Monday, October 17, 2011

Temptation

I'm doing a new Beth Moore study called "Jesus The Only and Only".  Another fabulous study about which I can't say enough good things.  I love deep studies and Beth Moore is exceptional at going deep.  She asks questions that really get you thinking.  Thinking like you've never done before, or at least don't do on a regular basis.  Especially in Bible study.  I used to shy away from studies like hers because I couldn't think that deep.  That's a sad statement, isn't it?  But I'm so thankful that the Lord has renewed my mind and I am able to get deep with her studies now!  They refresh me.  I crave them.  I can't live without them.  Well, I can, but they teach me how to dig deeper into God's Word. She has taught me how to visualize the words on the pages of my Bible so the stories become "real" to me instead of just stories.  That's what God wants for us!  He didn't give us His Word so that we would stare at it with glossy eyes wondering what it all means.  But it takes some digging to understand it.  And it definitely takes the Holy Spirit to help translate it to our hearts.  That's new to me.

I would like to encourage you to go deep with your Bible.  If it's not in your budget to purchase a Beth Moore study (or something similar) every couple of months, don't give up.  There are so many resources out there that can help you study God's Word.  I googled "free bible study" and got Bible Study Lessons. I haven't done any of their studies but they look great.  If that's not the right one for you, keep searching.  If nothing else, ask God to help you understand His Word better and get from it what He wants you to get.  Ask Him to fill you with His Holy Spirit and then let the Holy Spirit speak to your heart.  You'll be blessed beyond belief and won't regret it.

Yesterday's lesson was a good one.  She talks about the temptations of Jesus and their significance to us.  Satan uses the same temptations today on us that he used on Christ in the wilderness when Jesus walked the earth so long ago.  When Jesus was hungry (he fasted the 40 days in the wilderness) the enemy tempted him with food.  But his response was, "Man shall not live on bread alone." (Deut. 8:3 and Luke 4:4)  This means that our relationship with Him is more important even than food.  Sure, if we don't eat we'll eventually die, but if Jesus is our everything then it's better to die and be with Him than to eat and live without him.

His second temptation was "If you worship me (Satan), it will all be yours." (Luke 4:7)  Beth Moore points out how much Jesus might have loved the idea of taking the authority out of Satan's hands: "Can you imagine how Christ must feel as He watches the state of the world under the influence of the evil prince's authority? Oppression, violence, and deception characterize the world God loves.  Surely Christ is counting the days until He can grab the deed restriction to the world and reign in righteousness."

Christ's response to Satan's offer: "Worship the Lord your God and serve Him only." (Luke 4:8)

The last temptation Satan used was, "Throw yourself down from here." They were on the highest point of the temple now and Satan was tempting Jesus to test God.  But in addition to that she says Satan may have had a second intention in this particular temptation: "The placement of the temptation at the temple suggests that the enemy may have been hoping a dramatic scene would cause the Jews to hail Jesus as their king before He faced the cross."

John 6:14-15 - "After the people saw the sign Jesus performed, they began to say, 'Surely this is the Prophet who is to come into the world.'  Jesus, knowing that they intended to come and make him king by force, withdrew again to a mountain by himself."

She says, "If Christ had forgone the cross, He would have been no less God, but we would be lost."

His response to this last temptation: "It is said, 'Do not put the Lord your God to the test.'" (Luke 4:12 and Deut. 6:16)

So what these temptations teach us is that times of temptation don't mean that God is displeased with us, that Satan is persistent and he doesn't give up after one or two tries, and Scripture is the most powerful tool we have against Satan.  "Don't fight back with your words, fight back with God's!"

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