New Testament Journey – Day 7. “Satan Tempts Jesus in the Wilderness.” – Read Matthew Chapter 4 vs. 1-11.
The Holy Spirit led Jesus to the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. So many people have the false idea that if you become a Christian, life becomes easy. That’s a myth. The bible says the rain falls on the just and the unjust alike, but we can withstand the storms of life if we build our house upon the rock. That rock is Jesus, he is our example, so let’s see how he faced being tempted by the devil for 40 days and 40 nights. (Most of us today can’t handle being tempted for 40 minutes.) BUT my friends, God always provides a way of escape. Always. It’s not always easy – it often takes a lot of Faith – but I promise – we can make it!
This time of testing in the wilderness showed that Jesus really was the Son of God, able to overcome the devil and his temptations. A person has not shown obedience if they’ve never been faced with an opportunity to disobey. We can never claim Victory if we’ve never had a battle…
We read in Deuteronomy about God leading Israel into the wilderness to humble and test them. God wanted to see whether or not his people would really obey Him. We, too, will be tested. Because we know it will come, we should be ALERT and ready for it. Remember, your convictions are only strong if they hold up under pressure! (How important of a message this is today with all that’s going on around us. It would be so easy to bury our heads in the sand and give up the good fight. But NOW is the time to dig in more than ever and stand firm in your Faith.)
The devil, also called Satan, tempted Eve in the garden, and tempted Jesus in the wilderness. Satan is a fallen angel. He is real, not symbolic, and is constantly fighting against those who follow and obey God. Satan’s temptations are real, and designed to see things his way instead of God’s way. It’s a battle that has went on since Satan fell from heaven. He fell because he was jealous of God, he wanted to be God, he was full of pride which turned to hate. Those same characteristics of Satan can cause man to fall today. The bible says clearly “Pride comes before the fall.” My mom always said “A woman’s worst enemy is fatigue, and a mans is his ego.” can I get an Amen?
Notice that Jesus wasn’t tempted inside the Temple, or at his baptism, but in the wilderness, where he was tired, alone, and hungry and most vulnerable. Isn’t that when the devil usually tries to get us? When we are vulnerable … when we are under physical or emotional stress. In addition, he also likes to tempt us in our strengths where we are most vulnerable to pride. We must be on guard at all times to recognize attacks of the enemy.
Where did he strike? The devil focused on 3 crucial areas with Jesus, and often with us: (1) Physical needs and desires. (2) possessions and power (3) Pride. Jesus understands when we go to him in prayer with our trials and temptations because he has experienced everything we do. Don’t we become much more empathetic and compassionate to those who have been through the same trials and tests that we’ve been through? It creates kind of bond between people here on earth – and it should create a bond between you and Jesus.
Jesus was hungry and weak after fasting for 40 days so the devil said “turn these stones to bread”. Now we all know Jesus had the power to do that – but he had given up that power to experience humanity, fully. We also may be tempted to satisfy a perfectly normal desire in a wrong way or at the wrong time. If we indulge in sex before marriage or if we steal to get food, we are trying to satisfy God-given desires in wrong ways. Remember, many of our desires are normal and good, but God wants you to satisfy them in the right way at the right time.
This battle method is my favorite – one that sticks out to me every time I read it! The devil did to Jesus what he does to so many today – twisting the scripture. You see the devil knows scripture too – and just like many who aren’t serving the Lord today – they also know scripture. One verse, or two that they twist to suit their needs. But when Satan tells Jesus “Jump off here – the bible says that God will order his angels to protect you. And they will hold you up with their hands so you don’t even hurt your foot on a stone.” Jesus responded Yes, it says that BUT it also says “You must not Test the Lord your God.” Boom! That is why we need to read the bible in it’s ENTIRETY. So many who want to seek Jesus can be influenced by those who are false teachers by listening to them quote one scripture and misrepresenting it in it’s entirety. Today, as I read comments and articles on social media, so many people are justifying sin by standing on “God is Love” so “Anything Goes”. Yes, God is love. He loves us all, even in our sin. But the bible also clearly states what God sees as sin. It states that sin separates us from God. And when they say “Well that was 2,000 years ago – He’s changed..” Ummm no, the bible also clearly states “I am God and I change not.” God clearly defined sin not because he doesn’t love us – but because He does! I’m sure if you look around, or even at your own life you can see the awful affects of sin.
Just like the devil tried to use Scripture to convince Jesus to sin, sometimes friends or associates will present attractive and convincing reasons why you should try or believe something you know to be wrong. They may even use bible verses to “support” their viewpoint. Study the bible carefully, especially the broader context of specific verses. Read the Entire chapter so that you can fully understand God’s principles for living and what He wants for your life.
The devil offered Jesus the whole world if he would bow down and worship him. Today the devil offers us the world by trying to entice us with materialism and power. We see it happening at the highest levels – layers upon layers of corruption in the corporate world just to gain another dollar without little thought of who is hurt along the way. And we can fall victim to it even at our level of wealth… where we spend so much time focusing on a specific amount that we want in our bank account or climbing the ladder where we work, that we leave God out of our day to day. That we stop seeking what HE wants for our lives.
I encourage you today – READ your Bible! Know God’s plan and purpose for your life. Stand firm in your Faith. And just like it says in vs. 11 – Then the devil went away, and angels came and took care of Jesus. Friends, when we resist the devil, he will flee and another battle will be won. You got this!