Fighting Temptation with Scripture

Janet Aucoin July 16, 2021

As Janet Aucoin and Alexandra Nitzschke continue talking about the tools we have to fight temptation, we turn our eyes to the powerful Word of God, which helps us fight against the pull of our sinful desires. Alexandra dives deep into Matthew 4 to look at how Jesus was tempted during His 40 days in the desert - and how we too can have victory over temptation if we study, know, and embrace the Scriptures as He did. Main Passage: Matthew 4

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Janet: I don't just need to feel better. I need the truth. And ultimately that will make me better.
Alexandra: I just want to make it as totally simple and no brainer as possible for ladies to see that
the Bible is really applicable to their everyday life.
Jocelyn: When they understand theology, the application flows out of it quickly with joy.
Janet: It is a journey, but even the journey itself is joyful when I'm doing it, holding the hand of
my savior and trusting him all along the way. This is the joyful journey podcast, a podcast to
inspire and equip women to passionately pursue beautiful biblical truth on their journey as
women of God. When you choose truth, you're choosing joy. Typically, I’ll be joined by either
Jocelyn or Alexandra, but for our first full episode listen as all three of us discuss the topic of
Janet: Welcome back. Today, Alexandra is going to be leading our discussion on a subject that
affects all of us. How do we fight the frequent temptations that we face? How can we be
spiritually prepared and not easily swayed?
Alexandra: Hi, Janet. So I'm really excited to talk about this today. I wanted to start by opening
up with a quote by DL moody that has been so convicting in my life. It says, "the Bible will keep
you from sin or sin will keep you from your Bible."
Janet: Ouch.

Alexandra: So, yeah, in this episode, we're going to be discussing how our time in God's word
affects our response to the temptation to sin. So we're going to be studying how Jesus used
scripture when He was tempted as an example to us in our own temptations, we're all tempted
and it might even be a good idea to pause the podcast for about 30 seconds right now and
consider, what ways am I most heavily tempted towards sin in this season of my life. So you'll
get a lot of great opportunities to apply principles from scripture directly to that temptation in
this episode today. You know, I've had a lot of conversations with people recently. And so it's just
on my mind and I just want to share that anyone that reads this passage that we're going to go
through today, if we're humble, we should all be walking away thinking, I'm not there yet.
Janet: Absolutely.
Alexandra: So if anyone feels discouraged as we're reading through Matthew 4 today and
thinking, gosh, I am not anywhere close to that. Take heart because we're all there. We're not
equal to the character of Christ. And so,
Janet: Well, and doesn't it make us grateful that that's not how we approach God. We approach on
the righteousness of Christ. So it makes me more grateful.
Alexandra: Yeah. And that He, you know, he truly does meet us where we're at and I'm walks
with Him and He loves us where we're at because our merit doesn't qualify His love for us. So I
just want to encourage anyone. You know, is going through this today and thinking, oh gosh, I'm
so yeah, we're all there. We all need to grow. So, okay. So let's jump right in. So in Genesis it
says multiple times that God spoke creation into existence. God's word is so powerful and it's
important that we view it as a valuable asset in our walk with God, Ephesians 6:17 says that the
word of God is the "sword of the Spirit." So in my mind, I visualize my time in God's word as
loading up on spiritual ammo.
Janet: Ooh, I like that. I like to think in pictures. That's good.
Alexandra: Yeah. So the Holy Spirit can use really anything He wants to convict us of sin and to
help us grow in wisdom. But Hebrews 4:12 does say that "the word of God is living and active,
sharper than any two-edged sword piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of
marrow discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart." So there is no better tool on this
earth for the Holy Spirit to work on my heart than the Bible. So today we're going to be
discussing Matthew four verses 1 through 11. So at the age of 30 years old, Jesus went into his
public ministry. He did this for three years until He went to the cross. Both the beginning and the
end of Jesus' public ministry is marked by a significant temptation. The first temptation is here in
Matthew 4. The last big temptation was in the garden of Gethsemane and into the path to the
cross, which we talked about last episode. Within each of these two temptations, He was tempted
three times and He responded to those temptations with tools that are available also to us:
scripture and prayer. Last episode, we talked about prayer's role in fighting temptation.

