By James Washington
Whenever we come to Satan in biblical study, it pretty much occupies a lot of my attention. I’m always encouraged to know that God’s plan is pretty precise and fairly obvious to those who are looking for His Word. Still, when reading Matthew 4:1-11, it resonates with me the power wielded by Satan on display, regarding the three temptations directed at Jesus at the end of His 40 days of fasting in the desert. When the devil offers Christ ‘all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor,’ I continue to be shocked at the ability the devil has to tempt each and every one of us, as we operate on what is essentially his turf.
Remember Lucifer hung out with the Lord in heaven. They were roadies for a while until Lucifer got the big head and was banished to this physical realm, a story for another day. Now when Christ rebuked him a third time in the desert, scripture says, “Then the devil left Him and angels came and attended Him.” So once Christ withstood the temptations God delivered unto Him all that Satan had offered and more. You see it was Jesus’ birthright from before the beginning of time.
My point is the devil probably knows the bible better than we do. He understands what tempts us because he has firsthand knowledge of what pleases God. I’m guessing I am probably a much easier target than Jesus Christ and ruination for me won’t necessarily take the promise of all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. But since I am made in the image of God, perhaps all I need do is recognize that the gift of grace is mine upon recognition; recognition that the war is over. Christ won and therefore I did also. I should be in a position to see the devil coming and as such, withstand for the moment, the need to have my wants and desires satisfied by sacrificing the integrity of my soul for immediate gratification.
I understand there is a difference between temptation to sin and a test of faith. Once Jesus answered each on of Satan’s successive temptations, with Matthew 4:4 “It is written: Man does not live by bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord;” Matthew 4:7 “It is written: “Do not put the Lord your God to the test,” Matthew 4:10 “Away from me Satan! For it is written, “Worship the Lord your God and Him only.” It was then that the devil left and the angels came. Our key then to getting on the right side of temptation is walking in the Word consciously enough to understand tat refusing the devil is a guarantee of getting all that you of I desire and all that we need in this life. It’s also our birthright.
What we must overcome however, is our ignorance about just how cunning the devil is at blinding us to the reality that he is the source of most things and people that tempt us. The solution is still pretty simple. When in doubt call on the name of the Lord and eventually Satan will be replaced with angels ready to also attend to you as Jesus has said, “Seek ye first the kingdom and whatever it is that you desire, you will have and more…”
May God Bless and Keep You Always