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Being Tempted
...led into the wilderness
Faith or Fear?
by haRold Smith
a citizen of the Commonwealth
(Ephesians 2:19)

Then Yeshua, being filled with the Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness, to be tempted for forty days by the tempter. In those days He ate nothing and afterward, when they had ended, He was hungry. The tempter said to Him, "If You are the Son of YHVH, command this stone to become bread." But Yeshua answered him, "It is written, 'Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of YHVH.'

Then the tempter brought Him to Jerusalem, set Him on the pinnacle of the temple, and said to Him, "If You are the Son of YHVH, throw Yourself down from here. For it is written: '...He shall give His angels charge over you, To keep you,' and, ',,,in their hands they shall bear you up, Lest you dash your foot against a stone.'" And Yeshua answered and said to him, 'It is also written, 'You shall not tempt YHVH your Elohiem.'

Then the tempter, taking Him up on a high mountain, showed Him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time and said to Him, "All this authority I will give You, and their glory; for this has been delivered to me, and I give it to whomever I wish. Therefore, if You will worship before me, all will be Yours." And Yeshua answered and said to him, 'Away with you! For it is written, 'You shall worship YHVH your Elohiem, and Him only you shall serve'." Now when the tempter had ended every temptation, he departed from Him until an opportune time and behold, angels came and ministered to Him.
(from Matthew 4:1-11 and Luke 4:1-13)

From both accountings above, scripture clearly tells us that Yeshua was "led of the Spirit into the wilderness TO BE tempted". The Father had prepared Him to withstand what the enemy had in store for Him and afforded Him the opportunity to be proven by this experience. Most have been taught and led to believe that demons are on the loose, on the rampage and are to be avoided at all costs lest we be devoured by them. While scripture does say that he lurks about as a roaring lion (1Peter 5:8 - click on highlighted words to view content), what is lacking in that teaching is the reality that when you are filled with the spirit of YHVH, "the devils tremble" (James 2:19). In fact, scripture says that for those who have surrendered to the Father's Purpose, temptation is merely an instrument in the Hands of YHVH to temper us, to harden us and make us fit for His use in the Kingdom. If we are to follow in the footsteps of the Master, scripture says we can expect this same experience as a normal part of life abiding in ruach hakodesh (Hebrew for "the holiness of spirit" - 1Peter 4:12-13, and see the Power In His Name).

In Matthew 6:13, scripture actually says, "...deliver us from evil" - not "the evil one" as religious tradition teaches. The Greek word, poneros, translated as "evil" in the English version of this verse, means "full of labors, annoyances, hardships" and says nothing about an entity named "Satan". It is the same word used for "evil" in Matthew 5:37 - again, no mention of Satan. Can you see how the tradition of replacement theology has overwritten the meaning by inserting its own doctrine in the choice of words? Words mean things. In Matthew 16:23, you have to ask - who is Yeshua speaking to? Does He mean a person named Satan physically entered Peter's body and took him over, forcibly making him say things he did not want to say which openly contradicts the English translation of 1John 5:18? Or, rather (as the context indicates), could it mean that Yeshua was rebuking the person, Peter, for the opposing force his words presented as a temptation that would seek to change the course of what the Father's Words to Yeshua were? The same is true of Yeshua's supposed encounter with an entity in the wilderness. Strangely, this Greek word, peirazo, translated as "the tempter" in Matthew 4:3. is the same Greek word used to describe the significance the actions of the Pharisees had on Yeshua in Matthew 16:1, Matthew 19:3, Matthew 22:18, which means "to try, make trial of, test: for the purpose of ascertaining his quality or how he will behave himself" - again, no distinctively separate entity. In each case, the temptation given Yeshua was the same as it is for any man - to follow his own will and determination instead of the Words of the Father (Hebrews 5:8). Which brings us to the second point to note in the passage above - Yeshua's declaration of YHVH's Words to assuage the involvement of this enemy in His Life. We forget that during the time Yeshua walked in the flesh on earth, He was no different than you or I. When scripture says He was tempted, you can believe it was as real a temptation to Him as anything you or I have ever faced. Like us, at any point in the tempering and exposing of the heart this process brings to the surface, He could have chosen to embrace that temptation (Hebrews 2:17-18). He did not. Instead, He chose to be obedient to the Words of the Father in the midst of the circumstance, thus empowering His Faith to be able to withstand the temptation - the temptation to abandon YHVH's Words of Truth in favor of an act of His own determination simply to ease the pressure of the moment (Matthew 7:14).

