April 12

“And Jesus being full of the Holy Ghost returned From Jordan, and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness, being forty days tempted of the devil.” Luke 4:1-2

Jesus was full of the Holy Ghost, and yet He was tempted. Temptation often comes upon a man with its strongest power when he is nearest to God. As someone has said, “The devil aims high.” He got one apostle to say he did not even know Christ.

If a man has much of the Spirit of God, he will have great conflicts with the tempter. God permits temptation because it does for us what the storms do for the oaks–it roots us; and what the fire does for the paintings on the porcelain–it makes them permanent.

You never know that you have a grip on Christ, or that He has a grip on you, as well as when the devil is using all his force to attract you from Him; then you feel the pull of Christ’s right hand. (Streams in the Desert)

“The word temptation has come to mean something bad to us today, but we tend to use the word in the wrong way. Temptation itself is not sin; it is something we are bound to face simply by virtue of being human. Not to be tempted would mean that we were already so shameful that we would be beneath contempt. Yet many of us suffer from temptations we should never have to suffer, simply because we have refused to allow God to lift us to a higher level where we would face temptations of another kind” (Oswald Chambers).

Temptation is not unnatural or necessarily devastating. Each temptation is an opportunity to reveal what we are made of, and to step forward into greater character strength and Christlikeness. Fearing temptation is largely due to subliminal doubt built upon layers of previous failure. Thankfully, we may turn the tide at any moment. The next strong response fosters future strength; overcoming leads to overcoming. Just as exposure produces immunity, rightly handled temptation steels against a repeat of the same and yields enhanced rigidity against assorted future attacks. Work at building godly character; withstanding temptation is the hallmark of holiness.

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