This week we will be looking at the topics of temptation and overcoming temptation. In our journey through The Gospel of Mark we have landed at this text:
The Spirit then compelled Jesus to go into the wilderness, where he was tempted by Satan for forty days. He was out among the wild animals, and angels took care of him. (Mark 1:12-13 NLT)
This account is also found in Matthew 4 and Luke 4 and we will use those accounts as well on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.
The old King James English uses the word Drove instead of compelled.
We can be driven/compelled/led by many things in many ways…but to be driven/compelled/led by God’s Spirit will lead us on the path along The Way that is best for us. When God’s Spirit is in charge…that is the force that drives you and none other. So, what drives you?
There was purpose in Jesus' enduring the tempting from Satan. There is also purpose when you and I must endure such tempting. Mark's Gospel does not give any detail to the tempting (Matthew and Luke do). It is as if those details are not the significant part of the teaching for us. There is a good point to that thought...No matter what type of testing/tempting you are going through, the issue is the same. The issue is how you go through it and how you overcome it. Here is a powerful truth about 'types of temptations':
If you think you are standing strong, be careful not to fall. The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you can endure. (1 Corinthians 10:12-13 NLT)
The temptations of Satan served as a diabolical attempt to subvert God’s Saving Plan. Jesus had a mission that would end in a Roman Cross and an Empty Tomb...but if Satan diverted Him at this point those things would be null and void. Similarly, every temptation of our Enemy serves the same purpose in our life. Either we resist that temptation and become stronger or we fall to that temptation and lose our way.
Jesus was to spend these 40 days in the wilderness and enduring temptation. He was to overcome these things in this time. The time you spend in the Wilderness can often be tied directly to your willingness to learn and overcome what is there. Maybe your life has included 'way too much' wilderness for your liking. This week embrace the overcoming power of God in your life and see what God can do. How do you do that? Those will be topics beginning tomorrow. But a hint for now: Jesus did not use His Divine Nature to conquer Satan…He used tools that you and I also have so these texts can serve as a blue-print for your life.
A final encouragement from the Word today:
God blesses those who patiently endure testing and temptation. Afterward they will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him. And remember, when you are being tempted, do not say, “God is tempting me.” God is never tempted to do wrong, and he never tempts anyone else. Temptation comes from our own desires, which entice us and drag us away. These desires give birth to sinful actions. And when sin is allowed to grow, it gives birth to death. (James 1:12-15 NLT)
Let us learn how to endure and overcome the temptations that our enemy brings our way so we can continue to follow Jesus well along His Way!