Matthew 4

Matthew 4 gives us another perspective on Jesus temptation in the wilderness.  Jesus was led there and fasted for forty days and forty nights.  Scripture tells us “he was hungry” and then “the tempter came”.  Great clue as to what we should expect from the enemy – he knows our circumstances and will be right there to take advantage of them any way he can.  The enemy is not living in some cave without knowledge of the things we are susceptible to.  He pays close attention to the things that we may fall prey to.  In Jesus’ case, it was His hunger after a very long fast.  The first temptation was to turn “stones to become loaves of bread”.  That actually makes sense doesn’t it – after all – been 40 days without any food.  But Jesus response is critical for us to pay close attention to – as it gives us one of the key ways we must deal with temptation.  Jesus responds and says “man shall not live by bread alone, but by every Word that comes from the mouth of God”.  Our ability to deal with temptation cannot come only from within – will power won’t cut it.  If we intend to overcome evil then we have to know God’s Word.  It has to be part of us.  It is our main way to deal with the temptations of the enemy.  The devil makes a couple more attempts to trip Jesus up.  He asks Him to “throw yourself down” and let the angels catch him.  Then the devil took Jesus up on “a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms” and offered to give them all to Jesus. 

Three attempts to get Jesus to fall – and each time the response was “it is written”.  Jesus knew scripture and it was the main defense.  After saying no to the temptations three times, Jesus shows us another way of dealing with the enemy when He says “be gone, Satan”.  We have to claim the power of God to deal with the enemy and rebuke him.  Jesus successfully dealt with temptation and we need to use the exact same tactics to deal with the enemy in our own lives.  After the 40 days in the wilderness Jesus begins His public ministry.  Matthew here recounts the calling of the first disciples and we see that word “immediately again” – although not as many times as we did earlier.  But the response to His call to “follow me” was immediate.  The fishermen He touched left what they were doing and took off to follow Him.  We tend to get paralyzed by analysis sometimes in our lives today.  When we get God’s nudge or see His truth – rather than just respond and do what He asks or leads – we want to think through it and see if it makes sense.  When God moves us – it always makes sense.  We have to learn not to second guess His leading – but to just obey Him.  We have to become responsive to His call.  We can be victorious over temptation.  We have the Word to use as our sword in dealing with the devil, and the Holy Spirit living in our heart to put the enemy in his place.  The real challenge is making that our goal and living that way – having God’s Word in our heart and at our fingertips so we can respond quickly when temptation comes our way.  The longer we allow temptation to hang around without dismissing it, the higher the chance that we will give in and fall to it.  Are you in God’s Word and getting your skills ready to handle the battle?

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