The first temptation of Jesus Christ by satan in the desert tried to exploit his desperate physical need for food. The second aimed at exploiting his wholehearted belief in God’s word. The third tried to manipulate His vision of the emancipation of humanity. This systematically sequenced assault on Jesus reflects satan’s all-time effective strategy of exploiting your vulnerabilities to gain control over your life. Read all of that here as an introduction to today’s post.
Let me now introduce you to the first 2 of the 4 major weapons that Jesus used to overcome satan’s first temptation.
#1. The Word of God
In the first temptation, Jesus overcame Satan because He was abundantly filled with God’s word. In that first onslaught, as the enemy attempted to exploit His hunger, Jesus let Him know He wasn’t going to let His physical needs blind Him to the spiritual provisions of God.
Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’” ~
In order to defeat the devil’s efforts to use your needs against you, you must be versed in God’s word; all of it, not just the rosy rosy ones.
For instance, God has promised not to withhold any good thing from you:
"The lions may grow weak and hungry, but those who seek the LORD lack no good thing."
What an awesome and beautiful promise. Please pause for a while and reflect on that promise; make it yours.
However, if this is all the Scripture you know, then the devil will mess you up. You must also know that the Lord wants you to be patient in affliction.
"Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer."
Come to terms with God’s truth that in this world you will have troubles, but that the He has overcome. You need to know that many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivers him from them all.
God has promised not to withhold any good thing from you. One of those good things, however, is the strength to endure adversities, and the joy to outlast storms; so, go for it, because it was the second weapon that Jesus used to overcome satan’s first temptation.
According to the bible, if you faint in the day of adversity, it’s not because of the adversity, but rather because your strength is small.
"If you falter in times of trouble, how small is your strength!"
So, rather than wishfully thinking that adversity won’t happen to you, develop the strength to prevail.
Jesus Christ fasted for forty days and forty nights. Notice in the verse below that it didn’t say He prayed. Of course, I believe and imagine that He prayed; but the bible’s silence on that is quite significant – and even critical to Jesus victory over the devil.
"Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the desert to be tempted by the devil. After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry."
You see, fasting builds up endurance. Fasting is a deliberate decision to go without the basic necessities of life for a season, and for a reason. You are a champion, not a wimp; and if you can’t go without food for 12 hours, how do you expect to withstand the onslaught of the enemy.
The practice of fasting must not be restricted to food and water. It should extend to every dimension of human need. For instance, just as you could fast from food and water, you could also fast from human company and affection. You could fast from cash. Through the mystery of fasting, you learn to endure the lack of those things you desperately need. If you begin to feel as though you cannot do without a particular so-called necessity of life, make the deliberate decision to fast from that thing!
Do not allow hunger or lack to destroy your destiny. Do not be a wimp like Esau. He couldn’t endure hunger; so he sold his destiny for a bowl of food. Learn to endure hardship like a good soldier. Develop your capacity to endure, rather than being a crybaby.
In tomorrow’s post, I’ll continue with Jesus’ third weapon against satan’s first temptation:
Meanwhile, share your thoughts and questions so far, if you have any, in the comment section below.
God bless you.