Once again, David’s message this morning got me thinking. I always love his messages, but I especially love the ones that cause me to truly explore my own heart and figure out exactly what God is saying to me…personally.
David has taught and spoken on this subject since before we married. I’m very familiar with it. He used to call it “Tips for Triumph over Temptation”…and anyone who has heard it will remember how powerful it is. Granted, many times in the past, he has taught it to teenagers (for years!) but, as he said today, you never outgrow temptation…and just because you may be mature in age and/or faith, that doesn’t mean that Satan is done with you, trying to pull you away from your commitment to Christ and tangle you up in your own shoestrings.
Something new hit me today, though. If you’re unfamiliar with the story, it’s found in Matthew 4:1-11 and Luke 4:1-14. Read it.
As the story goes, Jesus had been fasting 40 days and was in the desert. Satan came and tempted Him three ways. He tempted him to DO something God didn’t want him to do, to BE something God didn’t want him to be, and to HAVE something God didn’t want him to have. And if you look at our lives, we struggle with the same three things…over…and over…and over…and over……
Satan reminded Jesus of His (Jesus’) power to make things happen. He reminded Him that He had the power to turn stones into scones to feed himself after fasting…that He had the power to jump from the highest point on the Temple and land like a feather floating to the ground…that He had the power to be the owner of all of earth’s kingdoms if He would just worship Satan (which really, Jesus already owned them anyway).
If you’re like me, you’d say, “Well, these temptations don’t apply to me because I don’t have the power to change rocks, land lightly or own kingdoms.” But, here’s where the new revelation hit me (and if it already hit you, I’m just slow lol)
Temptation isn’t about power, but about choices. Yes, Satan used Jesus’ obvious power to tempt him…but the temptation was actually choosing to do those things…or to not.
Every one of us have had, and will continue to have, desert temptations. But remember this: Satan will never tempt us to do something we don’t have the power to do. He won’t tempt us to turn rocks to bread…he won’t tempt us to jump from high places. What good would that do? But what he will do is tempt us with a choice…a choice to do things our way, meet our own needs our own way…fulfill our desires our way…in our own time (usually right now). The temptation is to “short-circuit” God’s design…to “bypass” God’s plan. That’s what Jesus’ desert temptation is showing us. It’s showing us that we have a choice…to choose God, or to choose us.
What is it in your life that you’re trying to do…that God doesn’t want you to do?
What is it in your life that you’re trying to be…that God doesn’t want you to be?
What is it in your life that you’re trying to have…that God doesn’t want you to have?
One of the Scriptures that David used this morning was Jeremiah 2:13 … “My people…have turned away from me, the spring of living water. And they have dug their own wells, which are broken wells that cannot hold water.”
Are you digging useless, broken wells instead of relying and trusting on God, “the Spring of living water”? He’ll let you dig your wells, you know? I imagine Him as a father, watching his child try and try to do something on his own, that he knows he’s not strong enough or big enough or wise enough to do…sitting there, arms crossed, as if to say, “Go ahead. Work hard at that thing. And when you get tired enough, and when you finally realize that your work is in vain, I’ll be here to provide the help you need.”
Let’s let go of the doing, the being and the having, unless it’s in line with what God wants us to do, be or have. And let’s depend on the One who gave us all of the desires we have…and let Him fulfill them the way it was always meant to be. And then get ready…because another desert temptation is right around the corner.