The temptations of Christ in today’s Christian community.

Have you ever looked at a scripture and then realized that you have never seen what it actually says? As I began to look at the temptations of Christ, I realized that at least every leader, if not every Christian, is tempted in like fashion as Jesus was. It is sad that satan does not have to at least change tactics. We tend to fall to what is already established like; “Did God say” or “If you are a son (or daughter) of God then…”

It is time for us to stop looking for the Glory of God to come upon us and look at why it hasn’t. Instead of dreaming or hoping for God’s provision, power and presence, maybe we should throw out our methodologies and/or doctrines and be willing to truly see what we refuse to see. Then we may be able to experience what we are longing for.

Mt 4:1 –Mt 4:11 (NKJV)

“Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil.

And when He had fasted forty days and forty nights, afterward He was hungry. Now when the tempter came to Him, he said, “If You are the Son of God, command that these stones become bread.”

But He answered and said, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.’”

Then the devil took Him up into the holy city, set Him on the pinnacle of the temple,

and said to Him, “If You are the Son of God, throw Yourself down. For it is written:

‘He shall give His angels charge over you,’

and,

‘In their hands they shall bear you up,

Lest you dash your foot against a stone.’”

Jesus said to him, “It is written again, ‘You shall not tempt the Lord your God.’”

Again, the devil took Him up on an exceedingly high mountain, and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory.

And he said to Him, “All these things I will give You if You will fall down and worship me.”

Then Jesus said to him, “Away with you, Satan! For it is written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God, and Him only you shall serve.’”

Then the devil left Him, and behold, angels came and ministered to Him.”

I believe that these temptations are not just the way the enemy worked in Jesus’ life but also the way he works in ours. Today we see western church in disarray and in the place of having no impact on those we are to reach. Maybe it is because we have fallen for the temptations that come when we walk a child of God.

It is interesting that these temptations, that Christ was and we are faced with, are actually about the inheritance God has for us, but not for us to take for ourselves! These common temptations are short cuts to something that in Father’s Kingdom comes by surrender and selflessness. We were never meant to take possession of God’s promises for our own sake but rather we are to walk like Jesus in humility and love.

When Jesus is baptized in the Spirit, immediately the Spirit leads Jesus into a wilderness intentionally – to be tempted by the devil. I find it interesting that the moment the Spirit comes upon Jesus He takes control of Jesus’ life. He leads, and then Jesus the man follows. That is the way it should be for us, but we think that the Spirit of God coming upon us means we get to speak in tongues and prophesy. It should be about relationship, surrender, and the power to present the truth of the Gospel to the world. (note; we are not sent to “tickle ears”).

In the temptations of Christ there is a single word at the beginning that interests me, and that word is, “IF”. Starting with “if “ is like beginning with, “did God really say”? … The enemy consistently seems to call into question what God has said or who we are in Christ. Father had spoken openly about Jesus saying, “This is my beloved Son, ..” The enemy heard this statement and when the Spirit of God led Jesus into the wilderness, satan was quick to test Jesus the man and see if he believed God or could be talked out of his relationship with Father, just like He did with Eve and Adam.

You do realize that since our enemy has no creative power, he has to wait for God or man to speak a truth or create something he can twist into doubt, disbelief, fear and eventually death. The enemy perverts the truth that God brings and turns it into something that exalts self and destroys our faith-based love relationship with Father.

Mt 4:2 –Mt 4:4 (NKJV)

And when He had fasted forty days and forty nights, afterward He was hungry. Now when the tempter came to Him, he said, “If You are the Son of God, command that these stones become bread.”

But He answered and said, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.’”

The first temptation; taking the power of our position and using this grace for the provision of self.

This is where the ‘give to get for me christian mindset’ originates. It stems from satan’s twisting God’s will of provision for us as we go in obedience to reach the world into something about self. This perversion of grace wants to take the provision that exists in Christ as we go and utilize it for self instead of being used for others’ welfare. The principle of ‘bread for self’ takes a promise God makes to take care of us as we are about His Kingdom work and transform it into a selfish “I deserve because I am God’s child”. The first temptation is about gain for yourself, thus it is about the lust of the flesh. Take a look at the Sower and the seed parable and look at the part about falling for the “cares of this world”. This sinful view of God’s promised provision is very similar. Some Christians think that we children of the King should have superior living status because we are Christians.

One of my most hated Christian sayings, “I am a King’s kid and I deserve… (whatever it is that makes me appear special).

How much of the Church has fallen for this first temptation of Christ? It hits at the core of worldly values and goals. (“What is in this for me”? )

Jesus’ response to the devil was (paraphrase); “being the Son of God is not about provision for me, it is about serving Father; hearing Father’s voice, trusting Him with my life, and following His personal, intimate direction to establish His will on earth.

Is this our response?

Injection here;

( Lust of the flesh shows up in many ways not just what we call deviant sins. Having ourselves seen as having favor or a position with God that is better than others are powerful lusts, as are many things that bring pleasure to our flesh. It can be talents or gifts that bring us prestige or any number of things that make us be seen as “special” like a job that shows me to be “better than others” or fancy cars, clothes, recreational toys, etc. All of these things speak, “look at me, I am special because I have. )

Mt 4:5 –Mt 4:7 (NKJV)

Then the devil took Him up into the holy city, set Him on the pinnacle of the temple,

and said to Him, “If You are the Son of God, throw Yourself down. For it is written:

‘He shall give His angels charge over you,’

and,

‘In their hands they shall bear you up,

Lest you dash your foot against a stone.’”