Janet: Let me just mention here, sorry to interrupt you. If you missed that episode, I just
encourage you to go back and listen. I was really challenged by the thought that trials come,
whether I'm prepared or not. So, I find that now I'm trying to look even at my calendar each
morning and pray about what's coming up that day instead of just bursting into my day. And I
just found that topic, eye opening and helpful. So, go back if you didn't hear that last time.
Alexandra: Praise God. Today we're going to be covering His first temptation after going into
public ministry as recorded in Matthew 4. So similar to what we did in the last episode, when we
talked about Jesus, praying in the garden of Gethsemane, we're going to walk through this
passage verse by verse. The reason why I'm going to do it this way is because I really want to
demonstrate to our listeners how we can come to passages on our own and study them deeply.
And I hope it inspires you to do your own deep dive on passages that the Lord imprints on your
soul and whatever season you're in right now, and that you'll walk away seeing that scripture is
full of depth, wisdom, and application. God's word is truly sufficient for anything that you might
be going through right now.
Janet: Such great hope even in that.
Alexandra: So let's take a look at a timeline of what is happening in the context of this passage
before diving in. So we're going to be studying Matthew 4 verses 1 through 11, but Janet, can
you please read for us Mark 1:9 through 13?
Janet: Sure. Let's see Mark 1:9, "One day Jesus came from Nazareth in Galilee and John baptized
Him in the Jordan river. As Jesus came up out of the water, He saw the heaven splitting apart and
the Holy Spirit descending on Him like a dove and a Spirit from heaven said 'You were My
dearly loved Son and You bring Me great joy.' The Spirit then compelled Jesus to go into the
wilderness where He was tempted by Satan for 40 days. He was out among the wild animals and
angels took care of Him."
Alexandra: Thank you. So this is a reader's digest version of our passage that we're going to
study in Matthew 4. Here Mark gives us a timeline of the events that happened leading up to the
start of Jesus' ministry. So first we see that Jesus was baptized. Then He fasted for 40 days and
was tempted by Satan. So immediately after God exalted over Jesus. Jesus had a confrontation
with Satan. And then after that, Jesus begins His public ministry. So let's dive right in to our
passage today. Janet, will you please read for us Matthew 4 verses 1 through 11.
Janet: "Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted there by the devil. For
40 days and 40 nights. He fasted and became very hungry. During that time the devil came and
said to Him, 'If You're the Son of God, tell these stones to become loaves of bread,' but Jesus told
Him 'No, the scripture say people do not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from
the mouth of God.' Then the devil took Him to the holy city, Jerusalem to the highest point of the
temple and said, 'If You're the Son of God, jump off. For the scripture, say "He will order His

angels to protect You. And they will hold You up with their hands. So you won't even hurt your
foot on a stone."' Jesus responded, 'The scriptures also say, you must not test the Lord, your God.'
Next the devil took Him to the peak of a very high mountain and showed Him all the kingdoms
of the world and their glory. 'I will give it all to You.' He said, 'if You will kneel down and
worship me.' 'Get out of here, Satan,' Jesus told him 'for the scripture says, you must worship the
Lord, your God, and serve only Him.' Then the devil went away and the angels came and took
care of Jesus.
Alexandra: Excellent. So let's start with verses one and two, which says, as you just read, " Jesus
was led by the Spirit, into the wilderness to be tempted there by the devil and for 40 days and 40
nights, He fasted and became hungry." So first we see here in verse one, that God is never the
One who is tempting us. We see this throughout scripture. James 1:13 says, "let no one say when
he is tempted, I am being tempted by God." God is not the author of sin. Our desires are.
Janet: Yes.
Alexandra: So sin occurs. I like to visualize this in my head. So sin occurs when my sinful
desire connects with a temptation and you can't see me right now, but I'm pointing my fingers
Janet: Which is very helpful. Sorry, you guys can't see that.
Alexandra: So the reason why Jesus never sinned is because He had no simple desires, His
desires were pure. But He wasn't lazy in regards to temptation. Last episode, we talked a lot
about having a humble look at our humanity and we will see here again, that Jesus is prepared
for temptation, even though He has pure desires.
Janet: Yeah.
Alexandra: None of us can control what we are tempted by, but we can control how we prepare
for temptations and how we respond to temptations. We always have a choice because God will
always provide a way out of temptation. First Corinthians 10: 13 says that "no temptation has
overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful and He will not let you be tempted
beyond your ability, but with the temptation, He will also provide the way of escape that you will
be able to endure it."
Janet: I love the hope that's in this verse. And also what it's not saying. It's not out trials and hard
times, and I've had people try to use this verse in that way. This verse isn't saying there's always a
way of escape. There's a way out of this situation. There's a way to escape something hard, but
that's not what it says. It actually ends with saying you're able to endure it. In those hard things,
when we're tempted, God always provides a way for us to stand up in our trials and endure, and
we never have to give into temptation. I love that.

Alexandra: Yeah. And that's gives you such hope when your situation doesn't relent, you know.
Janet: Right.
Alexandra: And you don't have relief from your situation that this versus actually talking about
endurance. I love that. So, like I said, our desires are the author of our sin and our desires are
centered around things that we idolize control, safety, praise of man, power, success, comfort,
anything. So Isaiah 40 through 48 says over and over that graven idols are characterized by three
things. They can't see, they can't hear and they can't speak. And when God's people gives into it,
They become those three things. They can't see the wisdom in the word or discern about how the
word applies to themselves and they can't hear wisdom and they can't speak wisdom.
Janet: Yeah.
Alexandra: And to be perfectly blunt with you in the words of Mary Kassian "sin makes you
Janet: And I need to hear it blunt.
Alexandra: Yes. So, if you want to eliminate sin in your life, then you have to attack on the heart
level at the point of your temptations. And what we see here in this passage is that Jesus did that
with the use of scripture. On a practical level, it is very challenging to identify what scriptures to
use during specific temptations. And it starts with an understanding of the idols in your heart. If
you feel like scripture, quote unquote, isn't working in your fight against temptation than the
Holy Spirit has probably not revealed to you, the deepest idol within that sin. And it pretty
challenging to see idols by yourself. But this is where the body of Christ is a beautiful tool.
Janet: So let me stop you there for a minute, cause I'm imagining somebody listening to this and
saying, first of all, I can totally relate that I think I'm using scripture, but it's not working. I
totally relate to that. But when you say deepest idol within that, I have no idea what that looks
like. I don't have a master's degree in biblical counseling. How in the world am I going to apply
that? So what does that look like?
Alexandra: Yeah. So let's use an example of me and my imperfect parenting. So James 1: 27, I
think talks about how anger does not produce the righteousness of God. So I know I should not
get sinfully angry.
Janet: Right.
Alexandra: Well, if I just have that verse in my head, like, don't be angry, don't be angry. Don't
be... and then my kids do something and I find myself getting angry. It's not exactly the most
helpful thing to just tell myself, don't get angry. Don't get angry. God's word says, don't get...

