it is written #21

After his baptism, which must have been a wonderful moment for Jesus, he faced his first test of character. And it was titanic. Read Luke 4:1-13

“Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, left the Jordan and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness, where for forty days he was tempted by the devil. He ate nothing during those days, and at the end of them he was hungry.” Luke 4:1-2

I’ve been on extended fasts before, though they often degraded into “mostly” fasts. Forty days without any food … now that’s really, really tough. When I’ve fasted “successfully”, I experienced moments of amazing clarity and breakthrough, but a lot of the time I felt weak and listless.

The biggest temptation for me was to “cheat” and snack on something. Take a shortcut, nobody would know.

Jesus had a much more intense set of temptations to fight off.  But he faced the same ones we face, and much more.

“No temptations have come upon you except what is common to man.” 1 Corinthians 10:13

Satan’s plan of attack more seduction than coercion. “Take a shortcut, you can justify it, no one will know.”

He challenged the now-publicly-proclaimed identity of Jesus, subtly trying to undermine his self esteem and get his head spinning with doubt.

“If you are the Son of God ….”

Our enemy, the devil, is always trying to attack two things: our identity and our destiny.

“… turn the stones to bread”

Jesus had not eaten anything in 40 days. He was physically weak. His will power was low. He was HUNGRY!

The devil’s temptation was essentially  for the Son of God to abuse his power and meet his legitimate need in an illegitimate way.

Jesus deflected with God’s word.

“It is written … Man does not live by bread alone.”

The devil upped his game. “Worship me and you can have all the bright shiny stuff there is …”

Satan’s “win” is to direct worship to anything other than the only One worthy of worship.

Jesus counter punched.  “It is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God and serve him only.”

Finally the devil presented a distortion of scripture to seduce Christ with a big shortcut. “Jump off the cliff.” No cross, no shame, no suffering, no death. Do a magic trick instead.

If you’re satan, a dude with a totally anti-God agenda, the way he was misinterpreting scripture sorta made sense.

But Jesus responded with a better theology.

“The word says ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.'”

The devil had taken his three best shots and struck out. Then he left Jesus. The pressure was off, until next time.

The practical application is Jesus modeled for us how to fight off the most severe temptation when you are at your weakest.

The key is not will power, it’s word power.

For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, Hebrews 4:12

Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. Ephesians 6:17

Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. James 4:7

When you find yourself in times of temptation, especially when it’s intense, fight back – repeatedly, frequently and primarily – with the very word of God.

“It is written ….”

It works!

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About Season Of Light

I am writing a devotional series called “Season of Light” (#SeasonOfLife) during the beginning of 2016, focusing on the 40 day season of Epiphany (from January 6 – February 10). We’ll explore the major biblical themes of the beginning of Jesus ministry, and I’ll comment as the Holy Spirit inspires. This is for the purpose of growing in our relationship with the Lord. My desire – my hope and prayer for you – is that your heart may expand and your spirit grow brighter as we seek to be filled with the knowledge and presence of God. So, I invite you to join me on the “Season of Light” journey!

Often I’ll be inspired by a scripture from the Daily Audio Bible readings and use that as a writing prompt. Here’s the DAB readings for January 21: Genesis 42:18-43:34; Matthew 13:47-14:12; Psalms 18:16-34; Proverbs 4:7-10

Our church is also on a reading plan of four chapters per day, starting in the New Testament. Today is Luke 1-4.