Jesus said to him, “It is written again, ‘You shall not tempt the Lord your God.’”

The second temptation is about taking the power of our position and utilizing it for self-exaltation.

This turns our whole salvation experience into something solely about us. Walking in this temptation actually causes us to tempt God with our arrogant declarations, like, “I am a son of God so no bad thing will happen to me, God has to take care of me”. We see God’s promises and adamantly proclaim that God must live up to them no matter how prideful or selfish we are. With this attitude we push God to the point that He has no choice but to let us fail. We tend to believe that our “position” means anything we do will succeed and that every promise is ours. Whether we “know” Him or obey His commands is not relavent to our thinking or demands that He keep us safe. God becomes our servant instead of us becoming His.

Our declarations are about us being seen as special, like spoiled children. In effect, we are exalting ourselves above God and demanding His obedience to the word we declare. We make the decision of when God must heal or when He must provide. It is arrogance and total selfish ambition to be exalted above others. We say it is so others’ will see how God’s kids live and they will want to be like us… in actuality it is prideful arrogance on our part. False humility adds arrogance to pride.

Jesus’ response to the enemy was “you shall not tempt the Lord your God”. Tempting Father and telling Him that He must protect us, even when we are not operating under His direction or personal command to us, could be a bit dangerous to our health and living. We are not operating out of relationship but demanding relationship includes benefits we decide it should contain.

The crazy things is that the benefits we are trying to demand are actually ours when we walk in submission and humility. As we seek His face and bow to do His will out of our passionate love for Him we will find ourselves in the position we are looking for (becoming the servant of all).

Mt 4:8 –Mt 4:10 (NKJV)

Again, the devil took Him up on an exceedingly high mountain, and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory.

And he said to Him, “All these things I will give You if You will fall down and worship me.”

Then Jesus said to him, “Away with you, Satan! For it is written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God, and Him only you shall serve.’”

The third temptation is taking God’s authority and making it ours; worshiping the authority of self.

This temptation is about our position, our heritage and our commission. Christians who say, “ I am in authority”; not recognizing God as supreme, nor recognizing that Jesus was under authority and never took His own authority while walking on earth as a man, are living in the ‘authority of self’. They tend to worship having authority, instead of God.

If you spend much time studying the four gospels you will find that Jesus never took His authority but always acted under authority. Many take Jesus statements to us and exclude the fact that He was a servant not a Lord. He came to serve, not to be served. The position we have in Father is that of Jesus’ brothers and sisters. We do not come to walk in authority the way the world exploits that word. We are to be like Jesus, servant sons and daughters, completing what Jesus began. We cannot take Lu. 10-19 without verse 20— we must not forget that it is grace that saves us, not “our” authority.

People acquainted with Jesus, but not understanding what it is to “know Him”, tend to want to show others how great they are and how God honors them. They will attempt to “show” others just who they are by commanding and declaring, ‘whatever it is they want to declare because of their authority’, and then they tell people by their actions and attitude that God must honor what they say or do. It is bound to fail as it is usurping God and who He is.

Jesus recognized the grace that saved Him as a man. He did not take what Father was giving Him and make a show of it or flaunt it. He was willing to submit to, the process of life, humbly that it would take to be whom Father commissioned Him to be, without taking the “glory” for what God did.

Jesus’ reply to the enemy was to say with emphasis, (paraphrase) “You shall prostrate yourself and give your life to Father wholly, without reservation, and live life solely to serve Him, for His Kingdom and purpose. You can only do this if you live in intimacy, (a dynamic, close, personal, intense fellowship) with Father.

Many times we Christians act a lot like satan, we want it all now! We want freely what God promises and gives us, but we want it with no commitment or responsibility; without honor, obedience and sacrifice to God… just give us provision, position, and authority now! In so doing, WE FALL TO THE TEMPTATIONS OF THE ENEMY – the very temptations Holy Spirit brought Christ into by His leading Jesus toward the commission of Father.

God threw satan out of heaven, took his provision, position and authority away and cast Him out…. God is going to give satan what he desired, it is called hell, a place devoid of God without light, life, or the ability to create anything, a dead place, but it will be a place he will have authority.

As for me, I want to live in Father’s provision, position and authority so I think I will not demand provision, command power or worship authority. Instead I want to thank you Father for all you have given me, all the hard times, good times, anointed times and even the breathe I just took. Thanks God for life, for living in me, for trusting and entrusting me with your Love. Thanks for taking time to find me and save me from my enemies. Thanks for my wife, my home, my past and my future.

Thanks, Jesus, for resisting the temptations to take short cuts to God’s desire for Your life. May we be the desire of Your heart and fulfill that which You declared for us before the foundations of the earth were laid. I lay my life at your feet Father and bow my head before your sword, have your way with me. Let your will be done and your kingdom come in my life Thanks for the anointing that breaks the yoke, the humility to walk as a servant and the Love to live as a son of honor.

. May we, your Church, fill the land with your provision, power and authority as we seek to save the lost and destroy the works of the enemy fulfilling your great commission. Bring us to our knees and cause us to die so we may live.

Will write more later, In Father’s Hand, neil

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