“The tempter approached…” —Matthew 4:3
God does not tempt (Jas 1:13). Rather, the tug and lure of our own sinful nature is what leads us to temptation (Jas 4:1ff; see also Heb 4:15; 2:18). Temptations often occur during Lent. Temptation can strengthen us, much like a drill sergeant toughens the troops for battle. We might wonder where God is during our temptations. The Lord is “with us” while we are tempted (Mt 1:23; 28:20). The devil wants us to forget that God loves us. But Satan is a liar (Jn 8:44). He lies about God’s character (see Gn 3:4-5). Jesus did not engage Satan in conversation, and likewise we must never do that. Like Jesus, we must tell the evil one to leave: “Away with you, Satan!” (Mt 4:10) Satan often lures us with the promise of things that are not his to give. His promises are “empty promises.” What Satan really has to give us are chains that bind, not something to free us or give us new, joyful life. Adam and Eve did not hide from God until after they sinned (Gn 3:6-8). After we succumb to temptation, Satan turns from making empty promises to accusing (Rv 12:10), and then to condemning. Jesus was tempted at the end of his forty-day fast (Mt 4:2), when He was nearing the finish line of His race. Likewise, it is often when the victory is the closest that the temptations come. God is near, ever at our side. Call upon Him in time of temptation.
PRAYER: Father, may I hide Your Word in my heart, that I may not sin against You (Ps 119:11).
PROMISE: “Through one Man’s obedience all shall become just.” —Rm 5:19
PRAISE: “Both with and in Christ Jesus He raised us up and gave us a place in the heavens” (Eph 2:6). Father, thank You for Your divine plan. I trust Jesus and reject Satan.