"Mommy, what's temp ta dations?"
That was the question my daughter posed one Sunday on the way home from church. I was sure she had heard the phrase: "Lead us not into temptation..." as we prayed the Lord's Prayer in the service.
"A temptation is when we want to do something we know is against the rules. Like when Mommy and Daddy tell you and Mikey no cookies before bed but y'all really want cookies. You are tempted to disobey us and go get the cookies even though you know you shouldn't."
There was silence from the backseat for a few minutes then she quietly asked, "How do I keep from being temp da tioned to do the wrong thing?"
"Well, when we are tempted to do the wrong thing instead of the right thing all we have to do is ask Jesus to help us. We just say, 'Jesus, I'm being tempted to do the wrong thing. Please help me do what's right instead.' When we ask Jesus He can help us because He was tempted when He lived on earth but He was always able to do the right thing."
"How did Jesus always do what's right?"
"Jesus is God and He has the power to overcome, or beat, the temptation."
"You mean like the Braves beat the Cubs?"
"Not really! The devil is the one who always tries to get us to do the wrong thing and he can be pretty hard to beat; but Jesus is God so He is stronger than the devil. And when we believe in Jesus and ask Him to live in our heart He sends us His Spirit to help us be strong too."
"Well how was Jesus temp dated?"
"The Bible tells us Jesus was tempted in all the same ways we are."
"You mean Jesus wanted to get the cookies before bed too?!"
"He very well may have!"
That conversation took place over 25 years ago but the impact it made on me has remained.
Have you ever wondered about the ways Jesus was tempted?
Hebrews 4:15-16 says:
"For we do not have a High Priest who is unable to sympathize and understand our weaknesses and temptations, but one who has been tempted [knowing exactly how it feels to be human] in every respect as we are, yet without [committing any sin]. Therefore, let us [with privilege] approach the throne of grace [that is, the throne of God's gracious favor] with confidence and without fear, so that we may receive mercy [for our failures] and find [His amazing] grace to help in time of need [an appropriate blessing, coming at just the right moment]." (AMP)
Jesus knows exactly how it feels to be human.
He was tempted in all the ways we are tempted.
As I pondered that all those years ago I began to think through Jesus's life.
When Mary and Joseph were worried about Him and finally found Him in the Temple, was He tempted to speak disrespectfully to them, telling them they couldn't tell Him what to do? Was He tempted to be disobedient and stay there instead of going back home with them?
When He turned water into wine, was He tempted to get drunk?
When He fed the 5,000, was He tempted to be selfish and keep the food for Himself and His disciples?
When He was weary from all the people coming to Him, was He tempted to tell them to go away?
When the disciples woke Him during the storm at sea, was He tempted to yell at them for waking Him and tell them to let Him sleep?
When He woke early to spend time with the Father, was He tempted to roll over and go back to sleep instead?
When the widow was mourning the death of her only son, was He tempted to just walk on by and leave her in her misery?
When Mary of Bethany wept at His feet, was He tempted to allow passion to take its course?
When the parents brought their children to Him, was He tempted to tell them He had more important things to do than bless children?
When the Samaritan woman came to the well, was He tempted to shun her instead of save her?
When He taught the people and they didn't understand, was He tempted to call them stupid and leave them to perish in their sin?
When the religious leaders brought the adulterous woman to Him, was He tempted to condemn her instead of deliver her?
When Judas brought the guards to arrest Him and Peter drew his sword, was Jesus tempted to just let them fight?
When the high priest asked Him if He was the Messiah, was He tempted to lie?
When He hung on the cross, was He tempted to call down all of Heaven's armies to rescue Him?
So often we think of Jesus' temptation coming in the dessert after His 40 day fast.
In reality, Jesus was tempted many times and in many ways, just as we are every day.
I'm so very thankful Jesus always did what's right.
I'm so glad He beat His temptations so we can too!
Just some thoughts for your to ponder!
Until next time,
Keep gathering manna, growing deeper, and gaining intimacy!
God bless and keep you,
So many instances Jesus could have simply sinned, so many of the same temptation we face.
Being rude to parents as a teenager.
Getting drunk at a party.
Sleeping in instead of getting up to spend time with You.
Being selfish and not giving to others when we have the capability to help.
Lying to get out of a tough situation.
And so, so many more.
You really do know what it's like to be human, to face temptations every day.
Thank You for remaining strong.
Thank You for beating the devil.
Thank You for overcoming sin's power.
When I am being tempted, strengthen me to withstand the temptation.
Remind me to call out to Jesus and allow You to come help me beat the devil.
In Jesus' name, Amen.