Janet: Just stop it.
Alexandra: Yeah, just stop. what helps me is that I need to break down and ask myself a few
questions as I'm struggling with anger. So, it could seem, if I was a perfect person, that I was
being angry over my child, sinning against a holy God, but then I need to look at myself and see,
okay, I am, I see some pretty sinful fruit coming out of my anger. You know, my tone is a little
harsh. I'm not being gentle in my tone. I'm, you know, all that stuff. I need to be real that okay if
I have sinful fruit coming out, there's probably a sinful root happening.
Janet: Something other than the glory of God is at the root of this.
Alexandra: Right. Right. So I need to ask myself, what am I wanting right now? And that's
always just the hardest question to answer, right?
Janet: Yep.
Alexandra: Any sin and doesn't always lead to very pretty responses. And so most of the time I'm
able to see through the help of the Holy Spirit, that when I'm struggling with anger over my kid's
behavior, honestly, it's because I'm a lazy mom. And I don't want to do hard things. And when
my kids are just so bang, it requires hard work to gently go through that process of discipline. It
takes a lot of patience and I'm lazy. And I just want them, if you just obeyed in the first place that
I wouldn't have to do this. And so anyways now that I know that, okay, I'm lazy in my parenting.
Now, when I think about verses that talk about the sluggard, those are the verses that really
convict me and can help me repent and help me to do hard things for the glory of God in my
Janet: I love that. And I think as you learn your own heart the other hopeful thing about that is
it's not like, oh, my word, I sinned again. Now I got to figure out all the verses that might go with
that one. I sinned again, now this will be totally different. What I find is that the core of my heart
are a few basic large idols that come out everywhere.
Alexandra: So true. So true. They have different masks in my life. Yes.
Janet: Yeah. Then I, if I can keep figuring out, oh, that's because... so for me, that's because
there's entitlement in my life that I actually believe I deserve to be listened to and I should not
have to repeat myself because do you know who I am? And my kids are like, not impressed. I
don't understand, but I get it. So, but when I know that when I'm mad at different situations, it's
like, okay, here's what's coming out is I'm not content to be a servant of God. I want to be
worshiped right now. So verses that, teach me the beauty of serving God and of Him alone being
worshiped. Those are the things that are going to help me not get angry when I'm treated like a
servant. You know, so if I know what's going on in my heart, I don't need 8,000 verses for every
little fruit. I can really begin to meditate on the ones that are at the root.

Alexandra: So true and then when you have like a new season of life and you're seeing like a sin
pattern coming out and when you realize, oh my goodness, I'm struggling with that same idol
again. I've got all these verses I've memorized that helped me. It's actually such a blessing from
the Lord that we only have, we tend to have only a few idols that just keep popping up. It can
seem like, oh man, I have to deal with that. I don't for the rest of my life. Well.
Janet: Yes, it's better than the unknown idol.
Alexandra: Right, right. I already have all of these verses that I'm ready to fire off. So yeah.
That's awesome. Okay. So back to verses one and two, why is Satan going toe to toe with Jesus
here? The purpose of Satan tempting Jesus is that if he seduced Christ to commit sin, he would
thwart the entire plan of God. The world needed a sinless savior. So this was a deliberate plan to
overthrow the Messiah. Jumping back into the gospel of Matthew. We see in verse one, that God
is not the one who tempts us, but God is powerful enough to use our temptations for His own
sovereign and good purposes. God is so powerful and good that He forces our temptations to
submit to His gospel purposes.
Janet: I love that.
Alexandra: Yeah. And this paradox is woven throughout the Bible, like in the story of Joseph or
Job, but the most powerful example is Christ and His journey to the cross. And this is a strong
reminder that none of our hardships are ever wasted in the hands of our good Father. Amen.
Janet: Amen.
Alexandra: So I want to note here that Jesus prepared Himself for this temptation, with prayer
and fasting. But we've talked about that previously. I just wanted to point it out. We see this here
again. So in this passage, Jesus was tempted three times by Satan. In verse three, He was tempted
by the lust of the flesh. In verses five and six, He was tempted by the pride of life. In verses eight
and nine, He was tempted by the lust of the eyes. And like I mentioned earlier, first Corinthians
10: 13 says that our temptations are common.
Janet: Yeah.
Alexandra: But not only are they common to mankind, God Himself experienced them too. And
Hebrews 4: 15, it says "for we do not have a High Priest who is unable to sympathize with us in
our weaknesses, but One who in every respect has been tempted, as we are, yet without sin."
Jesus was tempted in all things and this is a great comfort to the believer. He is not only
sympathetic to how challenging it is to withstand temptation, but He also knows the victory. The
reason we look to Jesus is because we know He is experienced in being tempted and He is wise
enough to show us the way out.

