Here are some practical pointers from Jesus for handling temptation:
(1) Your temptations are like the ones He faced. ‘For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathise with our weaknesses, but one who has been tempted in every way as we are, yet without sin.’ (Hebrews 4:15 HCSB) You say, ‘But you don’t understand how bad my temptations are.’ No, but Jesus does. The fact that He was tempted in every way, means He has been there, felt the urge, and understands your vulnerability first-hand. You can turn to Him when temptation hits, confident He has walked the same path and He will help you.
(2) Temptation often comes after spiritual victory. Jesus had just been baptised, the Holy Spirit descended on Him, and God declared His pleasure in His Son—then Satan struck full force (see Matthew 3:16–17; 4:1–11). High spiritual moments can leave you with your guard down, susceptible to attack. Paul says, ‘Let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall.’ (1 Corinthians 10:12 NKJV) People often crash and burn after big accomplishments. Ministers, for example, can be prone to temptation after delivering a great sermon.
(3) Temptation comes when you’re exhausted. Forty days without eating had left Jesus physically depleted. When your resources are drained, you’re a target for attack. Lack of sleep, unhealthy diet, stretching yourself too thin, no exercise, anxiety, and discouragement can open the door to temptation. When you feel down, your focus blurs, your awareness is dulled, your spiritual edge diminishes, and you’re not on guard against the Enemy’s approaches and schemes. The Bible says, ‘Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.’ (1 Peter 5:8 NASB)