The temptation to sin is nothing new and nobody escapes it. As a matter of fact, the temptations of Christ have been the stuff of many a Sunday sermon. Consider for a moment the temptation of eating. We all need to eat, and while Christ was in the flesh, He was no exception to this rule. Yet when He went into the desert, He chose to fast to purify Himself and to bring Himself closer to God. Satan was only too ready to capitalize on this and tempted Christ with the suggestion that He should still His burning hunger by transforming a rock into a loaf of bread.
To an almost starved man this is an interesting proposition; after all, there is nothing bad about making food or getting food when one has the means to do so, right? However, today's Christian must ask the question what evil she or he would be willing to do or accept in order to get something she or he perceived was needed at the moment. Furthermore, would this desire to accept a temporary evil be stronger than to endure with the hopes that God will come through in the end?
The temptation that Satan now throws down is perhaps a bit easier to recognize for what it is: a question of proof that Christ is indeed the Messiah by simply leaping off the mountain and allowing God's angels to come and rescue Him. Did Satan tempt Christ to seek proof for Himself or for Satan? In modern terms, would we seek to placate and perhaps stroke our selves by using a power which was given to us and abuse it for something like showing off?
Of the temptations of Christ, the last is perhaps the most telling: Satan told Christ that if He were to bow to him, Satan would give to Him dominion over the whole earth. Christ showed us by example how to deal with the temptation of wealth, popularity, and power - simply walk away from it and permit it to come to us in due time.
Many may think that this is good and well for the Messiah, the son of God; yet quite often those who attend church on Sunday may struggle with the idea of how to incorporate these ideas into the daily walk with God. While this may appear like a tall order, it is really not at all that complicated: it boils down to having an unshakable trust in God which, when coupled with complete obedience, will help the believer to recognize temptation when it comes, and prevent the self from being seduced by it.
Observing Christians know, of course, that is much easier said than done, especially considering that temptation sometimes is not recognized for what it is until it is too late. At this point we have to go back and remember the fact that while sin may not be recognized until it hits us square in the face, the good news is the fact that we can - at any time - pull the emergency brake and stop whatever it is that we are doing. Once more, the focus is shifted from allowing the self to be seduced to being focused on what God expects.