Janet: I love thinking because He understands it makes it easier to run to Him in the temptation,
instead of feeling guilty that I'm tempted. he understands he's not going, are you kidding me? He
understands. Run. Run there.
Alexandra: Yes, and I love in Romans 8:1 it says "for there is no condemnation for those who are
in Christ. Jesus." And yeah, when we're being tempted, we can run because He's not looking at
us like, gosh giving into this again or tempted again.
Janet: Right.
Alexandra: Yeah. He understands. So, here in our passage in Matthew, we see a variety of ways.
Jesus was tempted. However, I do think there is a theme in all the ways that the devil was
tempting Jesus. The common thread in all these temptations is one message. Save yourself.
Janet: Wow.
Alexandra: So in verse three, it says, "during that time, the devil came and said to Him" being
Jesus, "if you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become loaves of bread." So in verse three,
the devil starts out. "If you are the son of God", this is absolutely absurd. He totally knows who
Jesus was. Lucifer first served Jesus as a heavenly host, although God is not bound by time.
Lucifer is bound by time and Jesus existed as a member of the Trinity at the time of Lucifer's
creation. Jesus has known Lucifer since Lucifer's beginning. When the desire of pride overtook
Lucifer, and he fell from perfection, Jesus, as part of the Godhead, cast him out of Heaven. So I
think the key to understanding what Satan is doing here lies in the use of the word if. Satan is
trying to plant a seed of doubt, he did this with Eve and the garden of Eden, and he does it here
with Jesus. And so he does with us, the devil is trying to contradict what had just happened. A
few verses prior to this and Matthew 3: 17. So at the baptism of Jesus, God declared "this is my
beloved Son with whom I am well pleased." The devil is trying to twist Jesus's identity.
Janet: Boy and doesn't he do that with us.
Alexandra: Exactly. Exactly. So if the devil was trying to do this to Jesus, you can bet all your
money that he is doing this to us too. So we need to regularly be rehearsing verses from scripture
about our identity in Christ. We need to be continually rooted in the vine. And so, and if you're
hearing this and you're like, well, where do I even start Ephesians one through three is a great
place to start. If you're like, where do I go to talk about my identity in Christ? Ephesians one
through three is really great to start there. Okay. So Philippians 2:7 tells us that Jesus emptied
Himself of His divinity. He was fully God, but also fully human. Jesus had been fasting for 40
days. Janet, if I skip even one meal, I'm hangry and I do not always respond well.
Janet: No way. This is shocking.

Alexandra: So Jesus was hungry. Satan targeted Jesus's humanity and attempts to get Him to
abandoned God's plan for the cross, by getting Jesus to use His divine powers that He had set
aside. The devil was tempting Jesus to provide for Himself and His hunger. Instead of trusting
God's provision for His needs. Save yourself. He is manipulating Jesus here, and he is trying to
stoke a fire of pride within Jesus. However, because Jesus was pure and righteous. The devil
ultimately failed in his attempts, but like I said, Jesus did not simply rely on His own character to
succeed. Let's look at verse four, "but Jesus told him no, the scripture say people do not live by
bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God." What does Jesus start off
saying in verse four?
Janet: It is written.
Alexandra: Satan tempts Jesus, three times in all three times verses four, seven and 10. Jesus
responds with "it is written." If you get one thing out of this episode today, it has got to be this,
jesus fought temptation by quoting scripture. Jesus is the word in the flesh. He certainly didn't
need to, but by doing this, He was honoring scripture and pointing sinners to what I said before,
Ephesians six 17 calls the sword of the spirit. All three of these passages, Jesus quoted are from
Deuteronomy and in verse four here He is quoting Deuteronomy 8:3. So I'm just going to read
Deuteronomy 8: 2 through 3 because I just love that passage. And I think it's worth going
through it says, "and you shall remember the whole way that the Lord, your God has led you
these 40 years in the wilderness, that He might humble you. Testing you to know what was in
your heart, whether you would keep His commandments or not. And He humbled you and let
you hungry. And fed you with manna, which you did not know, nor did your fathers know that
He might make you know, that man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by every word
that comes from the mouth of the Lord." And man, what hope for those? Most of us who are in a
wilderness in the season of life to see God's purpose, His good purposes and not...
Janet: He has not forgotten Him. That was part of the good purpose.
Alexandra: So just like in verse one of Matthew 4, we see here this parallel that God led both the
Israelites and Jesus into the wilderness, ultimately to be tested. So are you listeners in a
wilderness today? Is your soul weary? God has many purposes for our suffering, that points to
His grace and Deuteronomy 8. We see that God is allowing the Israelites to hunger so that He
might feed them with manna and teach them to trust Him that God will provide for them. But
ultimately that God is allowing them to hunger so that He can teach His people to value the word
of God more than food. Food provides temporary relief to our hunger, but God's word provides
spiritual nourishment that impacts us eternally. Every word that comes from the mouth of God is
the most important sustenance way more important than food. .Scripture provides spiritual
nutrition to every need that our soul has. In any season of our lives, but especially if we are
spiritually weary, we need to be feasting on the word of God.
Janet: And when you're spiritually weary is when you're most tempted not to.

