“But He answered and said, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.’ ”
Jesus said to him, “It is written again, ‘You shall not tempt the LORD your God.’ ”
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.’ ””
Matthew 4:4, 7, 10 NKJV
Temptation is like water: it comes at us and envelopes us, looking for an opening. The evil one knows the nature of our flesh, and goes about seeking to exploit our weaknesses. Eve learned this the hard way in the garden, as the serpent appealed to her with a threefold assault.
“So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree desirable to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate. She also gave to her husband with her, and he ate.”
Genesis 3:6 NKJV
I have found that the devil has no new tricks. He has mastered the ones that he has and makes use them since his time began. All through the bible, I see how he has duped many men and women into giving into the temptation of the flesh. When I look at my own life, I remember all the times that I have fallen for the same old trick, and had the same old outcome. In the aftermath of the fall, I feel shame, and wonder how I could have fallen yet again.
“For all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not of the Father but is of the world.”
I John 2:16 NKJV
We humans are wired with weakness in our flesh, as we have a tendency to worship the god of self. So much of what we do is to feed the “me”, and receive the pleasure we feel we deserve. We will go to any length, hurdle any obstacle, and even hurt the ones we love to get that buzz. So many lives have been made shipwreck, in the pursuit of what we want.
In my reading this morning, I came upon the passage in Matthew chapter four, where the Lord Jesus encounters the devil in the wilderness. He goes into his routine and appeals to all the same areas of weakness. Instead of a fall, the devil fails miserably because he is not dealing with a mere mortal, but the Word made flesh.
Brothers and sisters, we can take much from this passage, as we go through our day to day lives facing many temptations from the evil one. I sense that the devil has redoubled his efforts in these the last days, as I have seen many believers stray from the faith, and seek after other gods. I have seen many eat of the fruit of politics, the fruit of division, and receive the consequence of their sin. Many of us are not able to endure in time of trouble. More trouble is on the way.
Let us remember the example set by Jesus, as He went to the word of God for His victory. In those three moments of temptation, He demonstrated how to put on the full armor of God. Once He defeated temptation of the evil one, for a season, He then went about His ministry.
“Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God; praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints—”
Ephesians 6:14-18 NKJV
We must always remember that the devil may leave us alone for a period of time, but he will often come back when we least expect it. He again tempted Jesus in the garden of Gethsemane, but through prayer he was defeated, and Jesus went to the cross to pay for our sins. I do believe the evil one seeks to distract us with sin, as he brings temptations into our lives. It is important to set a guard over our hearts in these times, as much is to be done and many to be led to Christ.
Believers, take the time today to seek the Lord with deliberate effort, purposefully removing anything from our lives that can lead us off the path God has set before us. We are in perilous times, and we must be about the Father’s business. Time is running out and souls are at stake.
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