Everyone has struggles in life. Sometimes it's financial, sometimes its physical or emotional, sometimes it's spiritual. Whatever your struggles may be, life can seriously be tough. Jesus said plainly that we would have trouble in this world. (John 16:33). Jesus also made a incredible statement in that exact passage. He said, "take heart, I've overcome this world." We have talked about this before in previous blogs, but I really feel led to discuss it again on more of a personal level. I have been through hell and back in life. Everything from life threatening illness to drugs to abuse. You name it, I've most likely endured it. Often, people try to blame God for their misfortune. People have the tendency to run away from God when trouble comes, when they should be running towards Him. I've learned through many years of trials and tribulations, running away from God is the worst thing anyone can do. Sure, things might seem better for a while, Satan will make sure of that if he can. Satan doesn't care if you have more money than you can possibly imagine. As a matter of fact, he would prefer you be rich in finances, just as long as it keeps your focus off of Christ.
We have a tendency to assume that Satan wants us to struggle in life. Don't get me wrong, he certainly wants us to suffer, just not here. Satan knows that if we are peeking physically and financially, even emotionally, we still can suffer spiritually. In other words, he will assist in making sure you have what you need for a stress free environment in life, as long as you keep your eyes off of Christ. Never forget, Satan is first and foremost known as the deceiver. He will use whatever tools he has in his arsenal to keep your focus anywhere but on God and His Word. This is why he used the only power he has when he tempted Jesus. He used temporal things to try to tempt Jesus. Why? It's simple, it's all he has to offer. He doesn't have anything eternal to offer that's worthwhile whatsoever. Let's take a look how Jesus handled His encounter with satan in the desert..
Matthew 4:1-11 (KJV) 4 Then was Jesus led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil.
2 And when he had fasted forty days and forty nights, he was afterward an hungred.
3 And when the tempter came to him, he said, If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread.
4 But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.
5 Then the devil taketh him up into the holy city, and setteth him on a pinnacle of the temple,
6 And saith unto him, If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down: for it is written, He shall give his angels charge concerning thee: and in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone.
7 Jesus said unto him, It is written again, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God.
8 Again, the devil taketh him up into an exceeding high mountain, and sheweth him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them;
9 And saith unto him, All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me.
10 Then saith Jesus unto him, Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.
11 Then the devil leaveth him, and, behold, angels came and ministered unto him.
You'll notice the first temptation satan uses against Jesus, is food. He saw that Jesus had been fasting and he knew that Jesus was physically weak and hungry. You gotta admit, as low as it was to tempt a man with food when His physical body is severely hungry, is low, but a valid attempt on satans part. But, our Lord Jesus knew better than to simply oblige and turn the stones into bread. You'll also notice that satan said, "IF.. your the son of God.." Years ago I was studying this passage and this jumped off the pages to me. The reason satan said , "IF..." is because he had no idea of Jesus really was the Messiah. It had been rumored for years that a man would come to redeem the world of sin. For years, the comping if the anointed one, Jesus, was prophesied long before Jesus shook the world with His arrival and birth. Satan had no idea if Jesus was the actual Messiah, or just another prophet. People often think that satan knows everything, which of course is a lie. IF, satan knew everything, he would have known who Jesus really was before he ever approached him in the desert.
Never spend too much time in hour life assuming that your adversary, the devil, has any sort of inside knowledge that could cripple you. He certainly doesn't know everything. Never has, never will. This is why satan uses deception as his primary weapon. He wants you to think that he knows your deepest thoughts. If he can convince you in believing that he truly knows everything, he knows that you will feel powerless against him. I honesty believe that you would be shocked if you ever actually met satan face to face. You would realize just how weak and pathetic he really is. He tries to paint a picture in peoples minds of himself being a all powerful force, when in reality he's so small he fits under your foot. Never give him that kind of credit. The day you surrender your authority and power over him, is the day you've lost the battle. Getting back to our story here, Jesus, of course refused to turn the stones into bread. Why did refuse? It's simple, the outward expression of the power of God was not made for temporal things that are unnecessary in life. Jesus could have turned those stones into a massive box of White Castle burgers if he desired, yet he told the devil, NO. First attempt of temptation, FAIL.
