Obedience is Learned Through Temptation

What Jesus encountered in His life on earth as a human is an example for each of us as we live our lives faithfully in our obedience to Him.None of us wants to go through a “wilderness” experience. A wilderness experience is when we are uncomfortable and the circumstances of the event are difficult to bear. It is at these times when we may experience temptation, and it is an opportunity where we can see the relevance of obedience of God’s Word in our handling temptation.Jesus went through His wilderness experience to show that He is well aware of what we go through in our temptation.

Hebrews 4:15

For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tested in every way as we are, yet without sin.

The word “tempted” means “to try” or “to make proof of.” In the negative context of the word, it means to entice, solicit, or provoke to sin.  In Matthew 4:3, Satan is called “the tempter.” The One being tempted is Jesus.

The wilderness experience in Matthew 4 is a part of an ongoing growth and preparation process taking place in the life of Jesus and in His ministry. This ongoing growth and preparation brings Him approval from God as Jesus grows into a perfection, after all of the testing and trials, where He is complete as Lord and Savior.

Hebrews 5:8-9

8 Though a Son, He learned obedience through what He suffered. 9 After He was perfected, He became the source of eternal salvation to all who obey Him.

Adam knew no sin at the time of his creation. From the time that he was created until the time when sin was introduced, he was without sin. The tempter, the serpent, made the fruit of the tree enticing, which caused Adam to sin because he was disobedient to God’s command (Genesis 2:17); therefore, we can conclude that sin was a choice that was made. The first Adam would have been “perfected” or passed from capability of not sinning to the incapability of sinning by obedience.

Jesus (the second Adam) was incapable of sin, yet, He had to undergo the temptation (Matthew 4). Not until the fortieth day, when the human body is weak and hungry, did the tempter, Satan, appear before Jesus. We are tempted at our weakest moments.

2 Corinthians 5:21

He made the One who did not know sin to be sin for us, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.

1 Peter 2:22

He did not commit sin, and no deceit was found in His mouth.

After Jesus Christ was baptized by John the Baptist, He was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to allow for the temptation of the Devil. This was a plan that God allowed as an important part of Jesus’ growth. His power was being perfected in His weakness.

2 Corinthians 12:9-10

9 But He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” Therefore, I will most gladly boast all the more about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may reside in me. 10 So because of Christ, I am pleased in weaknesses, in insults, in catastrophes, in persecutions, and in pressures. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

Why was this temptation of Jesus appointed by God?

  • To show the benefit of absolute submission to the Holy Spirit.
  • What God has appointed, He supports our participation in it.
  • Jesus allows Himself to be led by the Spirit (Matthew 4:1), as we are to do the same in our training and ministry.

Wherever the Spirit of God leads you, be willing to follow. God’s will is never accomplished through the flesh. It is accomplished often in areas that are not as comfortable or convenient. It is a challenge to our level of obedience. Jesus put aside His position to allow Himself to be guided by the Holy Spirit, in the same way that we are to trust the Holy Spirit in all things. He will meet your physical needs.

Deuteronomy 8:3

He humbled you by letting you go hungry; then He gave you manna to eat, which you and your fathers had not known, so that you might learn that man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the LORD.

Matthew 4:3-4

3 Then the tempter approached Him and said, “If You are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.”

    4 But He answered, “It is written:

    Man must not live on bread alone

    but on every word that comes

    from the mouth of God.”

Have you ever trusted God’s protection over you? He does state that He keeps His promises (Malachi 3:10). There is a change that has taken place where we are transformed through our obedience to God as one of His own. You really learn most about God and how much He loves you when you are going through difficulty.

Matthew 4:5-7

5 Then the Devil took Him to the holy city, [a] had Him stand on the pinnacle of the temple, 6 and said to Him, “If You are the Son of God, throw Yourself down. For it is written:

    He will give His angels orders concerning you and,

    they will support you with their hands

    so that you will not strike

    your foot against a stone. “

    7 Jesus told him, “It is also written: Do not test the Lord your God.”

Deuteronomy 6:16

Do not test the LORD your God as you tested [Him] at Massah.

Our service is our worship. Our worship is our service. What we worship, we serve.

Matthew 4:8-10

8 Again, the Devil took Him to a very high mountain and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. 9 And he said to Him, “I will give You all these things if You will fall down and worship me.”

    10 Then Jesus told him, “Go away, Satan! For it is written:

    Worship the Lord your God,

    and serve only Him.”

Deuteronomy 6:13-15

13 Fear the LORD your God, worship Him, and take [your] oaths in His name. 14 Do not follow other gods, the gods of the peoples around you, 15 for the LORD your God, who is among you, is a jealous God. Otherwise, the LORD your God will become angry with you and wipe you off the face of the earth.

When Satan proclaimed in Matthew 4:9 that he would give Jesus all of the kingdoms of the world, he was trying to tempt Jesus with a shortcut that would bypass being obedient to God’s will. Satan’s goal was to influence the work of Jesus. Spiritual trials must precede spiritual elevation. Reaching the goal, in a Divine manner, according to God’s will, is what Jesus remained faithful to in His obedience to God (Revelation 11:15). Jesus declares that He will serve and worship God and God only. If Jesus had taken it upon Himself to do what He wanted to do in His moment of temptation, He would have been obedient to Satan and disobedient to God. An act of obedience to God is to truly die to self and live for Christ.

1 John 3:5-8

5 You know that He was revealed so that He might take away sins, and there is no sin in Him. 6 Everyone who remains in Him does not sin; everyone who sins has not seen Him or known Him.

    7 Little children, let no one deceive you! The one who does what is right is righteous, just as He is righteous. 8 The one who commits sin is of the Devil, for the Devil has sinned from the beginning. The Son of God was revealed for this purpose: to destroy the Devil’s works.

God expects us to remain Christlike in our actions and behavior. Our worship is in our acts of kindness towards others as we are fulfilling ministry on behalf of Jesus Christ.

God is the all-sufficient God who declared that everything He was doing was according to God’s will.

John 6:32-35, 37-40

32 Jesus said to them, ” I assure you: Moses didn’t give you the bread from heaven, but My Father gives you the real bread from heaven. 33 For the bread of God is the One who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.”

    34 Then they said, “Sir, give us this bread always!”

    35 “I am the bread of life,” Jesus told them. “No one who comes to Me will ever be hungry, and no one who believes in Me will ever be thirsty again.

37 Everyone the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will never cast out. 38 For I have come down from heaven, not to do My will, but the will of Him who sent Me. 39 This is the will of Him who sent Me: that I should lose none of those He has given Me but should raise them up on the last day. 40 For this is the will of My Father: that everyone who sees the Son and believes in Him may have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.”

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