Weekly Feature



2018-03-14 / Lifestyles

CLERGY COLUMN

Temptation can be avoided through faith
REV. ALDEN SNELL
Baptist Minister living in Clarence

I n our busy society, people struggle with knowing how to best use time. We try to finish tasks faster, often overlooking the quality of work. In our lives of faith, we may think that we don’t have personal time for daily prayer or Bible study. Christians need to be alert to recognize that Satan is always looking for an opportune time to tempt us to avoid time with God. As we struggle with temptations, let us strive to remember the example Jesus offers to us through the story of his own temptation.

There is a special sacredness to this story. The language comes from the words of Jesus himself. After Jesus’ baptism, he knew of the Holy Spirit offering exceptional power during this period of physical and spiritual struggle as he was tempted by Satan. Our powers may not be the same when faced with our own physical and spiritual struggles with daily temptations. The ones that we seem to recall are those that may have had a greater impact on our lives.

God knows that there will be times of trials in our faith journey, similar to those faced by Jesus. Satan’s temptation will be ever present to lure us to do evil. As we choose our response to temptation’s trials, let us be alert to the absolute contrast between Jesus and Satan.

Satan first tempts Jesus to turn stones into bread, an attractive solution to a physical problem. Satan may tempt Christians that their physical condition is a good reason to avoid helping self or others deal with a spiritual hunger. The task of Christianity is to produce a new person with new conditions to follow. Satan’s second temptation is offering to share with Jesus all authority and splendor of the world’s kingdoms. Satan was offering Jesus a compromise, to avoid the cross with a shortcut to world dominion by choosing to worship Satan. Had Jesus accepted Satan’s offer, our salvation would have been impossible. Jesus reminds Satan that worship and service are to be for the Lord God only. There can be no compromise in the war on evil. Christians are to reject any proposals that exclude God’s standards. The third temptation has Satan with Jesus at the top of the temple. Satan desires to give people a spectacle by inviting Jesus as the Son of God to throw himself off the temple. Would God’s promised protection by the angels prevent any harm to the Messiah? Jesus’ response reminds us that we are not to test the Lord God. Let us perceive that the mere use of Bible words, as Satan may do, does not necessarily convey the will of God.

In truth, Jesus’ temptations by Satan were a long battle that never ceased until the cross. We know that throughout these temptations, Jesus reflected a strong reliance on the Holy Spirit. Jesus ends the story by saying the tempter left that day looking for an appropriate time to try again for success. Satan is still looking daily for a timely moment to find success in tempting us to sin. Therefore, as Jesus showed us, let us rely on Scripture and faith to be ready for when Satan thinks it is an opportune time. Let our faith in Christ, led by the Holy Spirit, prove Satan wrong. Jesus won the victory over salvation, and each Christian can do the same with God’s Holy Spirit as power guiding our lives of faith.

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