Why Are There Lies To Tempt Us?
The Bible says that the devil seeks our demise, one way or another (Ephesians 6:11-13, 1 Peter 5:8-9). We are admonished to be on guard against his schemes. Considering that he is also called the “father of lies” in John 8:44, I am particularly aware that I may be tempted to believe his deceptions.
What are his lies that come in under my radar? Also, what am I tempted to believe the most? I doubt they are very obvious, probably subtle in nature more likely. So where am I at my weakest against them?
Truly, I don’t think for a minute that anything in the Word is there by accident.
So when I come across Jesus’ temptation from the devil, I am keenly aware that I need to pay close attention to this scenario. Because most likely, this is playing out daily in my life as well. Only I may not be so aware of it as I should be, thereby placing myself in danger of falling victim to his schemes.
What Lies Did Jesus Have to Battle?
Luke 4:13 says,
Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, left the Jordan and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness, 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.
The devil said to him, “If you are the Son of God, tell this stone to become bread.” Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, (‘but on every word that comes from the mouth of God’, Matt. 4:4).’”
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.”
Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God and serve him only.’”
The devil led him to Jerusalem and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. “If you are the Son of God,” he said, “throw yourself down from here. For it is written: “‘He will command his angels concerning you to guard you carefully; they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.’”
Jesus answered, “It is said: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’ ”
When the devil had finished all this tempting, he left him until an opportune time.
What are 3 Lies We Are Tempted To Believe?
As I read through this event that occurred right after He was baptized by John the Baptist, I see 3 lies that are intertwined into that which is tempting Jesus. Also, I begin to learn how these lies are part of an undercurrent affecting our faith if we aren’t careful.
1) “This” will satisfy.
In verses 1-3, the devil is tempting Jesus with bread because He has been denying Himself of food for forty days to fast.
Incidentally, the devil knows full well Jesus’ weakness and vulnerability at that particular moment. He did not tempt Him foolishly with what would not seem beneficial or enticing. He recognized Jesus’ hunger (His “need”) as his opportunity.
Well, do we think he is shooting temptations at us willy-nilly? Don’t you know he knows OUR vulnerabilities, our needs we believe we MUST have?!
What are we “hungering” for?
Is it love?
Or, is it a child?
Is it a job?
Maybe a home?
Is it freedom from fear? Anxiety? Or pain?
Maybe it is feelings of safety? Peace? Or security?
Maybe it is a husband to be kind, a child to believe, a relative to reconcile?
Why Does this Matter?
The devil wants us to think that “this” will be what finally makes all the difference in our lives. If we could just get ____________ (fill in the blank) then we could be happy and content. Life would be good!
But Jesus saw through this lie! He shut the devil down quick because Jesus knew as humans, we would always hunger for SOMETHING. Constantly!
Correspondingly, He countered the lie with the truth.
Jesus responded in verse 4 that it is through God’s Word that we are truly satisfied. Whatever we are waiting for, whatever we consider necessary, God’s Word can help us be truly content while we wait. It should be considered the substance we fully depend upon and need, with all the other temporal matters in this world as the extra.
Jesus equates the importance of God’s Word with the body’s necessity of food. We need to regularly feast upon the Bible for spiritual health just as we need food for physical health. It is THAT important!
2) “This” can be yours, now.
In verses 5-7, the devil tempts Jesus with all the worldly power and splendor that could be His. He knew full well that Jesus had laid aside His power, authority, and riches of heaven to become a lowly human for the sake of redemption.
Jesus had already lived 30 years “denying” Himself. So the devil showed Him a shortcut. Why follow the long, hard plan God had in store? Why not cut to the chase and get to the good stuff sooner?
What is the devil tempting us with, dangling the shortcuts to happiness in front of us?
Is it premarital sex? A lifestyle we cannot afford? Reconciliation we are tired of waiting for? Vindication we feel we deserve? Goals to become realities? Maybe it is a honeymoon before the marriage? Independence from parents before the responsibility to handle it? Or recognition at work without the time put in to earn it?
Why Does this Matter?
The devil tempts us to rush headlong into what we want, what we think we deserve, what we are tired of waiting for. But Jesus counters this lie with the truth of abiding by God’s plan being a far better choice. He stated it was better to worship God alone, waiting for His will to unfold. God may have every intention of giving us what we hope to have but it may be a matter of timing.
Lust means having to have something NOW. One of the devil’s most effective temptations is enticing us to believe we cannot wait one moment longer for what we want. He is skilled at causing us to obsess over what we want without considering what it may cost us in the long run. Shortcuts usually involve consequences that ultimately nullify any true advantage.
Ultimately, God’s way in God’s timing is the wisest and most rewarding choice to make. Every time!
3) God will do “this” if He really loves me and is a good God.
In verses 9-10, the devil tempts Jesus with his most devious lure. He knows that submission and obedience are always a challenge for anyone, even Jesus. So the devil throws out the temptation to judge God by what He does or does not do. Man longs to control God at times so that He does what we want Him to or keeps from happening what we want to avoid.
God is considered “good” if we agree with His actions, “good” if we understand His ways. It is tempting to want God’s value to be tied to His predictability and actions. If we agree with Him, then He is worthy. If we don’t, then it is difficult to value Him. In reality, we want our faith to make our lives easier and better. Man ultimately wants no bumps or falls to take place. So when that doesn’t happen, we are tempted to ponder, “What’s the point?”
In short, Jesus responds with the reminder of not putting God to the test. He is the One in charge. For this reason, we are not the ones to be appeased. He is the One to be obeyed.
What Is The Danger In Believing The Lies?
Specifically, it can be a vulnerable point in our faith if we are basing our allegiance upon always understanding and agreeing with the Lord. Any of these lies have the opportunity to hinder our relationship with God through the sin of pride and idolatry.
Ultimately, schemes such as these provoke us to feel as though God is holding out on us, that we could and should have it better in life. How many of us have had to struggle through God allowing what has broken our hearts or shattered our dreams? He has not been the “genie in the bottle” we may have first hoped Him to be.
Actually, He has actually been so much better!
How Much Better Is Our Hope
What could I possibly complain about after He did not withhold His own Son from me? What more do I truly need that is not covered by the blood and grace of Jesus Christ?
Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. Romans 5:1-2
Given these points, may we remember that God is far greater than these lies our enemy dangles before us? Additionally, may we never settle for the cheap substitutes offered in His place?
Whenever we are feeling discontented or denied, we would do well by considering which of these three lies we have unwittingly believed.
There we will find our path back to the grace that is ours through Christ!