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So much to tempt us

I usually plant potatoes in mid-February, but not so this year.

With the lingering cold and frequent rains, potato planting had to be postponed for awhile, but I finally got it done on the first day of March—even though I am not fully convinced that the ground will warm up quickly enough for it pay off.

One of our church boys has shown an interest in gardening when he comes to our house; in almost every visit, in summer and winter, he usually enjoys checking to see what I have growing. Hoping to cultivate his interest in gardening, I invited him to come over and help with potato planting. Even though it was on his eighth birthday, he eagerly agreed to come and help.

I was still tilling the ground when he arrived, but it did not take long for him to find plenty to occupy his attention.

He picked up worms that had been unearthed, he pulled up carrots that were nowhere near ready to be harvested and checked out the onion and cabbage plants. There was enough temptation in that little garden patch to pull him in many directions. And when I had everything ready to start planting, Chandler was ready to help me. He did a great job, and we had a wonderful afternoon together.

The temptations that vied for Chandler’s attention in the garden were all innocent and served to feed his curiosity about the big world that he lives in. However, as we all too well know, as he gets older and more independent, he will face temptations that are anything but innocent.

Nevertheless, we can rejoice for him as well as for ourselves that temptation does not have to overtake us. Notice what I Corinthians 10:13 states: “No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; He will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, He will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.”

There is no greater example to follow than Christ Himself in our endeavor to overcome temptation.

In the New Testament, Matthew 4, Mark 1 and Luke 4 offer us details about the temptations that Christ overcame victoriously during His 40 days in the wilderness. We would do well to often revisit these events in Christ’s life, and especially during this Lenten season as we focus on what Messiah endured for us so that we can have the opportunity to receive the gift of eternal life through faith in Him and His payment for our sins.

Of all that can be said about Christ’s victory over temptation, one of the great lessons we can glean is that He went into temptation prepared to face His adversary. If we enter into temptations unprepared and uncertain where we stand on right and wrong, chances of defeat are too high.

So, what are some ways that Christ was prepared to face the temptations that Satan flung at Him?

There is much that could be said in response to that inquiry, but if we will follow Him in two things we will be well on our way to victory over temptation: He was prepared by being full of the Holy Spirit (Luke 4:1), and He was prepared by being familiar with God’s Word (Matthew 4:4,7,10).

Temptations are all around and Satan is proficient at making them enticing, but there is a way of escape to be gained as we lean upon God and His Word.