We know the story well. Jesus had just come to the end of a 40-day fast in the desert where the devil had come to him with many wicked temptations. At the end he was probably tired, hungry, lonely, and vulnerable. Sitting down, the devil came at him again with three more big temptations.
Wanting to understand more fully what Jesus had experienced, I closed my eyes and envisioned myself in Jesus’ place. Sitting on a huge rock I realized the devil was coming at me. In-my-face suggestions swirled in front of my face. I felt his intensity, his charm, his insistence, his promises. I recognized him fully.
My vulnerability suddenly became clear and instinctively I turned to look for Jesus. “I can’t do this without you! I cannot handle this temptation on my own. I need you. Help me!” He was there before I called. He was my resistance.
There is a commercial for Mercedes, where the devil is trying to seduce a young man to make a deal with him. He promises the car and the lifestyle that goes with it if only the young man would sign the contract. After getting refused the disappointed devil dissipates into thin air.
If only it was so easy to understand when a deal is being made with the devil. He is usually sneaky, deceptive, careful, and quiet. He tempts and promises such great satisfaction. We don’t always know to call out to Jesus because we aren’t totally cognizant of the fact that we are being tempted. What is being offered seems so satisfying. But Jesus came to do for us what we cannot do for ourselves and therefore is ever ready to strengthen, empower, and enable us to resist. Christ, who lives in me, is aware, ready, wise, and never caught unmindful or naive to what is being offered. I am able to trust Him.
“I can’t do this without you!” has become my battle cry. Without his ever-present help, I am unshielded and unprotected, susceptible to signing the deal without ever knowing I am being sold a bill of goods. With him, I know I have everything I need to withstand the temptations that woo incredibly tenaciously.