Alexandra: So true. So I'm going to give an example of this in my own life. It was after I had
gotten engaged. So when I was engaged to my now husband, Stefan, the messages of our culture
to look perfect in my wedding dress.
Janet: Oh yes. The pressure's amazing.
Alexandra: Oh gosh. It offered me a ton of temptation to walk back to my old lifestyle with an
eating disorder. So I had been running to Christ in repentance for about a year at that point and
growing steadily in my relationship with the Lord. But after getting engaged, suddenly those old
idols looked very glittery. So when I had been giving into anorexia, I used to over-exercise and
under eat sinfully and it was tempting to compare what I looked like then to what I looked like
since following God in that season of being engaged.
Janet: When you're actually healthier.
Alexandra: Yes. Yes. So the comparison between the two was very overwhelming. As I went to
try on wedding dresses and prepare for what I would look like on my wedding day. And the
temptation actually felt like a giant burden on my back all day, every day. And it was relentless
and it didn't know what to do. So I called my old counselor at Vision of Hope and she
encouraged me to come in and chat. I spilled my heart out to her and bless her soul. She did the
best thing she could. For me in that moment, she pushed me to God's word. And at that time she
was in seminary getting her MABC and in class they were studying, Janet, your husband's Isaiah
study. And if any...
Janet: Oh wow. Such a powerful study.
Alexandra: It is. If anyone listening knows pastor Brent Aucoin you know that he is our church's
expert in the old testament. Our college students are actually going through that study right now
in their small groups. And if you've gone through it too, you know, that it is very,
time-consuming a very intense study about the fear of the Lord in Isaiah. It's literally the material
for master's level seminary work. And going through that study, as I prepared for my wedding
really helped me get my focus off of myself and onto the glory of God. And the key for me to not
give in temptation in that season was I needed to fill my mind with God's word and in a season
where temptation was more intense. That meant that I needed to get more intense with my time
in God's word. And by God's grace, by the time I got to my wedding day, I really did not care
what I look it's like I even forgot to take off really old chipped blue nail polish off of my nails.
Janet: I love it.
Alexandra: About half an hour before I walked down the aisle. One of my girlfriends, she had to
scrape it off and it would just, it looked terrible, but I honestly, I just did not care. God had

changed my heart from wanting to look dazzling, to wanting to use my wedding to point to the
second coming of Christ.
Janet: One of the things I love about your example is when we're wanting to fight an idol, it
would be tempting to read verses about taking good care of your body and being a good steward.
And sometimes I'm using scripture. I'm still focused on me. How can I feel better about this?
How can I use the scripture to not feel so bad about my wedding? How about just not thinking
about me for a minute? So doing something that might not have seemed related when you went
to see her. She didn't have you do a study on body image.
Alexandra: Yes. Yes.
Janet: She had you study God and then it puts everything else in perspective. I love that.
Alexandra: Yes. And that actually reminds me of a Blessed Self-Forgetfulness by Tim Keller,
which we should definitely.
Janet: We will link in the show notes.
Alexandra: Totally. Yeah. So, like you said the Lord had used my time in God's word in the
months, leading up to my wedding to increase my delight in the gospel, to stop obsessing about
what I looked like and define Jesus as the most beautiful manifestation of God's glory, not how I
could be the most beautiful manifestation of God's glory. I even decided to decorate my Bible
and use that as my wedding bouquet instead of a big floral bouquet. And
Janet: I love it.
Alexandra: Yeah. I just wanted to decorate myself with what I found to be most beautiful that
day, which was truth.
Janet: Love it.
Alexandra: So when our idols look glittery it's because we are gazing too much on the temptation
itself, you have to fight for your joy in the gospel. We all have to turn our gaze to Christ. So if
anyone is feeling stuck today, do something new to help you learn more about God's word.
Listen to a new gospel focused sermon series. Find a Bible study that challenges you in ways that
you need to be challenged. Do hard things. And we will link some suggestions in the show notes
today, if you need some help getting started in that area. So we all need to have our minds soaked
in scripture because ultimately that is the most powerful tool that the Holy Spirit is going to use
to fight the lies that threaten our trust in Christ. All right, back to our passage, verse six. "So the
devil said, if you are the son of God, jump off for the scriptures, say he will order his angels to
protect you and they will hold you up with their hands. So you won't even hurt your foot on a
stone." So in verse six, we see the double second effort to tempt Jesus. Look how he starts out.

"If you are the son of God." Again, we see him trying to plant doubt in Jesus' mind. And this
time he's coming back with a subtle but sharp approach. So what does Satan say here?
Janet: It is written.
Alexandra: So before Jesus had quoted scripture to Satan and now Satan is quoting scripture to
Jesus. So yes, so our audience, our listeners look at what's happening here. This is not a debate
team. Jesus and Satan are not sitting at little desks with notes prepared before them. They're in
the wilderness, quoting scripture from memory to each other. But here in Matthew 4:6, the devil
not only quotes scripture, he actually twists it. How is my biblical literacy? Do I know scripture
well enough that if the enemy uses scripture to try to tempt me to sin, do I know the truth enough
to be able to discern what is indeed the heart of our Lord? It is not enough for me to just read
God's word every day. Although I do think that that is very valuable and absolutely necessary to
my spiritual. First Peter 5:8 says "your adversary, the devil prowls around like a roaring lion,
seeking someone to devour." Your enemy knows scripture well enough to be able to quote it on
the spot from memory Psalm 119:11 says "I have stored up Your word in my heart that I might
not sin against You." we do not have the ability to sit down with our Bibles any moment of the
day and fight off every temptation we have to memorize it so that we can apply it in the moment.
If we are not memorizing scripture, I know that sounds harsh, but we are wasting precious tools
that God has given us. And we are crippling ourselves against an enemy who knows the Bible
better than we do. If we're not using all of God's tools that He has given us to fight temptation,
then we are relying on our good intention. So Satan here is referencing Psalm 91: 11 and 12,
which is a passage about trusting God. The devil is twisting this passage to manipulate Jesus to
not trust God, but to trust in Jesus's ability to save himself.
Janet: Can I just say here that, and then that can be something helpful because knowing that the
world, Satan, is going to use scripture against me is very confusing and I've talked to women and
it is very confusing. But the Bible does say that. And they said, here's what you just did is an
easy thing that we should do when you're hearing something it's confused. Look at the context.
Cause you just said it's actually a passage about trusting God. So if you're listening to something
and going, actually it does say that that doesn't really seem to fit. How about read the whole
Alexandra: So true.
Janet: Then you'll go. Oh, okay. So you don't have to know everything, but if you understand.
And something, your baloney detector is going off. Something seems wrong here and I'm not
sure what it is. Go back and read it in context. And you'll be surprised how clear things can be.
Alexandra: That is such a good point, Janet. So again, we see this theme. Save yourself.
Janet: Yes, the exact opposite of what the context would be.

