“Then Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan River. He was led by the Spirit in the wilderness, where he was tempted by the devil for forty days. Jesus ate nothing all that time and became very hungry” (NLT) Luke 4:1-2
“When the devil had finished tempting Jesus, he left him until the next opportunity came” (NLT) Luke 4:13
In previous devotionals, we have been enlightened on two very effective tools of the devil – deception and worldliness. Today, we wrap up on this lesson, with the last but certainly not the least tool – temptation. Of course, these three are not exhaustive tools of the devil. The devil is very smart and he keeps devising schemes and stratagems to outwit humanity into eternal damnation.
When one analyses the fall of man in the Garden of Eden, one would realise that the devil effectively combined the three tools perfectly. First, he deceived the woman with superficially assuring words. The desire to be like God was a worldly thought he planted in her mind. As she was nurturing this desire in her heart, all of a sudden, the forbidden fruit became pleasing to her eyes and she was tempted to pluck one (Read Genesis 3:1-6). Since the time of Adam, the devil has used the same tactics to pull down great men. Talk of Sampson, David, and Solomon. The common denominator the devil used to pull them down was their insatiable desire for women.
The devil always examines our vulnerabilities and designs a temptation package for us. After having fasted for forty days and nights without food, the devil knew very well that Christ was famishing. Though He is God, the devil was bold enough to approach this Son of Man to divert his thoughts on his purpose on earth. Don’t you realise that the devil is not only smart but very daring? One may think he would back away from God, the Son, but not him (the devil).
According to Abraham Maslow, man always fights tooth and nail to satisfy his primitive needs: food, shelter, and clothing. It is our survival and animalistic instinct and through this, the devil has pierced a lot of people with sorrows (1 Timothy 6:10). He wanted to do the same to Christ: “If you are the Son of God, tell this stone to become a loaf of bread” (NLT) Luke 4:3. But Jesus knew better: “No! The Scriptures say, ‘People do not live by bread alone” (NLT) Luke 4:4. The lesson here is simple: In our frantic bid to survive, we should not do so without recourse to the word of God.
Relentless and unyielding, the devil tempted Christ in the area of his emotional cravings and security. The devil dared Christ Jesus to jump off the highest point of the temple to show whether His Father will dispatch angels to His rescue. Again, with the word of God, Christ quenched the fiery darts of the devil (Matthew 4:5-7). Next, the devil tempted Christ in his area of psychological cravings. The need for greatness and recognition typifies the life of most men who have adequately met their physical and emotional needs. The devil knew this before Maslow ever propounded this theory. In his usual give-and-take stratagem, the devil proposed to Christ: Worship me and I will give you all the kingdoms and authority in this world. Without hesitation, Christ replied: “You must worship the LORD your God and serve only him” (NLT) Luke 4:8.
Beloved, the overarching lesson we can glean from Christ’s victory over Satan’s temptation is that if we will also allow the word of God to richly dwell in us (Colossians 3:16) we can also overcome the enemy. The word of God is our sword on the battle field of temptation (Ephesians 6:17). It is very pitiable that most Christians do not wield this spiritual sword and the devil defeats us always. As the hymnist advised, “Yield not to temptation, for yielding is sin” (Horatio R. Palmer, 1868).
Daily Inspirer Team