Word for the day by Christian Education Forum
Christ Who Transcends Temptations
One of my favorite songs that we would sing during Sunday School Praise & Worship went like this: “The wise man built his house upon the Rock/The rains came down and the floods came up/ But the house on the Rock stood firm./ The foolish man built his house upon the sand/ The rains came down and the floods came up/ And the house on the sand fell flat. The song’s message isn’t about literal rocks and sand, but rather about a life rooted in God’s Word in comparison to a life without it. The Bible presents the foolish and the wise men’s stories in both the Old Testament and New Testament, respectively.
In Genesis 3:1-16, we see the temptation of the first human beings, Adam and Eve. They were tempted by Satan in three ways:
1. The tree was good for food (Lust of the Flesh)
2. Lust of the Eyes (Pleasing to the Eye)
3. They were attracted by the ability to know more (Desirable for Gaining Wisdom)
Satan tempts the two by distorting their perception of God’s word by misquoting God or even reshaping it so that that it made seem that God did not know what was best for them. We can see that it is this doubtfulness or unstableness in their faith in God that causes Adam and Eve to stumble.
However, we can say that Christ was tempted on the same three levels but has a different response:
1. Lust of the Flesh - “The devil said to him, “If you are the Son of God, tell this stone to become bread” (Luke 4:3).
2. Pleasing to the Eye - “The devil led him up to a high place and showed him in an instant all the kingdoms of the world. And he said to him, “I will give you all their authority and splendor; it has been given to me, and I can give it to anyone I want to. If you worship me, it will all be yours” (Luke 4: 5-7).
3. Desirable for Gaining Wisdom – “The devil led him to Jerusalem and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. ‘If you are the Son of God,’ he said, ‘throw yourself down from here’” (Luke 4:9).
Satan uses the same strategy of reinterpreting the Word of God, but Christ relies on the same words to defeat the devil. The recognition of the power that lies in the truthfulness in the Word of God is what enables us stand firm in the midst of temptations.
The first Adam, the “foolish man,” and the second Adam, “the wise man,” are tempted the same way, but the second Adam was able to conquer such temptations because his life was rooted in his faith. How strong is the power of our faith over temptation? Are we alert to withstand the temptations of Satan? Are we going to be like Adam and Eve or be like Jesus? Unlike Adam and Eve who relied on their intuition to make decisions, Christ shows that it is not mankind’s wisdom or “sand” that saves us from the attacks of the enemy, but rather the faith rooted in God’s truth, the “rock,” that enables us. It is inevitable that we will be tempted, but how we choose to respond to these temptations is what we have the ability to control. We are equipped with the same resources that Christ relied on to be victorious: the Word of God and prayer. We also can turn to Christ because he has struggled with Satan but has remained righteous. My cherished Sunday School song ends with, “So build your life on the Lord Jesus Christ, And the blessings will come down.” Thus, let us build our foundation on the rock of God, so that we may not be swept away by the temptations of this world.
Lord, thank you for being right beside us during life’s decisions, whether they are great or small. Help us not to fall into the temptations of the world, but rather fall into your loving and gracious arms. Amen.
Thought for the day
“The best way to escape temptation is to run to God.”