I don’t like peas and will only eat them if I’m forced to do so or if I am starving. Therefore, anyone trying to tempt me with peas is out of luck because I have no interest in them. There are a lot of things I have no interest in beyond peas. Thus, none of those things can be used to tempt me. On the other hand, there are a lot of different foods I like. Some of us have made resolutions to try and lose weight. Others just want to lose weight; it doesn’t matter if it’s around the new year. Some have made other sorts of resolutions that center around avoidance. That is, avoiding one kind of thing for something better. For example, going to the gym instead of sitting around doing nothing productive.

One thing is for sure, we are aware of temptation at this time of the year. What does it mean to be tempted? Merriam-Webster gives us this definition of “tempt.”

  1. To entice to do wrong by promise of pleasure or gain.

While there are other definitions for “tempt,” like being strongly inclined to do something, I think they’re inherently related to obtaining promise or gain. For our purposes, I’m referring to this when discussing temptation.

Now that we’ve defined temptation consider Jesus’ temptations after having fasted for 40 days.

Where for forty days he was tempted by the devil. He ate nothing during those days, and at the end of them he was hungry.

Luke 4:2 (NIV)

After 40 days of not eating, Jesus was hungry. Who wouldn’t be hungry? Thus, the devil tempts Jesus.

The devil said to him, “If you are the Son of God, tell this stone to become bread.”

Luke 4:3 (NIV)

The devil could have given Jesus a sandwich, but this temptation wasn’t about food as much as it was about power. Jesus could have turned stones into bread as fully God and fully human. Heck, he could have turned them into a steak dinner with garlic mashed potatoes and a nice glass of cabernet sauvignon. Yet, Jesus turned away from the temptation to reveal himself as God because it wasn’t his time.

I’ve often thought that Jesus’ temptation centered around his identity as the Son of God. Hence, the devil goaded Jesus by saying, “If you are the Son of God,” but I think the temptation, as I’ve said, wasn’t around Jesus’ identity as God. Instead, the temptation centered around Jesus using his powers as God for his own pleasure and gain instead of doing what he was called to do here on earth. Each time the devil tempted Jesus, it had to do with revealing himself before the given time. Consider Luke 4:5.

The devil led him up to a high place and showed him in an instant all the kingdoms of the world. And he said to him, “I will give you all their authority and splendor; it has been given to me, and I can give it to anyone I want to. If you worship me, it will all be yours.”

Luke 4:5 (NIV)

All authority in heaven and earth was given to Jesus after he was glorified. While the devil is tempting Jesus to worship him, the actual temptation is about obtaining the authority and splendor “early.”

We can’t think of temptation as a sin because it’s not. Jesus never sinned and was tempted. Therefore, being tempted isn’t a sin. Furthermore, there should be no shame in being tempted because there is no condemnation for those in Christ. Instead, when we are tempted, we need to remember what Scripture tells us.

No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.

1 Corinthians 10:13 (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.

Hebrews 4:15 (NIV)

Do you know God? God knows you, and he loves you. He sees you as significant because you are. No one is insignificant to Him. He’s with you today, and he wants you to know him. Jesus died for your sins and mine so we could be free of guilt, freed from death, and live eternally with him. Eternal salvation is just a prayer away.

Pray this prayer with me to accept the gift of salvation:

Lord Jesus, forgive me for all my sins. I repent from my ways. Wash me in your blood and cleanse me from all unrighteousness. I believe that you died on the cross, were buried, and on the third day, God the Father raised you from the dead. Right now, Lord Jesus, I open the door to my heart and receive you into my heart as my Lord and personal 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.