What It Means to Be Human: Temptation

David Bast

Read: Hebrews 4:14-16; Matthew 4:1-11

One who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. (v. 15)

“I can resist everything—except temptation,” declared the playwright Oscar Wilde. Very witty. But temptation is a serious business. When Satan tempts he’s not just trying to spoil your diet or throw your budget out of whack; he’s playing for keeps. He would like nothing more than to destroy your faith if he could. Failing that, he would settle for wrecking your happiness and peace of mind and disrupting your fellowship with God.

Temptation isn’t just a common human experience; it is an experience unique to human beings. Animals are beneath temptation; angels are above it. In a way, it’s actually a sign of spiritual health. To be tempted one must know the difference between good and evil and be capable of choosing between them. A thoroughly bad man isn’t tempted because he doesn’t even think about doing the right thing. The saints in heaven don’t face temptation because they no longer can sin.

Here too Jesus offers us an example of what it means to be human. In the wilderness Satan offered Jesus the world, literally. All Jesus had to do was bow down to him. Jesus confounded the Devil by the power of God’s Word.

We too can use Scripture to overcome temptation, but we also have something more—we have Jesus himself to help us. Because Jesus knows all about it, “he is able to help those who are being tempted” (Heb. 2:18). —David Bast

Prayer: Lord Jesus, when I am tempted, help me say no to sin.