You and I would never be tempted to turn a stone to bread. Why? Because the devil knows it is outside our power to do so. You and I would never be tempted to bow down and worship satan in order to receive a kingdom (thought maybe in other areas). Why? Because we know that it would not be in our power to just suddenly be given a kingdom. You and I would never be tempted to throw ourselves off a tall building in order to prove that angels could catch us? Why? Because we know it is not within our power to call down angels to protect us in our presumptuous acts…well maybe we don’t know this one as well.
But my point is this, Jesus was tempted as we read at the beginning of Luke chapter 4 in the areas in which He had POWER to act and actually have the temptation become reality.
Our temptations thought different in actual outward action are no different in manner, in as much as most of us are only tempted to the degree we are able to achieve the sin.
Luke helps us to understand this in John chapter 3,
“And the crowds were questioning him, saying, “Then what shall we do?” 11 And he would answer and say to them, “The man who has two tunics is to share with him who has none; and he who has food is to do likewise.” 12 And some tax collectors also came to be baptized, and they said to him, “Teacher, what shall we do?” 13 And he said to them, “Collect no more than what you have been ordered to.” 14 Some soldiers were questioning him, saying, “And what about us, what shall we do?” And he said to them, “Do not take money from anyone by force, or accuse anyone falsely, and be content with your wages.” -Luke 3:10-14
The issues John the baptist addresses with these people are directly related to the areas in which they have power to act or not act as the case may be. If a person has two tunics they then possess the power to either share with one who has none or to hoard selfishly for themselves. That decision is within their power and this therefore is an area where satan would tempt them. Tax collectors they had the power to rob from the people. The soldiers likewise. So these are the areas they would be tempted.
Let me give another example a modern example. Someone that has a temper is likely NOT going to be tempted be verbally or physically abusive to their employer, because they do not possess the power to ultimately control the situation. That individual will hold their tongue and watch their words in the company of their boss. This same person though may go home and berate his or her children or his or her spouse. Why? Because we are tempted in the areas we are most likely able to be in the position of power or control.
Most right thinking individuals are not tempted to pursue an illicit relationship with their favorite actor or actress. But many right thinking individuals are tempted to lust over their favorite actor or actress. Why? Because they know one is not realistic but the other they can control.
Where are you most secure? Where are you most comfortable? Where do you have the power?
This is likely the area you will be most tempted!
Next Reading: 2 Corinthians 11-13