Overcoming Temptation

Matt. 4:1-11 NKJV

There used to be a brokerage investment company named E.F. Hutton that eventually became part of Citigroup. When E.F. Hutton was a stand-alone brokerage, they had a commercial where an individual would say that their investment broker was E.F. Hutton. When they said those words, everyone in the room stopped what they were doing and listened to what they had to say and considered taking action on it. E.F. Hutton’s slogan was, “When E.F. Hutton speaks, people listen.” It became such a popular slogan that almost everyone had heard it and knew it.

In the scriptures today, the statement is made three times, “It is written.” This statement is kind of like saying, “God says.” When God says something, everyone should listen and take action on it.

Our country also has a slogan that we should take action on as well. It’s on all the money that we carry and it says, “In God We Trust.” Isn’t it ironic, that statement is on the very thing that most people put their trust in, money?

Let’s read Matt. 4:1-11 and see what God says and learn what should be our slogan and motivate us to do what God says. Let’s learn what should motivate us to overcome temptation.

Overcoming temptation, I can tell you how, but it won’t make much impact or last unless you know the why. Why do I want to overcome temptation?

In Matt. 4:1-11, Jesus is led by the Spirit into the wilderness to face temptation. He is hit at a very difficult and low point in His life, yet He overcame Satan’s temptations. In this experience, Jesus not only teaches how to overcome temptation, but He teaches us why?

Why should we overcome temptation? What’s our motivation?

Because I want to please God and be obedient to Him:

  1. It’s more important than satisfying my physical needs. (V.3-4.)
    Jesus had been 40 days without food and He definitely had a need for food, yet He did not give in to the temptation because He wanted to please God. We face needs in our lives all the time and the temptation can come to do whatever it takes to meet that need, but always remember, it’s not worth being disobedient to God.
  2. It’s more important than stepping out to prove myself. (V.5-7.)
    Jesus could have proved Himself as being God’s son, but that would have been on Satan’s tempting. Jesus refused to step down to Satan’s level to prove Himself. The temptation to prove our abilities or to make ourselves stand out to someone else can include a temptation to overlook God’s commands. Our goal in life should be to prove that we can live according to God’s word and not give in to the ways of the world.
  3. It’s more important than success and prosperity. (V.8-10.)
    Jesus was tempted by Satan to have all the prosperity in the world that anyone would want. Wealth and possessions in great mass and all He had to do was bow to Satan. That’s the same thing that Satan does to us today, he wants us to bow to his ways with the focus on gaining more financially. He tempts us to cut back on giving to God’s work and to have more for bills or getting more, but he doesn’t tell us the negative results of living without God’s blessings.

Isn’t it time that you decided to overcome your temptations because you want to please God, to do better for yourself, your spouse and your family. Pleasing God and being obedient to Him should be our motivation to overcome temptation.