Then he said to the crowd, ‘If any of you wants to be my follower, you must give up your own way, take up your cross daily and follow me. If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake, you will save it.’ – Luke 9:23-24
One of the most visible ways in which we see someone being tested by God on earth is through the temptation of Jesus in Matthew 4, when the Holy Spirit led him into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. In this case, God allowed Jesus to enter a situation where he would face severe temptation, with the knowledge that in the end, Jesus would withstand it.
In the same way, sometimes God allows us to enter situations where we will be tempted to sin against him. When this happens, we can look to Jesus’s story to learn how to live for God, even when the storms of life rage around us and temptation becomes severe.
In This Article:
- What Kinds of Temptation Will We Face During the Test?
- Staying Faithful to God in the Storms of Life
- God’s Faithfulness in the Testing
What Kinds of Temptation Will We Face During the Test?
After spending forty days and nights fasting in the wilderness, Jesus was tempted to cave to common and powerful desires. First, he was tempted to eat before his period of fasting was over. Then, he was tempted to prove his divinity by forcing God to send angels to rescue him from a deadly fall. After that, he was tempted to win the loyalty of all people outside of God’s plan. These were all tests for Jesus, but in overcoming them, he taught us how to approach similar situations.
The first test appealed to Jesus’s physical needs. After forty days of fasting, Jesus would have been extremely hungry. Personally, I can’t seem to go more than a few hours without griping and complaining about not having eaten another meal yet. Jesus, by the grace of God, managed to not eat for over a month. By the time the devil tempted Jesus to create food, he would have been hungry enough to be tempted.
This would have been wrong because Jesus was undergoing a waiting process for his next meal. By miraculously creating food before God allowed him to eat, Jesus would have violated his order to wait and caved to the urge to make God’s promises happen early.
Next, the devil took Jesus to the top of the temple in Jerusalem and told him to jump off. According to the Scriptures, God’s angels would have rescued him. In doing this, Jesus would have proved to the world that he was God’s son, and his ministry would have been much easier. However, he would have betrayed God and forced his hand. Through this trial, Jesus overcame the temptation to avoid pain and taking the easy route.
Lastly, the devil showed Jesus all the nations of the world and told him that he would give them all to Jesus if Jesus chose to worship the devil. This was another severe temptation, as Jesus could have taken control of the entire world without the need to atone for everyone’s sins. By refusing the devil, Jesus proved to us that we can also overcome the impulse to defy the Lord by taking shortcuts instead of his chosen route.
Staying Faithful to God in the Storms of Life
Our situations are likely going to be different from Jesus’s. First, as the Son of God, Jesus was tempted with different sins than we will be. Second, Jesus is sinless, so he never caved to the temptation. As human beings, we will be tempted differently than Jesus and will cave to our desires more than once. However, Jesus’s example can teach us what to do when we are faced with the storms of life.
Though Jesus was tempted with different sins than we will be, the basic temptations he faced were the same as to what we will face. He was tempted to make God’s promises come early and to skip the hard parts of being the Messiah to take the easy routes instead, rather than the harder route that God prepared for him.
We will be tested by God as well. When God makes promises to us, he will often call us to wait for those promises to be fulfilled. They can be anything from mundane promises to prophecies about the future, but it’s common to have to wait for each of these promises. When this happens, we will be tempted to try to make these promises happen early, or we may see the plan that God has prepared for us and be tempted to walk an easier path. Unlike Jesus, when we face these temptations, we will sometimes fall.
This is where faithfulness to God comes in. When we sin, we may feel discouraged, or that God can’t put us back on the path he has prepared for us. We may feel as if our sin has destroyed the future God is leading us toward, or that we aren’t good enough to experience God’s promises. God has a plan for us though, and he has taken our sin into account in making his plan. What God wants to put in our lives, he will put there — we just need to be patient and trust in his timing and his faithfulness.
God’s Faithfulness in the Testing
Throughout Jesus’s testing, it may have seemed that Jesus was completely alone. After all, how could God be present through such testing and suffering? God was still there though, and he sent angels to feed and take care of Jesus when the testing was over.
God does the same thing for us. When he leads us into a season of testing, it isn’t because God has abandoned us. Through all the testing and the severe temptation that comes with it, God is there and ready to minister to us when the testing is over. Though we may have sinned against God during the test, God is always faithful and present in the places where we don’t feel him.
One of the best ways to see God’s presence while we are going through the storms of life is to look to God’s truth for encouragement. Just as Jesus used the Book of Deuteronomy to counter the devil’s claims during his testing, we can use God’s truth to overcome temptation, which God imparts to us through the Bible, church and the Holy Spirit. When the devil comes to tempt us into betraying God, we can use God’s Word and the promises he has given us to counter the devil’s claims.
Want to learn more about God’s faithfulness? Check out GCU’s theology and ministry programs, offered by the College of Theology. Fill out the form on this page to learn more about these degree programs.
Approved by the local outreach coordinator of the Office of Spiritual Life on July 17, 2023.
The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Grand Canyon University. Any sources cited were accurate as of the publish date.