Summary: There is a major battle going on for your heart and mind for whatever has your mind, has you. After Jesus sought to be baptized signifying his yielding to God’s call upon his life, he immediately came under attack. In our Scripture today, we see that the
Angels & Demons: counter attack
There is a major battle going on for your heart and mind for whatever has your mind, has you. After Jesus sought to be baptized signifying his yielding to God’s call upon his life, he immediately came under attack. Matthew 4 and Luke 4 share Jesus’ time of temptation in the wilderness. The Devil knew what a threat Jesus was to his plan to take over the world and the hearts and minds of God’s children. He knew that if he could win over Jesus then everybody and everything else would fall like a deck of cards. In our Scripture today, we see that the evil one will always attack us on 3 fronts. The first is your appetite. Any time that you make a decision based on your appetite, your passions, your desires, it’s always based on the immediate without thought to future consequence. In the wilderness, Jesus fasted for 40 days, and trust me, by that time Jesus was hungry. "The devil said to him, 'If you are the Son of God, turn this stone into bread.' Jesus’ response was, 'It is written: people do not live by bread alone but every word that comes from the mouth of God.'" Your appetite, whether it is sexual, material, emotional or physical is a key motivation in your behavior and actions.
Second is your worldview. You and I have been immersed in a secular, materialistic, humanistic worldview that denies a spiritual interpretation for life and excludes God’s active role in the world. This is so pervasive that it affects our faith in what we believe God can do and what we allow God to do in our lives. Faith and God's activity are directly connected for Jesus said, "According to your faith, it will be done to you." So the most obvious place to attack is this place where we are most skeptical. Verses 5-8, "The devil led him up to a high place and showed him in an instant all the kingdoms of the world. And he said to him, 'I will give you all their authority and splendor, it has been given to me, and I can give it to anyone I want to. If you worship me, it will all be yours.' Jesus answered, 'It is written: worship the Lord your God and serve him only.'" Our culture teaches us that truth is relative and it is up to each human being to determine what is right or wrong for them. Everything is allowable as long as it doesn’t hurt anyone else. Jesus said truth is not relative; we must align ourselves with the Word of God and the will of God and serve his purpose only.
The third front evil will come at you with is the temptation of false religion. Look with me at verses 9-12, "The devil led him to Jerusalem and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. 'If you are the Son of God,' he said, 'throw yourself down from here. (Even the devil quotes scripture.) He will command his angels concerning you to guard you carefully; they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against the stone.' Jesus answered, 'It is said: Do not put the Lord your God to the test.'" False religion is when we use God for our own earthly ends rather than submitting ourselves to be used by God for his eternal purpose. It manifests itself when we come to worship out of obligation or just to get our spiritual fix. It manifests itself when we only pray for ourselves and our needs or those close to us without giving any consideration to the will of God. It manifests itself when we bargain with God in the midst of a crisis or when we use the church to network and make business connections.
The second thing we learn from our Scripture today is Jesus' strategy of counter attack for us to break addictive cycles of sin in our own life. Sin requires aggressive treatment. It didn’t matter that he was famished 40 days in the wilderness, there was no lag time between Satan's temptation and his response. Temptation requires an immediate response. The first counterattack is that Jesus maintained a constant state of mental and spiritual alertness. 1 Corinthians 10:12, "If you think you are standing firm, be careful you do not fall." Jesus was expecting the attack. The problem is that we can be lured into a false sense of security. Things are going fine, we’re having some victories against temptation and then all of a sudden, it blindsides us. So we always have to be on the lookout, aware that attacks can come any time or from anyone or anywhere in life. You also have to be aware of the conditions in which you are vulnerable: like times when you’re tired, stressed out, overwhelmed, and depressed. Make sure your guard is up during these times because when there’s a weakness, you’re vulnerable. This is especially critical in the dry seasons of life. We all have wilderness dry times in life, whether that be in our marriages, our careers, our relationships or even our spiritual lives. These can be times when we are susceptible to sin and failure. As frustrating and difficult as these times might be, there is a positive aspect about dry times. It is why the Spirit led Jesus into the wilderness. It is in the dry times that we can learn to depend upon God the most, to really trust God and get beyond just believing in God.