January 3 – Tempted but Triumphed (Gen 6-7, Mt 3-4)
It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone but by every word that comes from the mouth of God – Matthew 4:4
Temptations are part and parcel of our human and even Christian life.
The difference is whether we triumph over them or are ruled by them. Our own strength is insufficient against the onslaught of temptation. In the strength of Christ and his Word however, triumph is possible.
Before the start of his ministry, Jesus is tempted in the Wilderness for forty days.
In this narrative, we find a comparison with the story of Adam (and Eve) in Genesis 3. While both Adam and Christ are tempted, Adam falls while Christ stands. While Adam is driven to doubt God’s Word, Jesus is driven to trust in God’s Word. The temptations in Matthew 4 have to do with our human nature: food for the stomach, twisting God’s word as a cover-up for spirituality and the last one, power for vain glory. All these are potential areas of temptations for all Christians.
How can we triumph?
It is written.
Jesus here drives us back to the power of God’s Word. It is best captured in his first response where he notes that we have not only been created to be satisfied by the best of our cultural cuisines, but rather, our strength, our spiritual strength, comes from God’s Word, living and active in our lives. Jesus himself is called “the Bread of Life”. He is indeed the better Adam – where Adam and human beings fail, Jesus has triumphed, and we together with him. So John confidently reminds us “Little children, you are from God and have overcome them, for he (Jesus Christ) who is in you is greater than he who is in the world (satan)” (1 John 4:4). We triumph in Christ!
- What temptations lure you?
- How is Jesus Christ the basis of our triumph?
- What steps will you take to fight temptation (1 Co 10:12-13)?
Our Father, we acknowledge that without Christ we would utterly crush under the weight of temptation. We lift our heads and look to Jesus Christ, who though tempted in every way like us, was without sin. Grant us both the grace and strength to fight temptation, and to walk the narrow path that leads to victory. Help us to see your provision of grace today to triumph in Christ. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
A devotional reflection by Kevin Muriithi on the Tabletalk Bible reading plan.
Feature image by Aaron Burden from http://www.unsplash.com