In the beginning, God created a garden in Eden with every tree for food, including the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. God placed Adam and Eve in the garden and commanded them not to eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Despite this, Eve, tempted by the serpent, ate the fruit and shared it with Adam, leading to the entrance of sin into the world and the need for redemption.

Comparing Temptations: Adam in Eden and Jesus in the Desert

Today, we’re concluding our series titled Empowered for More. We’re picking up from where we left off last week in Luke 4. Let’s start by comparing two significant moments of temptation in the Bible: Adam’s temptation in the Garden of Eden and Jesus’ temptation in the desert.

Adam was in an environment full of life with just one temptation. In contrast, Jesus faced temptation in the desert, a place where life is hard to come by, with many temptations. It’s no accident that Luke connects Jesus to Adam and then moves into Jesus’ own temptations. 

Temptation #1: Turning Stones to Bread

In Luke 4:1-2, we read that Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, was led by the Spirit into the wilderness, where he was tempted by the devil for forty days. Jesus ate nothing during that time and became very hungry. 

Then the devil said to him, “If you are the Son of God, tell this stone to become a loaf of bread.” But Jesus replied, “No! The Scriptures say, ‘People do not live by bread alone.’” (Luke 4:3-4 NLT)

The devil’s temptation can be summarized as, “You’ve got this; you don’t need God.” We often hear this lie: “You need this to be happy” or “God can’t provide for you.” These lies manifest in various ways, such as thinking we need a romantic relationship to be complete or a high-paying job to have a purpose. 

Jesus demonstrates the importance of maintaining spiritual focus even in the face of physical need. He counters the devil’s temptation by quoting Scripture, affirming that true life comes from every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.

Temptation #2: Taking Shortcuts

In Luke 4:5-8, we read about the second temptation Jesus faced:

“Then the devil took him up and revealed to him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time. ‘I will give you the glory of these kingdoms and authority over them,’ the devil said, ‘because they are mine to give to anyone I please. I will give it all to you if you will worship me.’ Jesus replied, ‘The Scriptures say, ‘You must worship the Lord your God and serve only him.’’” 

The lies in this temptation are: “You deserve this” and “Just this one time won’t hurt.” Satan first tried to make Jesus question God’s provision, and when that failed, he evolved his tactic: take a shortcut. Satan’s offer was immediate glory without the cross, but Jesus knew this was a lie. 

In our lives, we often encounter similar temptations to take shortcuts and compromise our values for immediate gratification. For instance, we might think, “I’m too tired to pray today; it’s just one time.” But these exceptions can quickly become the norm.

Temptation #3: Testing God’s Love

In Luke 4:9-12, we read about the third temptation Jesus faced: “Then the devil took him to Jerusalem to the highest point of the Temple and said, ‘If you are the Son of God, jump off! For the Scriptures say, ‘He will order his angels to protect and guard you. And they will hold you up with their hands so you won’t even hurt your foot on a stone.’ Jesus responded, ‘The Scriptures also say, ‘You must not test the Lord your God.’’”

The lie is: “If God loves you then… he would do this for you.” Satan escalates his attack, using Scripture out of context to try to manipulate Jesus into testing God’s love and protection. Jesus, deeply familiar with God’s word, combats this by quoting Scripture correctly.

This temptation manifests in various ways, leading us to doubt God’s love and provision. We might think, “If God loves me, he will heal me,” or “If God cared, he’d give me my dream job.” These thoughts can lead us to take matters into our own hands, missing out on God’s plans for our lives.

Filled with and Led by the Holy Spirit

Spiritual warfare is ongoing; it’s never truly over. Satan would come back in different ways and at other times to tempt and test Jesus again. Recognize that spiritual warfare is a sign that you’re moving in the right direction. The more you grow in your faith, the more resistance you will face, which means you’re making significant strides in your spiritual journey.

In my experience, people often flee from God during spiritual battles, but not in an obvious way. It’s a slow abandon. The issue isn’t necessarily what you’re quitting but that these small steps of abandoning your faith practices can lead to a gradual drift away from God.

Spiritual warfare is a reality for every believer, and staying grounded in your faith is crucial. Stay committed to your spiritual practices, trust in God’s unwavering love, and know that his plans for you are good even amid the battle. This reminds you of your power to overcome and stay strong in your faith.

Prioritizing your spirituality and faith means allowing the Holy Spirit to work in and through you. As a divine guide, the Holy Spirit helps us identify areas that need pruning and empowers us to make the necessary changes. It’s about being intentional with your time and energy, allowing God to prune your life so that you can grow stronger in your faith. 

Let’s do this as people filled with and led by the Holy Spirit.