January 29, 2020

Answering Temptation with Scripture

Matthew 4:1-10

With my lips I recount all the laws that come from your mouth.

—  Psalm 119:13

We all face temptations. And we have to admit that sometimes we resist them and other times we don’t. Maybe it’s something that nearly everyone does, like gossiping or being judgmental of others. Or maybe it’s a secret sin that no one else knows about.

Whatever our temptations may be, we don’t face them alone. Jesus was tempted too. After his baptism, Jesus withdrew to the wilderness for a spiritual retreat and an extended fast. Sensing Jesus’ weariness and weakness, the devil came and tempted him three times. In each temptation, the devil enticed Jesus to turn away from God’s Word to fulfill a desire for personal gain.

Despite his physical need and exhaustion, Jesus fought off each temptation and resisted the devil. He did so in a way that the author of Psalm 119 would have understood: Jesus resisted temptation by using the truths of Scripture. In all three instances, Jesus quoted passages from God’s Word.

When we face temptation, we have the comfort of knowing that Jesus has experienced temptation firsthand and is with us as we struggle to make the right choice. With this ­assurance in mind, we can actively resist temptation by answering it with the truth of God’s Word, like Jesus did.

Store up God’s Word in your heart. Then, when temptation comes, resist it with the truth of God’s Word, knowing that God will give you strength.

Lord, you are our refuge and our shield. Help us to put our hope in your Word and in you. Amen.

About the author — Kurt Selles

Kurt Selles is the director of ReFrame Ministries and serves as the Executive Editor of Today. He is a graduate of Calvin College and Seminary, and received his PhD from Vanderbilt University. Before coming to ReFrame, he served 19 years in Taiwan and China with CRC World Missions. Kurt later taught missions at Beeson Divinity School, where he also acted as the director of the school’s Global Center. Kurt and his wife, Vicki, reside in Grand Rapids and have three adult children.

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