Temptation is a funny thing, isn’t it? Deep down, you know this choice, or that decision, would be wrong. And yet, you experience this intense desire to do it anyway.
It’s that voice that echoes Satan in the Garden of Eden, “Did God really say you can’t do that?” Deep down, we know exactly what God really did say. We know God clearly commands us to be self-less, not selfish. But, the tempting voice comes back stronger “Nah, you’ll be fine. In fact, you’ll actually be glad you did. Just do it.”
You probably noticed this the first time through, but if you were to re-read the above two paragraphs, you’d notice they’re a bit vague. “Insert yourself here…” if you will. The temptations I struggle with most, probably aren’t the temptations you struggle with. The temptations you struggle with most probably aren’t the temptations your spouse/best friend/neighbor/co-workers/family members struggle with.
But understand this, while the specifics of our unique temptations may be quite different, Satan’s strategies to make us stumble are about as consistent and predictable as one could imagine. From his (Satan’s) perspective, they’re tried and true. They worked in the Garden of Eden and they work on us. He even used them on Jesus.
But that didn’t work so well. Satan threw every trick in the book at Jesus—every tried and true trick that has led mankind astray for millennia. Jesus didn’t flinch. Oh, he was really tempted. Just like you and me. But where we fail, Jesus prevailed.
And here’s the cool part. Your Savior Jesus didn’t prevail so you could receive a blueprint for your own success. He prevailed for you. Jesus’ victory over Satan has been given to you as a gift. (1 Corinthians 15:57) That means, when your God looks at you, instead of seeing your failed attempts to overcome Satan’s tricks, He only sees Jesus’s success which, through faith in your Savior Jesus, has now become your success (Romans 4).
I look forward to digging deeper into this fascinating example of Jesus’ love for you, with you, this weekend.
Lord’s blessings on the rest of your week!
P.S. - If you missed Ash Wednesday, take a few minutes to listen to the sermon. You’ll find it on the Sermon Audio page under the Alive and Growing tab!