Scripture

Hebrews 4:15 (NIV)

For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin.

Observation

When you read this verse from Hebrews 4:5, do you believe it? Do you believe that Jesus was tempted in all of the ways that you are tempted? After all, Jesus lived over 2,000 years ago in times very different than our own. Let’s take a look at temptation and how it’s presented in the Bible in the life of Jesus. Temptation can be broken down into three categories; “The lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life” (1 John 2:16 NIV).

In Matthew 4:3, the devil tempts Jesus saying to Him, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread” (NIV). This is a temptation of the flesh. After fasting for 40 days and 40 nights in the wilderness it makes sense that Jesus would be hungry. In one way or another, our temptations will make sense to us. Otherwise, if they didn’t appeal to us then they’d have no power to sway us. They wouldn’t be called temptations. When we seek to satisfy a God-given desire for something such as food, water, sex, shelter, or comfort in a means that isn’t how God intended it then that’s a sin. For example, Jesus could have turned the stones into bread, since He is the Son of God, but to do so because the devil prompted Him to do it would have been a sin. For us, we need to eat but when we stop eating because we need to eat and eat just because we want to, going far beyond necessity, it becomes a sin. We call it gluttony.

Things like jealousy, coveting, and sexual lust are temptations of the eyes. If you turn on a television, surf the Internet, or even walk down a city street then you will be assaulted by things that are prompting you to be jealous, covet, and lust. It’s called advertising and it gets our attention. When the devil took Jesus to the top of a mountain and showed Him the splendor of the world he was tempting Jesus with all of those riches (Matthew 4:8-9). When we see that cool car in a commercial we might not think that it caught that much of our attention until we see someone we know driving it and wonder, “How can they afford that?” We can do nothing about the first look, but when we look again, and again, then perhaps there’s something going on.

As we move onto the pride of life I wonder why this, of all the three types of temptation, seems to be the hardest for me to address. As I mull over the issue I realize that this temptation is considerably more personal than the lust of the flesh and that of the eyes. The basic notion for describing the pride of life is one in which one thinks something like, “I’m better than that person” or “I’m glad I’m not like…” It’s an intrinsic value of the self over anything else. When we do the things we do, not to the glory of God, but for our success. When we compete to show the world that we are better. It’s when we desire to show our skills, talents, and gifts to the world for the betterment of ourselves when the reality is that we only have these skills, talents, and gifts because they were given to us by God.

When I think of Jesus, and how He was tempted by the pride of life, I don’t think of the devil telling Him to jump from the top of the temple to be carried up by angels (Matthew 4:6-7), as much as I think of everything else that He did. From pointing out to people that only God is good (Luke 18:19), to letting us know that He came down from Heaven to do, not His will, but God’s will (John 6:38) Jesus shows us that, in each of these instances, He could have gone the other way and exalted Himself over God. And yet He, “being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his advantage” (Philippians 2:6 NIV). Furthermore, in the direst of circumstances, when Jesus didn’t want to suffer and die on the cross, He turned away from His desire and declared that God’s will be done over His own.

We have this intelligence from Hebrews 4:15, that Jesus, although He had “been tempted in every way, just as we are…did not sin.” What should we do then, when we sin? Walk in condemnation? Turn from God because we have failed, again? No, my friends, when we sin we can “approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need” (Hebrews 4:16 NIV). There is no better way. Our confidence is not in the fact that Jesus was tempted in every way that we are tempted and didn’t sin, but that, when we do sin, for there is no one who hasn’t sinned (Romans 3:23), we can go to God and we will receive mercy and grace because He knows the lure of temptation.

God loves you and He sees you. He knows your joy and He knows your tears. He knows your temptations. He waited for you before you were born. He takes delight in you and desires that you would delight in Him. If you would like to receive the gift of eternal salvation offered to you today then pray this prayer with me.

Dear Lord Jesus, I know that I am a sinner, and I ask for Your forgiveness. I believe You died for my sins and rose from the dead. I turn from my sins and invite You to come into my heart and life. I want to trust and follow You as my Lord and Savior. Amen.

If you prayed that prayer then congratulations! You are on the first step of a brand new life. Allow me to be the first to welcome you to my family, the family of God. There are abundant resources available online for new Christians. You can visit here for more information on what to do next. You can also leave me a comment and I’ll do my best to help you on the next step of this incredible journey.