He Showed Us How to Overcome
It is written again, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God. Matthew 4:7.
In the wilderness of temptation Christ met the great leading temptations that would assail man. There He encountered, single handed, the wily, subtle foe, and overcame him. The first great temptation was upon appetite; the second, presumption; the third, love of the world. Satan has overcome his millions by tempting them to the indulgence of appetite. Through the gratification of the taste, the nervous system becomes excited and the brain power enfeebled, making it impossible to think calmly or rationally. The mind is unbalanced. Its higher, nobler faculties are perverted to serve animal lusts, and the sacred, eternal interests are not regarded. When this object is gained, Satan can come with his two other leading temptations and find ready access. His manifold temptations grow out of these three great leading points.
Presumption is a common temptation, and as Satan assails men with this, he obtains the victory nine times out of ten. Those who profess to be followers of Christ, and claim by their faith to be enlisted in the warfare against all evil in their nature, frequently plunge without thought into temptations from which it would require a miracle to bring them forth unsullied. Meditation and prayer would have preserved them and led them to shun the critical, dangerous position in which they placed themselves when they gave Satan the advantage over them. The promises of God are not for us rashly to claim while we rush on recklessly into danger, violating the laws of nature and disregarding prudence and the judgment with which God has endowed us. This is the most flagrant presumption.
The thrones and kingdoms of the world and the glory of them were offered to Christ if He would only bow down to Satan. Never will man be tried with temptations as powerful as those which assailed Christ. Satan came with worldly honor, wealth, and the pleasures of life, and presented them in the most attractive light to allure and deceive. “All these things,” said he to Christ, “will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me.” Christ repelled the wily foe and came off victor.
Christ’s example is before us. He overcame Satan, showing us how we may also overcome. Christ resisted Satan with Scripture. He might have had recourse to His own divine power, and used His own words; but He said: “It is written”…. If the Sacred Scriptures were studied and followed, the Christian would be fortified to meet the wily foe.
When the religion of Christ rules in the heart, conscience approves, and peace and happiness reign; perplexity and trouble may surround, yet there is light in the soul. Submission, love, and gratitude to God keep sunshine in the heart, though the day maybe ever so cloudy