Alexandra: Exactly. So in verse seven, Jesus responds" the scriptures also say, you must not test
the Lord, your God." So in verse seven, Jesus responds with Satan's attacks to twist scripture by
quoting scripture right back. This reference is a, I would, first of all, I would have loved to see
Janet: I know.
Alexandra: I hope in heaven. I get to see the reel of this. Like.
Janet: Can we have a replay?
Alexandra: Yes. So this references again about Israel's wilderness experience, where the
Israelites tested the Lord. Jesus used scripture here to call out Satan on the fact that what he was
doing was wrong. And He used scripture as a mirror to expose Satan's lies. And one reason why
it is so important to continue growing in the word is that it enables us to grow in wisdom.
Janet: Yeah.
Alexandra: Wisdom is understanding how to apply truth. It's not just being puffed up with
knowledge Psalm 119:105 says "your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path." By
studying God's word like we're doing right now with Matthew 4, the Holy Spirit opens our eyes
to the path of Christ. Even if we're ignorant to our own foolishness, God is still going to hold us
accountable for that. Scripture is the mirror that shows us where we are in error and where we
need to go.
Janet: Yes.
Alexandra: Okay. Verses eight and nine "next the devil took him to the peak of a very high
mountain and showed Him" meaning Jesus, "all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. 'I will
give it all to you.' He said, 'if you will kneel down and worship me.'" So it's significant that the
devil brings Jesus to a very high mountain. Matthew Henry once noted that " God cast men down
to raise them up, but Satan raises men up to cast them down." Matthew Henry, is a commentator.
You can find him on like his free commentary. I'm going gonna say that one
more time. "God cast men down to raise them up, but Satan raises men up to cast them down."
So high places can be very dangerous for us. And it is easy during times of prosperity or when
our gifts are being used in big ways to be puffed up with pride or to become spiritually lazy and
not desperate for the word of God. So this is the third time Satan is tempting Jesus in this
passage, this time to persuade Him with the lust of the eyes. And once again, we see some truths,
but they're being twisted. So I just want to break this down for us real quick. Although God is
sovereign and in complete control of Satan. Scripture does say, Satan is the ruler of this world.
We see that in John 12:31, 14:30, 16:11. Satan is the god of this world. We see in second
Corinthians 4:4, and the whole world lies in Satan's power. First, John 5:19, but Satan does two

things with scripture. One; he misquotes it and two; he misapplies it. So Satan's goal is to
persuade us that we are abandoned by God here in verses eight and nine. He is tempting to
persuade Jesus to do just that. So when we give into the lie that God has abandoned us, we tend
to sin to get what we want.
Janet: Yes.
Alexandra: And this is what it looks like in our lives to save ourselves. We think that we need to
be our own Messiah. It is self-righteous and it's idol worship. And I am guilty of this too. I mess
up all the time in this area.
Janet: Me too.
Alexandra: Our idols are going to over promise and under deliver every single time. And we
have to believe God's word to be true. Even if that contradicts our feelings. All right. Verse 10,
"get out of here. Satan. Jesus told him for the scriptures, say, you must worship the Lord, your
God and serve Him only." Again, we see Jesus responding to temptation by quoting scripture
specifically about the Israelites wilderness experience again. The Israelites sadly failed in the
wilderness and you and I will often fail in our own wilderness. But where the Israelites failed,
Jesus withstood every aspect of that test. Amen. And not only did He not fail in the face of
temptation, but most importantly, He didn't fail us at the cross. Hebrews 12:3 says that "Jesus,
who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross." Jesus found His endurance to obey
because He knew that's where joy was found. And that same joy is available to us. So in
conclusion, the temptation to save myself is rooted in independence from God. And one of my
frequent prayers is God deliver me from myself. I will be on the hot mess express, a Roman 7
struggle with sin, until I'm face-to-face with Jesus and I am free from my sin nature. And until
then I have to be humble and see that I absolutely need God's word to be a pure and holy mirror,
to help me see me for who I really am and to see Christ character for who the Bible says He is.
So John 10:10 says that "the thief comes only to steal, kill, and destroy. I came," meaning Jesus
came "that they may have life and life abundantly." Jesus endured the temptation that we read
about in Matthew 4 so that we might experience life abundantly. Ladies and gentlemen, if you're
listening, a life overflowing with deep soul quenching joy is available to any Christian because
of what Christ has accomplished on the cross. I mentioned this in the episode titled joy, but our
other co-host Jocelyn describes that a life of overflowing satisfaction comes from obedience to
Christ. It's like holding a Dixie cup under a waterfall, but one thing gets in the way of each of us
experiencing that sin. Temptation will not rob you of joy. Sin robs us of joy. And if we want to
live a life saying no to the temptation to sin, we have to be men and women of the world. Luke
4:13 says that "when the devil had ended every temptation, he departed from Him until an
opportune time." So the last verse in our passage, Matthew 4:11 says that " the devil left Jesus,
but Luke 4: 13 does say that he, the devil departed from Jesus until an opportune time. And by
God's grace, when we experience victory over temptation, we can't get lazy.

