Study from God’s Word… Luke 3: 1-6 [Mat 3: 1-3 & Mark 1: 2-4]; Matt. 3: 4-6 [Mark 1: 5,6]; Luke 3: 7-14 [Matt 3: 7-10]; Luke 3: 15-18 [Matt 3: 11,12 & Mark 1: 7,8]; Luke 3: 21-13 j[Matt 3: 13-17 & Mark 1: 9-11]; Matt 4: 1-11 [Mark 1: 12-13 & Luke 4: 1-13]; John 1: 19-34 … Passage for Reflection: Matthew 4: 3 … NIV The tempter came to Him and said, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.”
My Journal for Today: Have you ever, as a Christian, been tempted to handle some personal challenge or circumstance by taking the route of the flesh rather than the Spirit and then disclaiming your choice by saying (or at least feeling), “I’m only human.” Common now, fess up!!
Well, perhaps you’re not like the one writing this entry. I certainly have done that, thinking, “Surely they don’t expect me to be like Jesus!” Well, the truth is that no one can be God in the flesh; and so, “NO!” … no one can be or do what Jesus did in the wilderness by resisting temptation as Jesus did as the Son of God; but the truth is that ANY CHRISITIAN can do what Jesus did in the wilderness and resist Satan, the world, or our own flesh, but utilizing the power Jesus has given us with His enabling/empowering grace and by using the same strategy modeled by our Savior in dealing with our common foe, Satan.
When I became a Christian, God implanted His very Spirit, the same Spirit Who raised our Lord from the dead, within my “heart” (i.e., my spiritual being). And that indwelling Spirit allows me to be able to resist our spiritual enemies when I’m confronted in spiritual warfare. And my model, Jesus, in those two marvelous Gospel passages of Matthew 4: 1-11 and Luke 4: 1-13, showed us a battle strategy which will ALWAYS work in any of the only three forms of sin temptation the enemy can use to tempt mankind. And those three are (see 1st John 2: 16 [NKJV]). … the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life. All temptation unto sin falls into one of those three categories; and Satan tried all three in his wilderness encounter with Christ, trying to get the Son of God, in His state of fully human limitations to use His Godly power to overcome the temptations He was experiencing in His in very human flesh.
So, what did Jesus do in his weakened flesh to combat this very powerful, but fallen angel? He did what any human can – or could – do. He wielded the very word of God, the “sword of the Spirit” (see Eph. 6: 17) to dispel the taunts of His arch enemy. He was tempted three times; and three times Jesus pulled out God’s truth from the Scriptures to wield against His enemy; and when all was said and done, Satan had to flee in defeat.
So, what does this show you and me as warriors in God’s army with Christ as our Commander and Chief? Well, Jesus himself has shown us how to confront any temptation from Satan himself and to dispel this enemy with the power which comes from/in His word. And so, any of us … me and you … can – and should – use this strategy to deal with the temptations of life.
I’ve been led by God’s calling and anointing to lead in a ministry to help Christian men who’ve fallen on the battle fields of sexual sin; and the Luke 4/Matt. 4 battle strategy is one we model, teach, and exhort all our men to use in battle. We want them (and I encourage you) to become skilled “swordsmen” in battle. And one cannot be an effective swordsman, wielding the Sword of the Spirit, without carrying that sword with him all the times, making sure it’s sharpened, and becoming well practiced in its use.
If you had to go to battle with a sword, would you be able to win against an effective swordsman, if you didn’t have a sword and he did? Don’t think that Satan doesn’t know God’s word. He even tried to use it against Jesus in the wilderness. But if we, as Christians, have the word of God planted deeply in our mind/hearts, we can do what Jesus did and wield it when tempted. God’s word certainly encourages us to do so in Psalm 119: 9-11, the passage I call the “9-11 power package" in Scripture. And beyond this, … how effective would you be as a swordsman if you were up against a skilled swordsman and your sword was dull and your enemy’s was well sharpened? … Duh! … And finally, how effective would you be if your opponent was well practiced as a swordsman and you had never practiced any sword skills to prepare for battle? … Again, … duh!
I think you can see where I’m going with this. I hope you do! Because God has given the Christian the sharpest and most effective sword imaginable to do battle with our common enemy. And yes, Satan is a very powerful enemy and one who is a well-practiced swordsman. But we can do battle and win against him or any spiritual foe. God has given me (us) the Sword of the Spirit, … God’s word. But that sword can only be as effective as I (we) make it by my (our) practice and developed skills in its use. We can – and will – dispel any temptation, just as Jesus did in the wilderness, by carrying, sharpening, and practicing our skills with God’s Sword – His word.
So, no more excuses that our flesh is too weak to do battle against Satan. Let’s all carry God’s sword and be ready for battle by sharpening our Sword of the Spirit; and being practiced and ready for daily battle (and the battles come EVERY DAY!). And like Jesus, let’s wield the sharpened blade of God’s word when temptations come our way.
My Prayer for Today: Lord, I’m under the encouragement of 1st Cor. 10: 13 and Romans 8: 31 as I’ve come into your presence in my time with You today. Thank You, my Jesus, for my Sword [it’s sharpened and ready, Lord] so that I can do battle today in Your Name and for Your glory. Amen