can stand firm and counter what’s before me with God’s word.
His word is far stronger than my own faulty and very human willpower and strength. His word is eternal and almighty.
His word triumphs—forever and ever.