Do you know how to battle temptation?
There’s a lot packed into Matthew 3-4. In these two chapters the author recounts John the Baptist’s preparatory ministry, as well as the beginning of Jesus’ preaching career. Right in the middle of these two chapters, after Jesus’ baptism, is the account of his time in the wilderness. During this 40-day period, Jesus fasted and was tempted by Satan. This account is important because it teaches us how we ought to handle temptation when it comes our way.
Now, we often think Jesus is superhuman and didn’t have to face temptation like we did. But, Hebrews 4:15 tells us that we have a great high priest (Jesus) who was tempted in all the same ways we are. This means his temptations to sin were just as real as ours. Yet, his response is wholly different from ours. He battled each temptation without falling into sin. How’d he do it?
Jesus conquered temptation on two fronts: 1) his reliance on the Spirit of God, and 2) his mastery of the Scriptures. At every turn, Jesus quotes Scripture to Satan, deflecting his temptations. He didn’t rely on his own strength, but the strength that comes from knowing how to wield the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God (Ephesians 6).
In much the same way, if we are going to have victory over temptation, we must know God’s Word. When we look at the Ephesians 6 armor, it is our only offensive weapon, and its use requires mastery. This is why we spend time studying the Bible and memorizing Scripture. We do it so the Spirit can help us battle temptation at every turn.
Today, as you meditate on this passage, ask the Lord to reveal ways you can increase your mastery of his Word.