Summary: Spiritual warfare is a reality. But what is it over? By looking at the temptation of Jesus in Matthew 4, this message explores the three things that all Spiritual battles are over.
God will often give us a word which challenges us, seeking to implement change in our lives. He gives us both direction, and directives. God will give us information, that leads to revelation, that should result in a transformation! And when that begins to happen, I believe the enemy begins to get "nervous," sensing that something awesome is about to take place. Whenever God does something in you, the devil raises the level of his activity against you. When God speaks to you, Satan strikes at you. When God fills you, the devil fights you!
And, at times, there seems to be an unusual sphere of warfare going on. There are times when things begin to attack us that never have before, and affect us in ways we would never think possible. I can’t even put it into words, except to say, that, the magnitude of the move of God that He is wanting to bless His children with, has caused the devil to attack, fight, and battle us at a different level. SATAN CAN’T STOP GOD, so he comes to keep us from being able to be a part of what God is doing.
Whenever God begins to lead you into something greater, the devil will do anything and everything to keep it from happening. He doesn’t want you to access more of God, or reach the higher place in God’s will and purpose for your life. And so, the battle intensifies. As someone has said, "New levels, new devils."
God’s Word is powerful, and cannot directly be stopped. But many times we fail to realize that many things that God has said is conditional. An example would be 2 Chronicles 7:14. That whole passage and promise hinges on the word, "IF." There are conditions to meet in order to get the word to come to pass, and if they’re not met, it can make void, or nullify the word God has spoken. So, there are things we must do to facilitate the move of God, promised through His Word.
And this text in Matthew 4 helps us understand that when God has spoken a word, that word will be tested. Actually, it’s not as much the word being tested, as it is our faith in and commitment to that word. It reveals the warfare that ensues whenever we’re on the verge of progress, or increase, or of launching into new areas. After Jesus was baptized, the Spirit descended on Him as a dove, lighting upon Him. Then, a voice resounds from heaven, saying, "This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased."
The goal and aim of all believers’ lives is to please God. We would love to hear such a word. But it caused a showdown in the desert, between good and evil, between Jesus and Satan, and it will cause the same in us. Satan wants to test, try, and seek to devour all those who are pleasing God in any way, at any level. Jesus had the tetimony of Enoch, "that he pleased God," but His commitment is about to be tested.
Satan came at Jesus in three different areas. The Father was pleased with Jesus up to this point. But if Jesus failed in any of these areas, that divine testimony would have been voided and nullified. So we can look at this passage and learn how to stand strong in time of battle, and gain much help by having the three areas we’re fought over revealed.
Every Spiritual battle is over something, and I believe that this is insightful as to THE THREE REASONS FOR EVERY SPIRITUAL BATTLE. So, what is the war over?
1. THE WAR IS OVER THE WORD OF GOD. Jesus had just heard a fresh word at the end of chapter three. This wwas the first time in His life and ministry that this had been said, so you could say it was a REVELATION. Something concealed was now revealed. And after this revelation, came a great intensifying in Spiritual warfare. That’s one reason battles come. THEY COME ACCORDING TO THE LEVEL OF REVELATION KNOWLEDGE WE OBTAIN.
Whenever God reveals something to you that you previously did not know, or He gives you a freshly proclaimed promise, Satan will come to battle you over that word! When the Word becomes alive in you, and revelation is imparted unto you, Satan will begin to war with you over God’s Word. John 1:14 says, "And the Word became flesh......and we beheld his glory...." Any time the Word becomes flesh in you, and it becomes a reality, Satan knows you’re a step closer to seeing the glory of God, or to seeing a promise fulfilled in your life.
Mark 4 teaches us that the Word is a seed. The Word of God comes in seed form. And when the Word is sown, Satan is perched, ready to devour the seed, to keep it from taking root, from producing, and from bearing any fruit to the glory of God. *And let me say that it is usually over a revelatory Word that the battle comes. many people who know the Word of God in PRINCIPLE, but not in PRACTICE, will not fight the battles that others do. It’s when the Word becomes FLESH!