The next thing we see satan tempting Jesus with is once again, physical. He tells Jesus to throw himself off of the mountain. And if He really is the Son of God, the Lords Angels will come and catch Jesus, protecting Him. In other words, IF your the son of God, prove it. He was testing Jesus to see if he would oblige to a demonstration of proof of Jesus' connection to the Heavenly Father. Also, worth noting, is satan actually quoted Scripture here. This rat has no shame, no class, no boundaries as far as he's concerned. He noticed that Jesus quoted Scripture with the first temptation, so he figured he would quote scripture as well. Of course, Jesus refused this temptation. Jesus had nothing he had to prove to satan, and NEITHER DO YOU. In life, you'll come across people in this world, who like satan, will challenge you to prove your worth or place in life. YOU OWE THEM NOTHING. You have been made righteous because of Jesus Christ! Too attempt to prove your worth in this world, when YOU ALL READY have the heavenly fathers approval, would be ignorant and a massive waste of time and energy. So, Jesus, simply told the the devil, NO, once again.
Now, the 3rd temptation we see here is a little different than the first 2 attempts satan has made so far. The 3rd temptation was his attempt to appeal to Jesus' kingdom minded thought. Satan figured if Jesus really was the Messiah, that he would be tempted by power and authority over the earth. I have to say, I think this was probably the most idiotic attempt satan actually made out of the three temptations. Jesus, had all ready told him NO, twice. And now, satan tells him he can give him authority over the earth, just as long as he bows down and worships him? I'm honestly surprised by the stupidity of this attempt of satan. And of course, Jesus went straight to the Scripture, and said, NO. This continuation of refusal that Jesus has shown us here should be a very valuable lesson to us. The word NO, simply put a complete halt to the temptation. You can see here that Jesus, was single minded. He had all ready made up His mind before satan ever came to tempt Him, that he was ONLY about His Fathers business. He had all ready made the dedicated decision, that there is nothing in this world, worth compromising the fellowship and relationship we have with our Heavenly Father.
No sin, No temptation, is WORTH IT. People have told me in the past that they have a hard time saying, NO, to sin. The reality is, they obviously value the sin over God. If you think about it, it really is that simple. When you have decided to be a man or woman of God, you shouldn't have to think twice about temptation to sin. Sin, and the cares of this world, are the chains that had you bound for so many years until you gave your heart to the Lord. Going back to those sins, only to be chained to sin again, would simply be stupid. I know this sounds harsh, but really think about it! This is how I live. Every day, when temptation comes, I am reminded of what strings are attached to certain decisions in life. If, those strings can turn back into chains, my answer is NO. I don't care if I'm popular. I don't care if people like me or not. I don't care if I don't fit in with the crowd. I spent many years living purposely in sin. I remember the so called friends and the depression and bondage that came with it. So, NO THANK YOU.
In closing, I want you to realize that you have the choice to refuse sin and satan. Your life truly is dictated by your decisions. No one can make them for you. Sure, as brothers and sisters in Christ, we certainly can do everything we can to edify each other through accountability. But, at the end of the day, when your all alone, YOU, and only YOU can decide if your going to serve Christ or not. The reality of the return of Christ truly is evident. The signs of the times really do sign a song of progression more and more with each passing day. As you go throughout this week, please remember this.. YOU CAN SAY NO! YOU CAN CHOOSE A LIFE COMMITTED TO GODS WORD! YOU CAN DO IT! My prayer is that each and every one of you reading this realizes that you have the choice! Make it wisely, time is of essence. Until next time..
~ Pastor Ian
Reverend Ian Potter is a Spirit Filled Evangelist who preaches the Raw , Uncompromised , Gospel of Jesus Christ.