I had been running on the treadmill for five minutes, hooked up to an EKG while being closely monitored by a physician assistant. Although I was completely asymptomatic with no other risk factors for heart disease, because of my father recently dying from a sudden heart attack, my personal physician thought it prudent for me to undergo a cardiac stress test. I successfully passed the test as we both hoped I would. I did the stress test to prove that I was healthy as I appeared to be, reassuring myself and my physician.
Stress testing is not only useful for cardiac health. There are many situations that require stress testing in order to prove and reassure others that the reported claims are valid. Spacecraft are stress tested to verify it can withstand the extreme temperature and pressure changes. Software programs are stress tested to verify its stability and reliability during heavy use. What about spiritual stress testing? The Bible records an extreme example. At the beginning of His ministry, Jesus Christ fasted for forty days and was then led into the wilderness to be tempted by Satan. Satan beguiled Jesus with fame, wealth, and power. With each temptation, Jesus resisted and clung to the Word of God.
Why would Jesus have to be stress tested with temptation? Some cynically state that this isn’t fair! After all, isn’t He God? How could He fail? This is too simplistic an analysis. Once again, the Bible gives us the answer.
Your promises have been thoroughly tested; that is why I love them so much.
Psalms 119:140 (NLT)
For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin. Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.
Hebrews 4:15-16 (NASB)
The promises of Jesus Christ can be trusted because He was stress tested under the most rigorous of conditions. Directly tempted by Satan while in a weakened physical state, Jesus Christ clung to His faith in God, His Father, and rebuked Satan’s temptations by quoting the Word of God.
Why would Jesus need to be tempted? It was not for His benefit, it was for our instruction. Jesus was completely human and because He was tempted in all ways but did not sin, He proved that one can live a life of complete obedience to God. He underwent the ultimate stress test and emerged triumphant and sinless in the face of temptation. During our spiritual stress testing and temptations, we can also emerge victorious if we confess and repent of our sins and accept Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior.
Love and trust in the Lord; seek His will in your life.