Jesus answered, ‘It is written: “Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.”Matthew 4:4
I was recently reminded of how essential the Word of God is in resisting temptation. I was reminded of this through the testimonies shared at Celebrate Recovery, a Christ centered recovery program. Celebrate Recovery uses the Twelve Steps, but also uses Eight Principles from the Beatitudes. Principle Eight reads, “Yield myself to God to be used to bring this Good News to others, both by my example and by my words.”
Hearing how so many found victory over the pressures they endured was encouraging, and challenging. These testimonies also reminded me of how Jesus resisted temptation and the devil. Jesus overcame temptation by quoting the Word of God. In the Gospel of Matthew we read how the devil tempted Him three times and each time Jesus responded with the Word.
Three times the devil tempted Jesus in very specific ways and three times Jesus came back with a very specific scripture from the Bible. With the first temptation the devil said, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.” In the midst of His hunger Jesus responded with the Word from Deuteronomy 8:3, “Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.”
The second temptation came quickly after the first, which is often the way temptations hit us. The devil questions the true identity of Jesus with, “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down.” Jesus had no question about who He was because He was so full of the Word of God. He told the devil, “Do not put the Lord your God to the test,” from Deuteronomy 6:16.
With the third temptation the devil offered Jesus all the kingdoms of the world if He would only bow down and worship him. And for the third time Jesus hit him with the Word; “Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only,” from Deuteronomy 6:13. Jesus resisted him with the Word for the third time and the devil left Him alone for a more opportune time.
Like Jesus, those who share their testimony at Celebrate Recovery understand the truth of Psalm 119:11; “I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.” In spite of all their hurts, habits and hang-ups, they have found that reading and memorizing the Word is the way to react to temptation. Like Jesus, they have come to understand that we must be ready whenever temptations come our way, with the Word ready on our lips, mind and heart.