Welcome to my blog: I intend to share heartfelt writing about anything that comes to mind.
Take Up Your Cross
Matthew 4:1-11 is the demonstration
of Jesus dealing with Satan's temptations
after forty days of fasting in the wilderness.
What can we learn from Jesus' example,
that will help us in our daily battle with sin
and Satan, the author of sin.
The quick answer is to resist the devil and he will flee from you, and to use scriptures as Jesus did. Simple enough, right? Well, while that answer may be correct, simple it is not.
I want to give a little more in depth answer. First of all, I want to discuss who tempts us.
13 Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man:
14 But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed.
15 Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.
First of all, God does not tempt us himself. He may lead us to be tempted according to the Lord’s Prayer. Notice it is the devil that tempted Jesus. Notice also in the first verse of Matthew 4, Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil.
The Devil is the Tempter. The devil is the one that tempted Eve in the garden, see Genesis 1:1-5. Satan asked God for permission to afflict and tempt Job in Job 2:4-5.
In Luke 22:51, Jesus told Peter the devil had asked permission to sift him like wheat.
Revelation 2:10 talks about how the devil was about to put some people in prison and they were about to suffer, but if they endured, they would receive the crown of life. In each of these instances, the devil had to get permission from God to tempt the people.
How are we tempted? (James 1:14) we are tempted when we are enticed by the lust of our own flesh. Jesus was tempted to make stones into bread when he was hungry after fasting 40 days. His flesh was weak at that point. Jesus answered this temptation with scripture.
I often wondered to myself why it would be a sin for Jesus to turn stones to bread if he was hungry because we all know he was able to do it. It would have been sin because that would have been outside the will of God for him to do. Anything outside the will of God the Father is sin. He was being tempted to use his Devine power to satisfy his flesh.
Our passage in Matthew 4 also shows just how deceptive and manipulative the devil is. If he was this way with Jesus, the Messiah, you better believe he will be that way with you. The Bible says, Satan is the master of lies and deceit. The next temptation he approached Jesus with, he also quoted scripture. He actually tempted Jesus with scripture! He will try to twist our words and use them against us. Be aware of that!
God’s word will NEVER contradict itself. Don’t think the devil doesn’t know what the Bible says, and don’t think he won’t try to use it against you. This is another good reason to become very familiar with what the Bible says. Again, Jesus answered the devil using another scripture.
I find the third temptation quite interesting. Why would the devil offer to give Jesus all the kingdoms of the world and the glory of them? Did Jesus have a desire to rule the world? This temptation is kind of profound. Didn’t God the Father already give Jesus that? Well, God has promised that Jesus will rule the world in a thousand year reign at the end of time, but he hasn’t obtained it yet. Temporarily, the world is the devil’s kingdom. God’s kingdom is in heaven. Jesus resisted the devil. He told him to depart from him and leave him alone basically. He also answered with another scripture.
In summary, it is important that we are familiar with what the Bible actually says. We should be aware of what fleshly desires we have in ourselves that make us vulnerable to being tempted. We should try to avoid giving the devil this opportunity if at all possible. However, if you should find yourself in a moment of weakness, it is helpful to have some scriptures memorized or written somewhere that you can have quick access to in a pinch. We can pray, and ask God for help at any time we need him because he is a very present help in trouble. We can resist and rebuke the devil.
A thought that came to me just now is the scripture passage that has to do with putting on the whole armor of God. I should write a separate Bible study on this at some point. Let’s refresh our memory.
10 Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might.
11 Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.
12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.
13 Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.
14 Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness;
15 And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace;
16 Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.
17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God:
18 Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;
How can we talk about resisting temptation without talking about putting on the armor of God? Verse 17 talks about the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God. I cannot stress enough how important it is to get familiar with your sword and how to use it. The sword is your weapon of offense. The shield of faith is your main defense. All the other parts of the armor are used primarily as defense. Prayer is defense as well as offense. Do you want to spend your time in battle with the enemies of God cowering behind a partially efficient shield (faith comes by hearing the word of God), or do you want to be able to fight back and cause some damage of your own? Get familiar with God’s word!
1. God’s word
2. Fresh air
4. Eye sight