Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. After he had fasted forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. Then the tempter approached him and said, “If you are the Son of God, tell those stones to become bread.”
He answered, “It is written: Man must not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.”
Then the devil took him to the holy city, had him stand 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 will give his angels orders concerning you,
and they will support you with their hands
so that you will not strike
your foot against a stone.”
Jesus told him, “It is also written: Do not test the Lord your God.”
Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. And he said to him, “I will give you all these things if you will fall down and worship me.”
Then Jesus told him, “Go away, Satan! For it is written:
Worship the Lord your God, and serve only him.”
Then the devil left him, and angels came and I began to serve him.
(Matthew 4:1-11 CSB)
Jesus urges us not to be anxious – about our lives, our needs, or our future (Matthew 6:25-34 CSB), but I’ve always found that easier said than done. Or, perhaps, easier read than obeyed. I’m a planner and a nurturer by nature, so finding myself unable to know for sure if I can take care of all the people and all the things leaves me unsettled at best and spiraling with uncertainty at worst. When control has been wrenched from my hands in those situations, my strongest urge is to yank the reins by doing the only thing I can: worry.
But worrying like that is disobeying God. Simply put, it’s a sin. And I know that. He’s shown me many times – just as many times as He’s proven perfectly capable of taking care of all the things and all the people without my interference or input. Still, I struggle. In the face of bad news and doubt, my old friend worry often welcomes me with open arms.
Are you a worrier? Do you fight the urge to fret and fuss instead of trust and believe? Or perhaps you’ve mastered casting all your anxieties on the Lord and depending on Him for your needs. Perhaps your biggest struggle today is something different. Whatever temptation you face today, you are not alone. Every one of us is confronted with the thing we long to do but know we shouldn’t, with the thing we’ve done in the past but have sworn not to do again, with the exact thing we crave most in our weakest moments.
Even Jesus was tempted in the same way.
Every single one of us battles temptation of some sort. What specific temptations are you facing today? We are most vulnerable to sin when we are weakened in some way. Where do you need to lean on God’s strength in order to resist the devil? Reflect on these things, and tomorrow we will look at how Jesus fought the devil’s temptation for the Father’s glory, and how we can, too.
This is an excerpt from Journey to the Cross: Forty Days to Prepare Your Heart for Easter, from the (in)courage community. If you are enjoying this series, you can purchase the book to experience forty days of encouragement and guided Scripture, reflections, and prayers.