Trinity at the Temptation of Jesus
Listen to these poisonous words… “Is it really true that God said…?” The tiniest, darkest crack of unbelief seeps into Eve’s fortified castle of faith and topples it into the self-destruction of doubt. Similar words were hissed by the very same Tempter into our Savior’s very human ear: “If you are the Son of God, then…” (Matt. 4:3-6).
Here’s the challenging thing about temptation: Eve saw that it was “good and desirable.” The Tempter came to Jesus with the offer of food after 40 days without food. Temptation will likely include some devious and desirable offer that prompts us to easily rationalize chasing our passions instead of God’s love. When we step over the line into disobedience, it is because we wanted to.
Here’s a point of confidence for the believer: temptation is different from sin. We haven’t crossed the line yet. We can either respond to temptation by waltzing into sin or respond by pausing, seeking God, resisting, sharing in accountability with trusted believers, and practicing obedience. (James 4:7; 1 Corinthians 10:12-13) How will we choose to respond?
The Christian band Tenth Avenue North penned these potent words in their song Cathedrals: “And our hungry souls reach out // to whatever fills us up // but we keep on falling down // unless we fall in love // Open up our souls // to feel Your glory // Lord we are a desperate people… Let joy take temptation’s place.”
It’s the re-created, re-formed image of God within us that seeks after what is good because He is good (and lives within us). Where it becomes confusing is when we define “good” on our own and say “I know what’s best for me because I am my own god.” Jesus never acted outside of the Father’s will because the Trinity is relational and connected, not autonomous from one another. The Spirit sent the Son into the wilderness to be tempted. The Son was dependent on the Father for His sustenance.
When we take our queues from this, we can also learn to become wholly dependent on our relationship with God while we take steps towards holiness, faithfulness, and pleasing the Father. It is hard for temptation to take hold within a relational community of transparent believers. When we practice prayerful confession, relational interdependence, and humility, that can be a powerful force against the Evil One.
Let us continually respond to temptation by living obediently, practicing vulnerability, and diving into interdependence in the body.