By Ellen Ceely
“And he took him to Jerusalem and set him on the pinnacle of the temple and said to him, ‘If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down from here, for it is written, “He will command his angels concerning you, to guard you,” and “On their hands they will bear you up, lest you strike your foot against a stone.”’ And Jesus answered him, ‘It is said, “You shall not put the Lord your God to the test.”’ And when the devil had ended every temptation, he departed from him until an opportune time.” – Luke 4:9–13
This temptation fascinates me more than the previous two. Rather than tempting Jesus with a promise of power or food, Satan baits Jesus with pride. Twisting Scripture to fit his narrative, the devil tempts Jesus to prove himself and God. It’s as though Satan realized that Jesus could not be tempted with material things, so he tries another human weak spot: personal vanity.
As we can see, this temptation also fails. Jesus quotes once more from Deuteronomy 6, this time from verse 16. He doesn’t refute the truth of the Scripture quoted to him; he merely points out the false application assigned to it. God does command his angels to keep his people safe. But this does not mean that we are to throw caution to the wind and live recklessly. God is not a genie that we command, and his angels are not pawns in a game of chicken.
As you consider this passage, are there temptations you feel to somehow prove yourself or your faith? Even if it’s not directly tied to testing God, we face many temptations to prove our worth, intelligence, or success. When this happens, we can recall God’s work in our lives and pray for the Spirit’s help to stand firm in the faith.
As you reflect on your own temptations, think about which verses remind you that you have nothing to prove—not to Satan, the world, or yourself. God already loves you more deeply than you can imagine, and his grace abounds. Write down these verses and place them where you can easily see them. The best way to avoid the bait of the world or the devil is to do as Jesus did: keep God’s Word ever-present in your mind and trust him to protect you. We would love to hear your thoughts in the comments.
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