Yesterday at Mt Vernon we finished a series on temptation called “The Fight of Your Life.” Pulling from Jesus’ temptations in the wilderness, here are four BIG Ideas we learned over the series.
Week #1 – When you’re tempted, there’s always more at stake than you think. We delude ourselves into thinking that temptation is just about the moment. It’s just one decision, one text, one drink, one weekend. But there’s always more at stake than we think. Looking back at our lives, we can trace some of our greatest regrets back to temptations that we gave into.
Week #2 – Temptation is always a test of your faith, not just your self-control. Pulling from Jesus’ first temptation to turn stones into bread, we learned that temptation always comes down to a test of our faith. Do we trust God to meet our needs, or will we give in and try to meet our legitimate needs in illegitimate ways? Is God faithful?
Week #3 – We’re called to cooperate with God, not manipulate him. Jesus’ second temptation was a crisis of authority. He was tempted to manipulate God, to presume on him, force God to do his bidding. The scary thing is that the more religious you are, the easier it is to fall for this temptation. Yet we’re called to cooperate with God, not manipulate him.
Week #4 – Shortcuts will always shortchange you. Jesus’ final temptation was to pursue the right thing in the wrong way. It was the temptation to cheat, to cut corners, to take a shortcut. When we take shortcuts, we are ultimately valuing (and worshipping) our goals, progress, even ourselves above God and his ways. In the end, shortcuts will always shortchange us.
Wherever you are in life when you encounter this blog, my prayer is that you can spot the lies of temptation and fight back with the truth of God’s word. May the truth of 1 Corinthians 10:13 be planted deep in your soul. “No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.”