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“ At once the Spirit sent him out into the wilderness,  and he was in the wilderness forty days, being tempted by Satan. He was with the wild animals, and angels attended him.” Mark 1:12-13 NIV

In order to overcome temptation, we must learn to live in its tension.  We must first accept temptation is a part of life in Christ. Today’s verses occur right after Jesus starts His ministry on earth.  The first thing He endures is 40 days of tempting by Satan. When we choose to follow Christ it guarantees a life of temptation. But take heart, Jesus faced every temptation we will ever face and overcame it.  Jesus knew how to live in the tension of temptation.  

Jesus knew how to live in the tension of temptation.

Two things are essential for living in the tension of temptation.  First, you have to accept that you will be tempted. Not only will you be tempted, but they will be temptations specific to you.  I’m tempted by sweets, my husband could care less. He’s tempted by tortilla chips, I am not. We all have different temptations which we are susceptible to in life.  When we accept that as fact, we begin to live in the tension of temptation. Just as an alcoholic can’t get help until he recognizes he needs help, we can’t overcome temptation until we accept we have temptations to overcome.

Second, prepare in advance your response to temptation.  Jesus knew temptation was a part of life, He was prepared for it in advance.  For every temptation Satan places before Jesus, He already has an answer. All three of the temptations, food, wealth and power, Jesus responded with scripture that was readily on His tongue (Matthew 4:1-11 NIV). We can do the same thing.  Once we accept temptation as part of life, know the ways we are tempted, we can respond like Jesus.

Paul gave wise advice about temptation.  He wrote to the Corinthians that were dealing with all kinds of temptation these encouraging words: 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).  God always provides a way out of our temptations if we keep our eyes focused on Him.  That’s what Jesus did, He kept His eyes focused on His Father, who gave Him a way out.  

Accept temptation is a part of life.  Prepare in advance for whatever it is.  Keep your eyes on Jesus, you’ll be able to overcome anything.

Question of the Day:

What temptation tension are you living in today?

Further Reading: Exodus 39:1-40:38 NIV, Mark 1:1-28 NIV, Psalm 35:1-16 NIV, Proverbs 9:11-12 NIV

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