the imitation of christ
The temptation and testing of Christ
Why did the disciples ask that Jesus teach them how to pray in the first place? They saw what he was doing and new that it was the right way, he was the way. Let's get back to that revelation and not just learn this prayer but look to the authentic life of Jesus.
How did the author of this prayer life his life? Detail the temptations and testing he went through and the results of his prayers and actions.
In the Wilderness
1 Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil.
2 And after fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry.
3 And the tempter came and said to him, "If you are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread."
4 But he answered, "It is written, "'Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.'"
5 Then the devil took him to the holy city and set him on the pinnacle of the temple
6 and said to him, "If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down, for it is written, "'He will command his angels concerning you,' and "'On their hands they will bear you up, lest you strike your foot against a stone.'"
7 Jesus said to him, "Again it is written, 'You shall not put the Lord your God to the test.'"
8 Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory.
9 And he said to him, "All these I will give you, if you will fall down and worship me."
10 Then Jesus said to him, "Be gone, Satan! For it is written, "'You shall worship the Lord your God and him only shall you serve.'" - Matthew 4:1-10
There is much in the description of Jesus' temptation in the wilderness to indicate that it all happened within his own head and imagination.
Satan was able to show Jesus every kingdom of the Earth and one look,
he was able to take him up to the top of the temple and ask him to throw himself off, but there are no accounts of others seeing this event
all of this seems to show that the temptation of Jesus was all in his mind and didn't actually happen.
That is not belittle the experience at all, but does reveal where the seat of temptation is ... in between our ears.
It's in our imagination that temptation occurs.
Current day thinking is that everything that happens inside our heads has its origin in brain chemistry, hormones, neurones. It's all us ... nothing else.
temptation starts in the imagination first. It is a battle between truth and deception. It is a battle between life and death. We had to bring every imagination captive to Christ. Our actions are the end result of our thoughts. The temptation begins in the mind, the imagination.
satan offered Jesus what he wanted, but tempted him to obtain it through illegitimate means ... he was hungry so turn the stones into bread but by doing so he would not be relying on God to provide life, he was asked to reveal that he was the son of God by jumping from the temple - but he would have been putting the Father to the test, and finally he was offered what he really wanted .. every kingdom on earth, but he would have to worship the devil
In this garden a choice was to be made by Jesus, the consequences of which would determine the fate of all human-kind, in fact of the entire universe. No wonder he began sweating blood. And the devil was all over it, under extreme pressure himself. And what does Jesus pray:
Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me. Nevertheless, not my will, but yours, be done.
In other words, 'deliver me from evil'.
What does he exhort his disciples to do - pray they not fall into temptation.
Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.
the enemy would have us be 'asleep', dormant, apathetic, in slumber rather than vibrant, alive and worshiping Jesus. Much like Peter and the disciples in the garden of gethsemane
When Jesus asked that the cup would be taken from him he was asking to be delivered from evil. But for the first and only time in history the answer to that prayer was 'no'.
As Albert Schweitzer once put it, Jesus was called to throw himself on the wheel of world history, so that, even though it crushed him, it might start to turn in the opposite direction.
Prayer and the Word of God
Jesus above all things new the truth. He new the character of the Father and this he learnt through daily prayer and knowledge of the scriptures.
It was with this truth that he was able to pinpoint the lies and deception of the devil, and with the leading and guiding and imitation of the Father he was able to achieve what he did and defeat death - satan's ultimate weapon.
The Disciples' Story
we are left with this gift of a prayer ... the disciples' prayer
as God sent Jesus into the world, so Jesus sends us out into the world to build his kingdom
build the Kingdom of God. 'May your Kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven'
Satan and his kingdom are an ever-present force of temptation in our lives. Like gravity, there is a downward pull on us at all times, so resisting this pull isn't something we can do on occasion – we must do it constantly; it is something we must live in
There are weak points in all of our characters. Remember that a rope is only as strong as its weakest point.
have people write down a temptation/test ... fold it up, collect and redistribute. Then have people pray for one another during worship.
Lord's prayer to be prayed as a community prayer ... lead US not into temptation
Guilt is crud that clogs our relationship with the Father. We feel ashamed, unworthy to enter in the presence of the Father or to draw close to him.
We avoid prayer because we don't know how to deal with the guilt or move through it. But often it is imagined, a scheme of the devil to deceive us into thinking we can't draw near to the Father.
To sin is to lose your comfort and ease with which you can be in God's presence.
the devil can recreated this discomfort with guilt
Temptation is not sin. After all, even Jesus was tempted, so we know that just feeling a pull is not a sin. Do not be tricked into feeling guilty because you are tempted
to be tempted is not a sin. Jesus himself was tempted in every way. What matters is how you respond to temptation
if you have a grey muggy guilty feeling that could be from the devil
the holy spirit will bring a pinpointed, sharp conviction of sin
Dallas Willard when asked what he thought was the key to spiritual growth in life said it was to recklessly remove hurry.
Challenge people to intentionally slow down. Intentionally not hurry.
We need to build margin into our lives, so that we have the space to listen to God and to react to the unexpected.
1% of the work is done by us the rest is by the holy spirit, so we end to make space and time for him