Then was Jesus led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil.
2 And when he had fasted forty days and forty nights, he was afterward an hungred.
3 And when the tempter came to him, he said, If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread.
4 But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.
5 Then the devil taketh him up into the holy city, and setteth him on a pinnacle of the temple,
6 And saith unto him, If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down: for it is written, He shall give his angels charge concerning thee: and in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone.
7 Jesus said unto him, It is written again, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God.
8 Again, the devil taketh him up into an exceeding high mountain, and sheweth him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them;
9 And saith unto him, All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me.
10 Then saith Jesus unto him, Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.
11 Then the devil leaveth him, and, behold, angels came and ministered unto him.
Luke 4:13 And when the devil had ended all the temptation, he departed from him for a season.
Have you ever noticed with each encounter with the Lord, you must face a temptation immediately? What is up with this? Can we not even bask in His light, love, and leadership for a minute without the enemy barging in and attacking us where we are most vulnerable? He knows us better than we know ourselves. UGH!
Scripture tells us this happened to Jesus as well! Hallelujah, at least we are in good company!
Jesus has just been to His cousin John and been baptized and His Father has sent the Holy Spirit to Him to endue Him with power for His ministry and the very first thing THE SPIRIT does is lead Jesus into the wilderness TO BE TEMPTED! (Matthew 4:1, Luke 4:1) For the love of all that is good and kind…………are you serious? I can sure relate! The warm summer night in June when I was thirteen, I made the decision to put my faith and trust in Jesus as my Savior. I went home to “confess with my mouth that I had been saved,” (Romans 10:9) and the very first words out of my mother’s mouth were: “Well, I sure hope it helps your attitude!” and she walked out of the room. No, “Oh, I am so thankful!” No, “This is the best news ever!” No encouragement, no hug, no smile, nothing, nada, zip! I wish I knew what I did before I left for church that night, it must have been pretty bad. I have tried for decades to remember. Years later, I asked Mamma what I did and she had no clue and had no recollection of her response to me……………I on the other hand have never forgotten those sharp words. However, it did teach me from the outset a change was expected in my behavior if I planned to call myself “a repenter” as my Romanian friends call Christians. Encounter with the Lord, then deal with the devil who used my sweet Mamma just like he used Peter against Jesus! (Matthew 16:23)
I bet if I gathered your stories of spiritual breakthroughs what I would find is that on the heels of this spiritual high came a spiritual trial that knocked you on your proverbial backside and you were on your back looking up at the bottom of a pit so deep there was no light. Such a tug of war in the heavenlies! (Ephesian 6:12) I am thankful Scripture confirms this pattern. We see Peter walk on water to sink like a stone; Paul to encounter the risen Christ to be struck blind; Esther to be made queen to plead for her life and the life of the Jews; Moses sees the face of God only to throw down the tablets God Himself wrote on; David wins in battle to fall flat on his face morally; and so it goes. Spiritual high. Spiritual low. The battle for man’s soul is a real and present danger.
Jesus will go to the desert God the Father leads Him there. He fasted for forty days and was hungry, thirsty, and near death! In other words, He is at His weakest moment of life up to this point, and guess who shows up to tempt Jesus with “the lust of the flesh?” “Hey, Jesus, since you are the Son of God, why don’t you just turn these stones into some tasty, hot bread?” If you had the power of the Holy Spirit and you could, what would you do? (I would not have made four days without food, much less forty. Those stones would have been bread!) But, Jesus is our example of how to battle the enemy: Use the Word. But to use it, we have to own it (that means we have to know it).
Our spiritual battles are won or lost knowing the Word and standing on it. It is our Sword of the Spirit: The Word of God and Satan cannot stay when the name of Jesus is said! He runs for cover. (John 14:13-14, 16:23-24, James 4:7, Luke 10:17, Mark 3:11) We have to know, “It is Written.” We also must recognize just because we pass the first test does not mean the enemy is finished attacking! He will move on to tempt using the “lust of the eyes and the pride of life” (I John 2:16) and even if we win the skirmish as Jesus did, he will go away until a more opportune time, which simply means Satan will be watching so he can kick us when we are down! The war is not over. It was not over for Jesus and it will not be over for any child of God until Jesus returns!
David failed God and God called him a “man after His own heart.” (Acts 13:22) We will lose some battles but the war is already won! Memorize Deuteronomy 31:6 “Be strong and of a good courage, fear not, nor be afraid of them: for the LORD thy God, He it is that doth go with thee; He will not fail thee, nor forsake thee.” Each trial coming our way has a holy purpose: Some trials and temptations put Christ on display and others reveal areas of our lives we have yet to relinquish to the Lord. Pay attention: There is much to be learned and gained for the kingdom. You already know Who wins this tug of war! He said, “IT IS FINISHED!”
Chris Tomlin Your Story
Treading in the Word