Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. (Matthew 4:1)
Do you see the interesting dual intentions reflected in this verse? God’s Spirit was testing Jesus and the devil was tempting Him. God and Satan were not trying to bring about the same outcome!
There was a battle waged for the soul of Jesus. And there is also a battle going on in your life.
The chart below contrasts the different goals that God and Satan have for the trials we face in life.
In Luke 22 we find Satan obtaining permission to “sift” Peter like wheat. Peter was quite sure he would not deny his Lord and even had argued with Jesus over this.
Jesus gave Satan permission to tempt Peter severely, but told Peter in advance, “I have prayed for you that your faith will not fail. And when you turn back be a strength to your brothers.”
Jesus was confident in His own prayers for Peter. Peter needed to discover something about his own sinful pride. The testing by Satan would help Peter understand his own weakness and therefore his need for Jesus even more.
Sometimes the enemy is given access to tempt us. We may even at times succumb to his temptations. But as believers we can be sure that if we will return to Jesus that He can use the ordeal as a means of revealing our need and His solution more clearly.
Is there a place in your life where you are presently overcome with temptation? Have you discovered the hidden area of pride or unbelief that God is exposing? If so, confess it as sin and turn it over to God. If not, realize God is trying to help you discover something of yourself in this trial. And He is mighty to save and will deliver you. The prayers of Jesus on your behalf always get answered!