“Like Jesus, follow the Spirit into solitude, and He will spiritually sustain you.”
Thoughts from daily Bible reading for today – March 13, 2023
Then was Jesus led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil. Matthew 4:1
Solitude seems like the most unlikely place for Satan to show up, yet this is precisely his plan. Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be with His heavenly Father, and similar to Job’s experience, Satan showed up. Instead of Jesus having this quiet moment of contemplation on His Father’s love…the Lord Jesus found Himself in an intense battle with the devil tempting Him with power, pride, and presumption. The angel of darkness tempted Jesus with what Jesus already possessed, yet with a twist; the devil desired Jesus’ devotion in exchange for His devotion to God. Satan offered something He could not deliver…with cunning deception, he expected Jesus to capitulate. Yet, Jesus schools the father of lies with the truth of God’s Word. After a relentless assault…seeking to cause Christ to fall…yet, He was tempted without sin!
Be prepared in your prayer time to be distracted by the devil…not just thoughts of your to-do list for the day (which you can jot down while staying focused on God), but at times evil will tempt you to make your prayers about you, instead of what the Lord wants for you and others. Pride can subtly justify your desire for riches as a way to become generous when humility understands generosity starts with being faithful with a little before you can be trusted with much. Your ego will wrap a prayer routine around a desire for your name and reputation to be known, revered. That’s the devil talking. Instead, fill your mind with Scripture and, like Jesus say out loud…
“Then Jesus said to him, Away with you, Satan! For it is written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God, and Him only you shall serve.’ Then the devil left Him, and behold, angels came and ministered to Him” (Matthew 4:10-11).
Satan’s temptations most certainly attack the most committed followers of Christ…like Job and Jesus, you are in good company. A cultural “Christian” whose values and behavior are no different from non-believers is of no concern to the devil. God’s loving discipline awaits those whose love has grown cold, whom the Spirit is calling back to their first love…Jesus Christ. Better to battle demons in the power of the Holy Spirit than to be on the sidelines of faith, a frustrated and unfulfilled spiritual spectator. Fools recognize the right way to live but still choose the wrong ways. Like Jesus, follow the Spirit into solitude, and He will spiritually sustain you. And as the Word of God becomes real in your intense temptations, the devil will depart defeated.
Charles Spurgeon, with clarifying truth, describes the temptation of Jesus in the solitude of His wilderness experience, “Jesus Christ was led away from human society into the wilderness, and was tempted of the devil. Solitude has its charms and its benefits, and may be useful in checking the lust of the eye and the pride of life; but the devil will follow us into the most lovely retreats. Do not suppose that it is only the worldly-minded who have dreadful thoughts and blasphemous temptations, for even spiritual-minded persons endure the same; and in the holiest position we may suffer the darkest temptation. The utmost consecration of spirit will not insure you against Satanic temptation. Christ was consecrated through and through. It was his meat and drink to do the will of him that sent him: and yet he was tempted!” Increased intimacy with God intensifies temptations…but the power of the Holy Spirit and God’s Word deepens intimate love.
“For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin” (Hebrews 4:15, NKJV).
Heavenly Father, lead me away from temptation, but when tempted, bring to my mind and heart the truth of your word…through Christ’s love, and in Jesus’ name, amen.
When tempted, speak out loud Scripture… Away with you, Satan! For it is written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God, and Him only you shall serve.’ Then the devil left Him, and behold, angels came and ministered to Him” (Matthew 4:10-11).
Psalm 78:41; 1 Corinthians 10:9; Galatians 6:1; Hebrew 2:18
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