Scripture: Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted there by the devil. [Matthew 4:1 NLT]
In the 1920s American physiologist Walter Cannon first described what took place in the response known as fight-or-flight. This is also known as acute stress response and is a physiological reaction that takes place when we face something physically or mentally threatening. The response is the body’s way of preparing us to either stay and face the threat or run away to safety. Scientists have identified that there is a chain of reactions that takes place within the body enabling the various resources necessary to deal with the threat. This response is a large factor in determining your survival in facing the threat being presented.
There is a story in the Bible about one person’s fight-or-flight response to the Devil. It happens to be a story that moves swiftly from one of the most glorious of scenes to one of the most dangerous. In the first scene the Creator of all things in the universe is well pleased. The second scene turns to the Savior of the universe being tempted by the deceiver. Jesus has just been in a place of amazing favor and now he is rushed to a place of demonic fervor. The Son of God is hungry, tired, and tempted like no one ever has been before. The Devil offers him power, fame and position like no one on earth ever. A response is demanded of Christ – fight-or-flight. As we all know Jesus chose to fight. No punches thrown, but a fight nonetheless.
We know the response Jesus had in facing temptation in the wilderness. He fought the Devil with the words of Scripture. He fought temptation with the promises of His Father. We know that Jesus won the fight against temptation. Why did Jesus face the temptation? Perhaps, the answer can be found in our Scripture for today. Matthew writes, “Then Jesus was led out into the wilderness by the Holy Spirit to be tempted there by the Devil.” Jesus was “led out” away from the place of God’s glorious pronouncement of favor “by the Holy Spirit.” The Holy Spirit, the third person of the trinity, led Jesus out into the wilderness. Then comes the kicker … “to be tempted.” The Holy Spirit led Jesus out into the wilderness for the purpose of being tempted. It is not like they were on a stroll and the Devil happened along to tempt Jesus. The Holy Spirit led Jesus out for the sole purpose of allowing Him to be tempted.
Maybe today you are feeling like Jesus in the wilderness. Perhaps you feel as though you have been led into the wilderness to be tempted. If this is the case, you have a choice to make. You can fight, flee, or fall prey. Many will fall prey to the temptation in their life today. If you are not feeling confident in your ability to fight, take the advice of Proverbs and flee. Flee as far from the temptation as you can possibly get and don’t return. As followers of Christ we have One who is on our side and who has fought the fight we are facing. We can face the temptation in our life because of Jesus. You need to know today that not only can you face temptation down, you can be victorious against it. When you find yourself facing temptation today, fight; not with your own power, but in the name of Jesus and with the power of the Holy Spirit dwelling within you.
Prayer: Holy God, I know that there will be temptation in my life today. I also know that I live today as a follower of Jesus. May I remember the way Jesus fought temptation and won. Empower me today to rely on your Holy Spirit to be victorious over the temptation I face. In the name of Jesus. Amen.