Janet: It's not over.
Alexandra: It's not. It's important for us to make sure that we understand what victory over
temptation means for us. Until we reached the gates of heaven, there is not going to be an end to
our temptations. And just like in this passage, the devil will come back at a more opportune time
to tempt us again. And we are going to keep being tempted to save ourselves.
Janet: I think it's so important to know that it's not going to end because I've talked to women
who think, I thought that I had victory over that temptation, but I must not have, because here it
is again. And to realize, no, it doesn't mean you didn't have victory over that temptation. It just
means you have another one. And that's going to keep happening.
Alexandra: Yeah.
Janet: I love that.
Alexandra: Yeah. And we have to have a realistic view of our humanity that we're going to keep
being tempted until we see Jesus.
Janet: Yep.
Alexandra: Yep.

Matthew 27:39 and 40 says, "and those who passed by derided Him, wagging their heads and
saying You who would destroy the temple and rebuild it in three days, save yourself. If you are
the son of God, come down from that cross." So where we find our hope is that Jesus time and
time again, was tempted to save Himself from discomforts, challenges, even sufferings. He was
being taunted in that verse, but yet continually he chose the path that will be audience and the
pinnacle of Jesus' temptation was when He was hanging on the cross. "I thirst" are the last words
Jesus spoke before He died on the cross. So you, if you're listening may be in a wilderness today,
but remember this Jesus thirsted so that you would not have to, Jesus says in John 7:37-38, "if
anyone thirsts, let him come to Me. And whoever believes in Me as a scriptures have said out of
his heart will flow rivers of living water." Hallelujah.
Janet: Yes.
Alexandra: So let's talk about some application for this.
Janet: How do we do this?
Alexandra: Yeah. So first of all, I think it's, I'm a planner. So for me, it's important to set a plan. I
like to know where, when, and how I'm going to do my Bible time. Know what you're going to

study. So if you're a newbie and you're not sure where to start, try reading through the book of
John, get to know Jesus or read a proverb that corresponds with today's date. There's 31
Proverbs. There tends to be 28 through 31 days of the month, whatever month it is. You can just,
if today's June 7th, I'll read Proverbs seven. That's just an easy way to kind of get started in
reading your Bible.
Janet: Yeah, I would say also, think about what's doable for you. Allie mentioned at the
beginning, what's going to happen if you look at this and get totally overwhelmed. And you're
already thinking, I don't even know when I would do this. Well, we all have five minutes. So if
you're not spending any time, how about as you get out of bed, God gets the first five minutes
reading either the Gospel Primmer, Valley of Vision, something that's going to orient your mind.
Just like that Isaiah Bible study did for Alexandra. Something is going to orient your mind
around God and not yourself. Something that's going to say, okay, I have to be getting my mind
oriented around God. And then I will find when my heart is going there, I will find more time to
do those other things, to get in the word when I see the value of it.
Alexandra: And if you truly think, if you're listening to this and thinking, I just, I really don't
have time. Maybe take a look at the screen time that you've spent on Instagram or Facebook.
Janet: Now that was just mean. You had to go there. Right.
Alexandra: And I'm saying this like holding a mirror up to me and saying, okay, Alexandra.
Janet: I did that though with... once somebody I was counseling, she didn't have time. And she
was feeling very stressed. So I had her for a week. So if you're brave, take a week and get a grid,
I gave her a grid of time that from morning to when she went to bed and write down what you
did. And when she looked at it and saw how much time she spent in front of the TV at night. It
was like, there's probably five hours in the week. You could have been in the word now I get
you're going, but it's hard for me to concentrate. Something is always better than nothing. Don't
think I'm not going to get in the Bible until I'm the freshest. And I'm ready to look at all the
Greek and what it all means. And I have an hour and a half. How about if I have 10 minutes? Is
that ideal? No, but something is always better than nothing. And Satan would love to tell you
unless you're gonna do it perfectly don't do it at all.
Alexandra: That is such a good point because I have talked to so many women who have said,
like, I don't have that time. You know, I've got this going on in my life and I just don't have that
dedicated time where it's quiet, you know, so...
Janet: I can get my coffee and Instagram look, yeah.