One reader wrote, "What do I do if, while trying to believe God for the circumstances in my life, I still struggle with the fear inside? What if I am doing my best to try and overcome fear and the feelings that are produced because of it? Obviously faith overcomes fear, but what if you are continually crying out to God to help you grow in faith and still struggle with that sick feeling of fear inside? What if you are quoting the verses and trying to stand on and believe God and His word and still feeling the fear? What do you do in that case? Do you just continue to struggle day after day, month after month until somehow it just goes away? How do you get more faith if you continually cry out to God for it, but it seems you still struggle with fear?"

It is important to understand that neither faith nor fear are emotions - they are choices. Throughout scripture we are told to "fear not", "be not afraid" and "be not dismayed" - those are choices made through an act of our will. The Greek word for "power" in John 1:12 is eksousia, and means power of choice. When we embrace the Nature of Spirit expressed in His Words, we become empowered by His Spirit to face the circumstances confronting us. Separating fear from a feeling now frees me to be able to choose (eksousia) how I am to act, to behave, in response to circumstances regardless of how I might feel about them. Faith now becomes actionable as a choice over feeling. Faith does not "overcome" fear. Like Light and darkness Faith and fear cannot occupy the same space at the same time - there will either be one, or there will be the other. Faith is a choice of our will - as is fear. If we choose to believe that God is Good no matter what circumstance we find ourselves in, then we are choosing to embrace Perfect Love and scripture says it is Perfect Love that casts out fear (1John 4:18). Faith is exhibiting confidence through our actions that YHVH will do everything we have heard Him say He will do (Hebrews 11:1). Believe as found in Genesis 15:6 in the Hebrew is 'aman, meaning to stand firm in, to be found reliable in, to be faithful in doing. As the father of our faith, Abraham exhibited his belief in what the Father was saying to him by causing his actions to adhere to the words YHVH had spoken the very day he heard them (Genesis 17:23). Romans 4:12 says Abraham is the father of all who 'walk in the steps of that faith' he exhibited in haEl haNaAman (Hebrew for 'the Faithful One'). To 'believe' requires an alignment of our life to the Words of YHVH found in Exodus 20:1-17. It is in the dual action of sealing our confession before men with our lips and then a follow-through of the evidentiary embrace of the Life of Yeshua He exampled before us in scripture. To those who exhibit this belief, to them are given the power to BECOME the sons of YHVH (John 1:12-13). In choosing to be faithful to YHVH's Words in the midst of circumstance, the burden is taken off of us to dispel fear and is put squarely on YHVH's shoulders to come to our aid - in whatever way He wishes. That is the God Yeshua knew in the wilderness. He was not speaking those words from a place of fear, but choosing instead to reside in that place of confident conviction. Understand, however, that the choice to remain in a place of Faith also places you in a position of extreme vulnerability This means that if YHVH does not show up on your behalf, most likely you will become "roasted duck" - somebody's dinner. (see what it means to Become Vulnerable). So, how do we "choose" faith?

"So faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word..." Romans 10:17

in the wilderness the wilderness
Some English translations end this verse with the words "…of God", others end it with the words, ",,,of Messiah" ("Christ" is a Greek alteration of Messiah, see Who's Name Is It? for explanation). However, since Yeshua stated in John 14:24 that His words WERE the words of YHVH, it makes little difference which way it is ended – the Word being spoken of IS the Nature of YHVH, the LIFE of Spirit (John 1:1). The Hebrew language is different from English in that it carries a duality of meaning for words and phrases. In Hebrew, the meaning of hearing is not just audio sound waves striking the sensory portion of the ear, but also has a concurrent meaning as well. The Hebrew word for "listen" or "hear" in Exodus 15:26 is shama' - but, in Exodus 19:5, this same Hebrew word is also used for "obey". In Hebrew, to hear IS to obey, to obey IS to hear. Whether you hear what is spoken or not is measured by how you obey what you hear. Conversely, how you obey determines whether or not you heard what was said. To say "God is good" is to also say "good is God" at the same time - they are the same. This same dualism is also used for the whole phrase in Romans 10:17 above. In considering that all of these words were initially written by Hebrews from a Hebrew perspective, then, Hebraically, this phrase is rendered "faith IS hearing/obeying – hearing/obeying IS faith". The exercise of faith is directly tied to my action of trust, exhibited by obedience to His Words.

