LESSON: Self-control comes from putting God’s Word in our hearts
Memory Verse: “I have hidden your Word in my heart that I might not sin against you.” – Psalm 119:11
Bible Story: The Temptation of Jesus (Matthew 4:1-17)
The temptation of Jesus was part of His preparation for ministry. It showed how the King of kings met His enemy, “the prince of this world” (according to John 14:30) and defeated him.
- The first temptation
Satan used the desires of the flesh – hunger – to tempt Jesus into using his divine powers to make bread for himself. Jesus responded by quoting Scripture, specifically Deuteronomy 8:3, “Man does not live by bread alone, but on every word that comes out of the mouth of God.” Notice that Jesus had the Word “hidden in His heart” – HE MEMORIZED SCRIPTURE — and He was able to quote it and use it at the right time.
- The second temptation
Satan then used a “dare” to tempt Jesus into proving the faithfulness of God. This time, Satan also showed that he too knew the Scriptures, and so he uses this to deceive Jesus by quoting Psalm 91:11-12. Satan said, “throw yourself off the temple and let the angels catch you just as your God promised.” However, Satan left out an important phrase from this verse that says, “In all your ways.”
“For He will command His angels concerning you, to guard you IN ALL YOUR WAYS; they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.” – Psalm 91:11-12
This is how Satan and how false teachers and false prophets deceive using quotes from the Bible. They twist its meaning and make it seem like the Bible supports their worldly ideas and choices by either ADDING or REMOVING some parts of the verses. This is why we should READ AND STUDY THE BIBLE so that we can gain a better understanding of God’s heart so that we won’t be deceived by Bible verses that are taken out of context.
Jesus replied with a quote of the Word again, “Do not put the Lord your God to the test.” It is wrong to dare God to “rescue” us when we just want to prove His power to do so. He is not obliged to save those who deliberately put themselves in danger.
- The third temptation
Satan now tempts Jesus with an “easy way” to become King. Jesus would reign over all creation as the King of kings, but He would have to suffer and die on the cross first. Satan was trying to make Jesus take the shortcut and not have to die on the cross.
For the third time, Jesus uses Scripture to rebuke Satan and said, “Away from me, Satan! For it is written: WORSHIP the Lord your God, and serve Him only.” Jesus chose to worship and follow God’s will even if it means having to suffer and even die on the cross in order to fulfill God’s plan and purpose for the salvation of mankind.
In the three attempts at temptation, Jesus fought and won by using a very powerful weapon – the WORD OF GOD. Ephesians 6:17 tells us that the Word of God is the “sword of the spirit.” It is our weapon, which is why we should hide it in our hearts through daily reading, study and memorization, so that we are ready to use it whenever we need it.
This is what “hiding God’s Word in our heart” means – to make it part of our daily life by making an effort to read and study and memorize. This is so we can have control over how we fight temptations, because God’s Word guides us to what is right and reveals to us what is wrong. It gives us the power to have self-control over all kinds of temptation, just as Jesus showed us how to:
- Knowing it by heart allows us to be ready to use it anytime.
- Studying it helps prevent us from getting deceived when false teachers and false prophets use it to make it look like the Bible supports their worldly thinking.
- Worshipping only the one true God means we serve Him only and we will not allow anything or anyone else to take “first place” in our lives.