Day before yesterday, I talked about the baptism of Jesus and how God, Himself, declared who Jesus was and how He felt about Him. Today, I would like to talk a little bit about how Jesus’s identity was tested immediately after that declaration.
Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. The tempter came to him and said, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.”
Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’”
Then the devil took him to the holy city and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. “If you are the Son of God,” he said, “throw yourself down. For it is written:
“‘He will command his angels concerning you,
and they will lift you up in their hands,
so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.’”
Jesus answered him, “It is also written: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’”
Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. “All this I will give you,” he said, “if you will bow down and worship me.”
Immediately after God had said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased,” Jesus was taken out into the desert, by the Holy Spirit, to be tempted by the devil. The devil didn’t begin tempting Him right away. He waited until after Jesus had fasted for forty days and forty nights. The devil waited until the “fully man” part of Him was hungry and weak, presumably making Him an easy target. Notice the very first thing out of the enemy’s mouth was to question Jesus’s identity. He said, “IF you are the Son of God.”
It’s interesting to see that Satan hasn’t really changed his tactics. He waits until we are weak and tired before going in for the kill. And the last thing he wants is for us to walk out who we truly are, so he aims straight for our identity. If he can damage us there, then he knows we will be powerless. What a bully!
I don’t believe in glorifying the devil by talking about the things he does; however, I do believe that we should know our enemy, in order that Satan might not outwit us. For we are not unaware of his schemes (2 Corinthians 2:11). It would be ridiculous to go into battle (or even a football game) without understanding how the opposition operates. The thief, who is the devil, comes to steal, kill and destroy (John 10:10). He is a murderer; a liar and the father of lies (John 8:44). The Lord brings peace; Satan brings chaos. The Lord brings unity; the enemy causes division. God IS love and light; the devil, only hate and darkness. God is Truth; Satan’s native tongue is lies…he knows no other language.
Before His crucifixion, Jesus took Peter, James and John to the Garden of Gethsemane to pray. Jesus went off to pray by Himself, but would return to the disciples to find them sleeping. He told them to, “Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.” Matthew 26:41
Temptation appeals, very much, to our flesh and soul (mind, will and emotions). The next time you are tired or hungry or agitated, test and see how willing you are to do anything that requires even the smallest amount of discipline. It’s hard to make a good decision when your flesh is screaming at you to make the “easy” (and usually, bad) choice.
Thankfully, the Lord understands our struggle. In 1 Corinthians 10:13 the apostle Paul states, “No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.” We are to watch for those areas where we might be tempted – and remember, temptations will appeal to our flesh and soul. If we are watching, we will see them for what they are BEFORE we become deeply entangled. And we are to pray. God is for us (Romans 8:31) and He has given us the Holy Spirit to help us in our weakness (Romans 8:26).
Just like with Jesus in the desert, the devil attacks the flesh and soul. That is all he has access to if we are covered in the blood of Jesus. However, we are spirit. And we have the Holy Spirit. Because of who we are in Christ, our weak flesh and soul can come under the authority of our willing spirit, which should always be under the authority of the Holy Spirit (our Teacher, Guide, Comforter, Advocate, etc.).
Our authority, in Christ, trumps the power that the enemy has; however, we are required to draw near to, and KNOW, the One who gives us that authority.
More on that, tomorrow.
Have a BLESSED day!