The third observation on the opening verses of this article, was that Yeshua did not try to restrain the temptations laid before Him nor did He attempt to escape from them. He allowed Himself to be taken from place to place in order for the temptation to be fully exposed to Him. He did not try to resist the tempter's advances, but withstood them - trusting the Father to be in full control of the earthly events that affected His Life. The Father once said to me that the most difficult challenge I will ever face throughout my life lies in arising every morning and simply choosing to believe that YHVH is Good – no matter what I see, no matter what I hear, no matter what I think, no matter what I feel. To choose to believe by my actions that my trust in His Words are not misplaced – that His chesed, (Hebrew for "faithfulness") is worthy of my trust. Yeshua did not take it upon Himself to try to alter the circumstances He found Himself thrust into. He did not do it here at the beginning nor at the end when He was before Pilate (John 18:36). Neither should we. Yeshua resisted the enemy of self-determination, not by trying to engage in rhetoric, but by not giving any place for doubt to reside in his heart. We should do the same (James 4:7). What does all this mean for those times when I can feel fear crawling all over me? It means I choose to stand in what the Father says to be Truth and having stood, I continue to stand – even if it means I might perish (see Hearing His Voice and then see life from the Father's Perspective). The tradition most common to Christianity has tried to convince us that freedom from uncomfortable circumstances is the norm – when, in reality, just the opposite is true. Psalm 23 says, "yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will not fear (a choice)... you prepare a banquet table before me in the presence of my enemies." The Father wants us to stand in our present circumstances, look the enemy of temptation eye-ball to eye-ball and KNOW that, if I am in the palm of the Father’s hand by my obedience to His Words, the enemy cannot touch me unless there is something the Father wants from me in that exchange. At first, it seems an insurmountable task because every fiber in your being will cry out to convince you otherwise. But, who are we to believe – what we feel or what the Father says is Truth? Like exercising your body, however, the more you do stand, the longer will you be able to stand in the face of fear. Eventually, it will subside - maybe not completely, but manageably (Proverbs 16:3).

the Light of Spirit the palm of His Hand
Faith IS the evidence of things not seen, the substance of what is hoped for (Hebrews 11:1). Faith IS believing that God IS Good and that He is a rewarder of them that seek Him (Hebrews 11:6). The enemy is fear. Faith IS standing nose to nose with the enemy of temptation as Yeshua did in the wilderness with the knowledge that he can not touch me unless I allow Him to by giving place to him through my choices (Ephesians 4:27). The obedience we are seeking is choosing to be obedient to the Father's Words in the face of circumstance that would try to convince us otherwise (Hebrews 5:8). Fear is something we give place to if we are trying to preserve our life. If there is something of our life we are trying to hang onto, we will lose what we desire to have the most because it is in the act of, the choice of, trying to preserve our life that we lose it (Matthew 10:39).

This is the good fight for the faith that is demonstrable to the world (1Timothy 6:12). We don't walk by feeling, we walk by faith, no matter what - and then we wait on the Father to show up in the middle of our circumstance. Not the way we want Him to be - the way He wants to be found. Resist the enemy of fear and self-determination and he will flee from you. This is our resistance - we just do it. We do it to the extent and with the mindset those boys had before Nebuchadnezzar threw them into the fiery furnace - if I perish, then I perish. But, even if YHVH does not rescue me, I will not bow to the temptation to give fear a place to squat in my heart (Daniel 3:12-28).
the Salt of the Earth series
Part One - Salt of the Earth
Part Two - Faith or Fear?
Part Three - Seasoning
Part Four - the Tithe

" it is written, whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame. For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek, for the same Lord over all is rich to all who call upon Him. For whoever calls on the name of YaHoVeH shall be saved." Romans 10:11-13

Please feel free to email me at While not claiming to have all the answers, it would be an honor to partake with you of what the Spirit is uncovering.