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Temptations by Pastor Youngjae Jee

posted Feb 26, 2016, 1:49 PM by Bowmansville UMC   [ updated Oct 3, 2016, 9:15 AM ]


        There are many ways to test a diamond.  For example, you can tell if your diamond is real by fogging it up like you would a mirror.   If fog stays two or three seconds or longer it is a fake.  Real diamond disperses heat instantaneously.  It would clear instantly if it is real.    There is a transparency test too.  It would only be possible if your diamond is loose.  Place your un-mounted diamond on the newspaper with the pointy side facing up.  If you can read news print clearly through the stone then your diamond is not real.  Genuine diamond scatter the light as it passes through them making new print a little blurry.  There is another way to test it out.  Get an x-ray examination. Diamonds have a radiolucent molecular structure, which means that they don't appear in x-ray images. They are transparent to x-rays.  Would you be happy if your diamond does turn out to be a fake?  Absolutely not!  You want a real one.

In the beginning stage of his ministry Jesus was tested in the wilderness.  The Holy Spirit led Jesus to the wilderness to be tested by the devil.  Why?  Is the Holy Spirit a friend with the devil?  No, definitely not.  Did the Holy Spirit take part in temptation?  No, absolutely not.   “When tempted, no one should say, "God is tempting me." For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone.” (James 1:13)  Then, why?

The evil was tempting Jesus, but Jesus did not yield to temptation.  He was a human being, but at the same time he was not like any human being.  He was not like Adam and Eve.  He was not like the king David.  He was not like any other human beings who fell to temptations.  He is God who cannot be tempted by evil.

The voice of the evil is the same as before.  It gives us a doubt, fires the lust of the flesh and eyes, and finally drives us to act against God and bring out the worst in us.  Let us be reminded of the moment when the Satan tempted Eve.  Satan whispered, “Try it.  It is okay.  You will be like God.  No harm will be done.  God ahead! ”   When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was “good for food” and “pleasing to the eye” and then she “took some and ate it.”(Genesis 3:6)  She also gave some to her husband.  Sin is spreading to the next. 

The devil’s nature is to tempt.  The Satan’s nature is to tempt.  He is a tempter.  He seeks to devour people.  “Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” (1 Peter 5:8)   The devil uses something to stir up your lust, e.g., an apple in Adam and Eve’s case, a naked woman in David’s.  “Each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed.  Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.” (James 1:14)  For Jesus the devil used bread, the authority and splendor of the kingdoms of the world, and his faith in God, but nothing worked. 

Jesus was tempted, but he passed all of them.  The testing of Jesus was to prove who he was.  Maybe the Holy Spirit led him to be tempted to prove who he was.  He was human like us, but he was God who cannot yield to temptation.  He was without sin and totally righteous.  We are tempted in every way like he was, but often times we fail to pass them.  We are weak, but we see Jesus who loves us pass all of them.  “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are -- yet was without sin.” (Hebrew 4:15)  He has sympathy with our weaknesses, but never sin.    He is our high priest who has no sin and who stands by us fighting against the devil.

The defeat of Satan by Jesus does not prove that Satan is weak.  Satan is never weak against us.  He is a ruler of this world.  He overpowers us and he has been making us his slaves.  It has never been easy for us to live free from his power.  Therefore we should not trust ourselves but submit ourselves to God.  Do not try to outwit the Satan but simply come near to God.  That is the best way we can do. “Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.  Come near to God and he will come near to you.  Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.  Grieve, mourn and wail. Change your laughter to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.” (James 4:7-10)  Do not just resist the devil but submit yourselves to God first.  That is the way to win this fight. 

Humbly walk with Jesus who has power to overcome evil.  Jesus is the diamond that is given to you, whose power you can use when you confront any temptations and when you confront weaknesses of your fellow human beings.  You may learn to forgive and stand by with each other as Jesus did for us.  You may learn not to hold a grudge against each other.  “If anyone of you without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.” (John 8:7)  Our ministry is to love and forgive as Jesus did for us.  We all are given a diamond from God, which is real love and forgiveness that cannot separate us from one another.  In this season of Lent I pray that all of us test out the diamond in our hearts and find out it is real.  Amen.