Luke 11:4c …and lead us not into temptation.
Matthew 6:13 And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.
The other night in our men’s group a friend expressed how much the above verses impacted him. “Lead us not into temptation.” As I pondered on what my friend said, I was taken back to a very familiar interpretation around overcoming temptation that God placed on my heart years ago.
As I was teaching about Jesus’ 40 days of fasting in the wilderness and the temptation that Satan attempted I realized a powerful weapon for overcoming temptation…scripture.
Every time Satan tempted Jesus (we only read of three, but the passage says, [Matt. 4:1] “Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the desert to be tempted by the devil.” [Lk. 4:2] …”where for 40 days he was tempted by the devil.” So we know it was probably more than three times, likely continuous) he answered with scripture. Matthew 4:4 “It is written…” Matthew 4:7 “…it is also written…” Luke 4:4 “It is written…” Luke 4:8 “It is written…” Luke 4:12 “It says…” Every time except once (and that time he tells Satan “away from me”) Jesus answers with scripture.
So it was revealed to me, the way to overcome temptation is to have scripture written on my heart. For years, preachers and teachers urged me to read to Word daily. And for years I would do okay for a while, with guilt. There are many purposes for getting into the Word of God; knowledge of Him, life lessons, living in His kingdom, knowing what to obey, etc. One of the purposes that I had not thought about was to know scripture well enough to stand against temptation.
Jesus knew the scripture by heart and was able to quote it to Satan and stop his temptation in its tracks. Now, I know that Jesus was the Son of God, so he should know the Word, since he was the Word. So, this gives him some kind of advantage, right? Well, we have to remember that he was fully human as well as God. Jesus had to do what all Jewish boys had done. By the time he was 8 years old, he would have had the first five books of the Old Testament memorized. And since he was called “Rabbi”, I am certain that he had much more memorized by this time.
What is cool about this is that many times as I look back on past success vs. temptation, I can tie it to the scriptures that are written on my heart. Now, I do not have passages memorized near like Jesus did, but I do have something written on my heart from past studying. I have failed many times vs. temptation as well. Hope fully as God continues to remind me, like he did with my friend the other night, I will dive in to scripture more and be able to stand my ground against temptation. Hopefully this will inspire you to do this as well. God will be there right beside you as you write scripture on your heart. “…and lead us not into temptation.”
- Explain a situation in life where you were able to overcome a temptation due to your knowledge of scripture.
- What is a favorite passage that helps you stand firm against temptation?
- What were the differences between Satan tempting Adam and Eve and Satan Tempting Jesus?
- What are you willing to do to re-commit to reading scripture on a regular basis?
- Spend some time in silence and prayer and imagine Jesus is sitting right there beside you. What would he tell you about temptation and the Word?