The Word of God tells us to flee temptation and resist the devil (see 2 Timothy 2:22 and James 4:7). But most Christians try to resist temptation and flee the devil—and fail. Even Jesus did not resist temptation; He fled it and showed us how we can, too.
In the wilderness, Jesus encountered the three temptations that encompass all temptation: pleasure, popularity, and power—the very things with which we also grapple. Yet He was victorious over every one.
Jesus won by completely trusting and submitting to the Word of God.
In Matthew 4:1-4, Satan came to Jesus at the very end of a 40-day fast. In His humanity, Jesus was approaching starvation. Satan chose his timing and words carefully, coming at a time of extreme vulnerability to plant a seed of doubt: "If you are the Son of God . . ." (Matthew 4:3).
Satan had one desire: to get Jesus to disobey the Father. The first temptation seemed innocent. Jesus had a legitimate need—hunger—that could have been met with a simple miracle—turning stones into bread. But Satan was suggesting that Jesus needed to prove His divinity as the Son of God and even the love of the Father for Him. In effect, Satan was saying to Jesus, "Hunger is incompatible with being the divine Son of God. So if You are the Son of God, why would the Father let You suffer this way? If You are the Son of God, why don't You use Your power to satisfy Your need?"
Likewise, Satan casts doubt into our hearts about whether God really loves us, saying, "God wants you to be happy, doesn't He?" With these little manipulations Satan tempts us to elevate our physical appetite above honoring God. He places greed above contentment and indulgence above obedience.
In this seemingly inconsequential temptation, our very salvation hung in the balance. But Jesus, though He had the absolute power to choose otherwise, chose to obey the Father.
Jesus won by completely trusting and submitting to the Word of God. In saying, "It is written," Christ displayed incalculable humility. Jesus is the logos—the revealed Word of God—and yet He upholds the written Word of God. So, to win like Jesus, we must also submit to the authority of God's Word in our lives, holding fast to Scripture as our sure anchor and priceless treasure.
Prayer: Jesus, thank You for showing me the way to win like You. Thank You for Your great love, grace, and humility in obeying the Father even to death on a cross. Help me to hide Your Word in my heart. I pray in the name of Jesus. Amen.
"How can a young person stay on the path of purity? By living according to your word. . . . I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you" (Psalm 119:9, 11).
Learn more in Dr. Michael Youssef's sermon Winning Like Jesus, Part 1: LISTEN NOW | WATCH NOW