Alexandra: Right. Yes. I mean, really what God is calling us to do is just to be faithful. And we
really, this is not about, you know, earning God's favor. It's about just being faithful with what
He's given us, being a good steward.
Janet: Because I need it.
Alexandra: Yes.
Janet: So if five minutes, why wouldn't I take five minutes instead of nothing?
Alexandra: Yeah.
Janet: But I think we have to remember that. The other thing is, you know, if I really want to
know how to fight temptation in my life, I need to learn my own heart patterns. You know, we
will link in the show notes. When my husband did a three-part series on the heart of change,
understanding your own heart.
Alexandra: Such an amazing teaching.
Janet: If I learn my own heart patterns, I will be more prepared. I know for me, That I want other
people to think. I'm amazing. I want to look good. And I would really like to be worshiped, but I
don't say that out loud very often cause it doesn't sound very nice at all. So, but when I know that
I actually believe that I would be more satisfied in life. If everybody thought I was amazing,
knowing that about my heart. I see it come out everywhere when somebody criticizes something
and, I don't even mean as mean, when someone says you could make that better. Janet, what do
you think? I'm amazing. So I'm already mad. Why am I mad because of that heart idol, not
because of their critique. So if I know my own heart, I can be meditating on how much better it is
that I can be satisfied because Christ is amazing. I don't have to be, I get to take a deep breath. I
could be criticized and be bad at everything. And being bad is not sin. I can be faithful and grow
to be better and to understand God's way is better. So when I can know that about my heart and
know my own heart patterns, I can be meditating and memorizing the truths that are going to
help me in a variety of ways.
Alexandra: That's so good. So maybe someone's listening today and thinking I just don't even
want to read my Bible. Like I just I'm a Christian, but I just do not have the desire. I hear what
you're saying, but I just have no desire. So first I would just encourage you to pray, confess that
before the Lord and ask Him to give you new desires.
Janet: And don't wait until He does. Just get in the word.
Alexandra: Yeah, exactly. And I find that entertainment shapes my appetite.
Janet: Yes.

Alexandra: And so if you feel like that's where you're at, maybe fast from some Netflix or
Disney Plus or whatever it is, and listen to podcasts to help fuel your desire for God's word. This
podcast, I hope is feeling your desire for God's word.
Janet: That's what we're desiring to anyway.
Alexandra: Another one I really like, that I feel like helps me is the Daily Grace podcast and the
Just Thinking podcast. Those are two that I enjoy that really caused me to say, okay, I want to go
back and study that scripture more.
Janet: Yeah. Another one that I just found is Journey Women.
Alexandra: Oh, yeah. I've listened to that. Yeah, that's good.
Janet: Yeah. And that seems to be talking about the word as well. So yeah, there are great things
out there.
Alexandra: Yep. Just a reminder of that quote that I started with, because I just think it's so good.
"The Bible will keep you from sin or sin will keep you from the Bible." So some resources that
we'd love to recommend for y'all first one Women of the Word by Jen Welkin is an excellent
resource. It's an easy read, but really has a great message.
Janet: Yes. Alexandra mentioned earlier at the Tim Keller sermon Blessed self-forgetfulness. It's
a sermon and also a little booklet. Excellent. I've read that several times.
Alexandra: Reading the Word of God Supernaturally by John Piper is another good one. I will
frequently get messages asking, Hey, I'm leading a Bible study at my church. Do you have any
recommendations on a Bible study? And I always recommend what's called the Life Change
Bible Study Series. They have little booklets for a number of different books of the Bible.
Janet: Yeah, I've used those.
Alexandra: And we've used these for leading small groups. It's just an excellent resource for
personal Bible study, or if you are leading a small group.
Janet: A newer one to me, I don't know that they're new, but newer to me, Daily Grace we've
already mentioned their podcast. They have Bible studies on many different books of the Bible,
and I'm going through the John Bible study now. And it's been very, I think it's been very good
each day. There's a bit of a commentary, something to read. That would be another thing to give
you some structure. In your Bible study time.
Alexandra: Yeah, my sister-in-law is doing their hymn study.
Janet: Ooh.

Alexandra: Yeah. It's really fascinating. She's really into worship. So that's interesting. Another
great resource is listening to the sermon by John Piper "If My words Abide in You." The first 18
minutes of this message, if you look, John Piper is looking out at the crowd, he is just quoting
scripture for 18 minutes, and then the sermon is a plea to memorize Bible passages. And it is my
absolute favorite sermon.
Janet: Wow. I also think we talked about your heart and talked about getting to know what's
going on in your heart. Gospel Treason by Brad Bigney excellent book to begin to understand
that. Very readable, not as easy to apply because it's about our heart, but very easy to read. And
then I mentioned the Heart of Change series by Brent Aucoin. We'll have a link to that as well.
So just a few things to help you get started in getting in the word, learning it. Memorizing it.
Meditating on it, and going there so that we can find victory in our temptations. So thanks for
joining us today and we hope you'll come back with us as we continue to see how choosing truth
is choosing joy.

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you have questions or comments for us, you can email us at Joyful Journey Podcast is a ministry of Faith Bible
Seminary. All proceeds go to offset costs of this podcast and toward scholarships for women to
receive their MABC through Faith Bible Seminary.
Host Janet and her husband, Brent, also speak at a variety of conferences as a way to raise money
for the seminary. If you want to look at what they offer or book them for a conference, go to their

Janet Aucoin


Janet is the Director of Women's Ministry at Faith Church (Lafayette, IN); Host of the Joyful Journey Podcast (helping women learn that when you choose truth you choose joy); ACBC certified; teacher in Faith Community Institute; Coordinator of FBS seminary wives fellowship, retreat and conference speaker; B.S. Human Resources, University of South Florida.