Early in Jesus’ earthly ministry He went into the wilderness and allowed Himself to be tempted by Satan. Satan tempted Jesus, even by misusing scripture. He asked Jesus to prove Himself by turning stone into bread or by jumping off the temple and saving Himself from injury. He offered Jesus the world, the glory, power and recognition that mankind often seek. However Jesus refused and rebuked Satan. Scripture affirms that Jesus had the ability to do these things. For example, He changed the laws of the universe when He feed the multitudes with a few loaves of bread and pieces of fish; when He calmed the storm with His words alone; or when He walked on water. He gave sight to the blind, hearing to the deaf and freedom to the demon possessed not because He had to prove something to observers but because He wanted to show us what we could do if we honour and believe in Him alone. There are many comparisons we can draw from Jesus’ temptation and relate them to our own lives but if anything we should note these two points: (1) God allows temptation; and (2) Satan never gives up trying to tempt us to go against God’s plan for us. We should especially consider these points as we participate in the MCF mission to share the gospel to the military community.
Reaching out to the military can be a challenge and although our intentions are about reaching the lost, we face struggles that can derail us especially when we allow Satan to put thoughts in our minds to tempt Jesus to prove Himself to us during these times. People have suggested that God promised that He would not allow us to undergo any hardship that we cannot overcome. He did not make that promise. But when we get laid off from our job, or our spouse leaves us, or our Doctor tells us our cancer is incurable or we just can’t seem to reach out to anyone, we are tempted by Satan to question God’s love and promise keeping. God did not promise us an easy life but He did promise that He will be with us during those times if we ask. He also promised, as shared in 1 Corinthians, to help us overcome the temptations that take us away from our focus on God. Satan will not stop trying to get us to question God’s authority. When tempted we can resist and overcome Satan if, like Jesus, we claim God’s authority and even quote scripture.
Being tempted to do what is wrong is not a sin but giving into temptation creates the opportunity for sin to thrive. We need partners in our pursuit of our vision to see the gospel shared with all our military community. We need you to be battle ready to participate in this mission and so we need you to be prepared to recognize and resist temptation. Scripture provides the guidance, the battle plan as well as the expected outcome while prayer enhances and strengthen us so we are combat ready. Jesus prayed and quoted scripture to combat Satan and has guided us to do the same. If we are not connected to God and recognize His authority over all creation and eternity we can be tempted to believe we have the skills and abilities to convince someone to be a follower of Jesus. If we set out without God’s grace and support we are ripe for temptation that leads us to think we must modify the message to reach our unique military culture. We can be tempted to promote an agenda that may not necessarily give God the full honour and glory. We can be tempted by Satan to think less about God’s role and focus more on our own. Pray, read the Word, and join us as we share the gospel.