Matthew 4:1 Then was Jesus led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil.
2 And when he had fasted forty days and forty nights, he was afterward an hungred.
3 And when the tempter came to him, he said, If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread.
Discerning the difference between the workings of God and the mischief of Satan sometimes serves as a difficult task for believers. Although the Devil is called the tempter in Matthew 4:3 and 1 Thessalonians 3:5, the Bible also shows that God uses temptation to try a man (Genesis 22:1). Other than the association to instigating temptation, God and Satan have no other common ground in this matter. The Devil’s motive and method of temptation is simply wicked. On the other hand, the Lord tempts only for the sake of trying one’s faith to bring about a righteous outcome. Do not discount the fact that God never tempted anyone with evil (James 1:13).
- (For children): Consider the story of Joseph. His faith and obedience were tested by God (Psalm 105:16-21). Yet, Satan always tempts people to do evil. Consider Judas (John 13:2) and Ananias and Sapphira (Acts 5:3).
- (For everyone): Why is it important to be able to discern whether the instigator of your temptation is the Lord or the Devil? How can this affect your response to the temptation?
- What foundational distinctions can be found in the temptations of God and the temptations of Satan? How do these specific distinctions reflect the character of God versus Satan?
- Ask the Lord to give you discernment in times of temptation.
- Ask God to show you the desire of your enemy to destroy.
SONG: FELLOW SOLDIER, WHERE’S THINE ARMOUR?