Understanding Holiness Through The Temptation of Christ

Posted: 20 July, 2015 in Ponderings
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Cool

Everyone who received Jesus Christ into their life always does it with such great joy. If you remember your first love encounter with the Lord, it is always so sweet. However, for some of us along the Christian journey, we lost some of that joy. Along the way, we were told that since we gained salvation freely by the grace of our Lord, we need to now work towards our own holiness.

Well, so what is holiness? Much has been said and written, but let’s see if we can also glean something from the Temptation of Christ; as Jesus is the very role model for our quest for holiness. In Matthew 4:1-11, the Holy Spirit led Jesus into the desert to be tempted by the devil.

1.   Turning stone to bread – Jesus had fasted for 40 days and nights; obviously very hungry.  Even with the tempting of the devil to turn a stone into bread, Jesus did not giving in to the demands of the flesh, although the desire or urge was legitimate. We are not talking about willpower or mind over matter but Jesus knew well that God-the Father is the ultimate Provider.

If we see God as our personal Provider and trust fully in his provision, then there is nothing we need to covet, yearn or to be envious about, even it is within our power to get it. All our needs will be fully met in due time, and often beyond our expectations. Suppose you know you have a royal buffet coming, would you steal a piece of old-stale bread? No, you will not even bother, right? You will even roll-eyes in the face of that temptation!

We will not be tempted by the flesh if we fully trust that the Lord will fully and overly provide all our physical needs. And that’s holiness #1 – See the Father God as the Provider.   And this same God who takes care of me will supply all your needs from his glorious riches, which have been given to us in Christ Jesus.   Philippians 4:19

Untitled

2.   Jumping off the cliff – Thereafter, the devil used the promise in the bible about God’s protection, urging Jesus to test it out by jumping off the cliff. But Jesus having such a close and intimate relationship with Father God obviously wouldn’t want to test God.

You see, if we are so close and fully assured of God’s protection, would you test God? If you know your parents loved you so much, would you run out a busy street just to test if they would come for you. Obviously not.

It is during difficult times when we experience doubts on the love of God. During such times, the devil has the chance to tempt us to question or even test God on His protection and promises in the bible. To prevent that, that we need to build ourselves in the love of God beforehand, by knowing Him through the Word, through prayer, through worship, through testimonies of others and through revelation of the Holy Spirit that assures us that we have a really good loving God, who would not leave or forsake us no matter what happens. And so, when temptations come that go against the promises of the Word of God, we will not waiver. We will not be tempted of the mind if we fully trust that the Lord will surely protect us even without testing. And that’s holiness #2 – See the Father God as the Protector.

He alone is my refuge, my place of safety; He is my God, and I trust him. For He will rescue you from every trap and protect you from deadly disease. He will cover you with his feathers. He will shelter you with his wings. His faithful promises are your armor and protection. Do not be afraid of the terrors of the night, nor the arrow that flies in the day. Do not dread the disease that stalks in darkness, nor the disaster that strikes at midday. Though a thousand fall at your side, though ten thousand are dying around you, these evils will not touch you.   Psalms 91:2-7

Broken Chain

3. Worship the devil for all the kingdoms of the world – Finally, the mask were off the devil, with his ultimate motive revealed; he wanted to be worship like a god, that he isn’t. What the devil wanted is just to peel believers off God, and instead to worship him. Ironically, the devil offered in exchange for the kingdom of the world that was cheated off Adam and Eve, of which the ownership were given to them by God in the first place. So like a highly-skilled con-man, the devil uses what isn’t his to cheat what is yours!

The kingdom of the world represents the riches, authority and power this side of heaven can offer, although all of it came from God. The root of all evil is not money itself, it is the love of money. People who long to be rich with no regards where the source is always ended up foolishly mining it from the world instead of God, plunging themselves into ruin and destruction. (1 Timothy 6:9-10)

So finally, for holiness #3 – See the Father God as the source of Power and Prosperity.

Paris from the Eiffel Tower
In the wall of text above, if you have learned nothing (or you have just simply scrolled right down); it’s fine. But do read the very key here: In the previous chapter just before the temptation of Christ, Jesus was baptised in the river. As soon as Jesus was baptized, he went up out of the water. At that moment heaven was opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting on him. And a voice from heaven said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.”   (Matthew 3:16-17)

But when the devil tempted Jesus, he said, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.”. Noticed the difference?  -> he missed out the “whom I love”.

You see, we need to know we are not simply just a believer in the Almighty. We must know intensively that we are a child of God.  But even more than that, one that God dearly love. We are in a position that no other creation ever had. Jesus Christ never lose faith in God, more importantly, He never lose the sense of the Father’s love for him. He never doubt the divine goodness and love.

after the rain

Holiness is not a set of cold rules. It is not a series of self-prowess to remain flawless. It is the faith you have to see God as a Provider, Protector and the Source of Power and Prosperity. Holiness is a fruit gotten through with the knowledge of the love of God. And we know God the Father loves us so deeply because He gave His most beloved – His Son, Jesus Christ, for our sake.

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