1 Then Jesus left the Jordan, full of the Holy Spirit, and was led by the Spirit in the wilderness 2 for forty days to be tempted by the devil. He ate nothing during those days, and when they were over, he was hungry. 3 The devil said to him, “If you are the Son of God, tell this stone to become bread.” 4 But Jesus answered him, “It is written: Man must not live on bread alone.” 5 So he took him up and showed him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time. 6 The devil said to him, “I will give you their splendor and all this authority, because it has been given over to me, and I can give it to anyone I want. 7 If you, then, will worship me, all will be yours.” 8 And Jesus answered him, “It is written: Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.” 9 So he took him to Jerusalem, had him stand on the pinnacle of the temple, and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down from here. 10 For it is written: He will give his angels orders concerning you, to protect you, 11 and they will support you with their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.” 12 And Jesus answered him, “It is said: Do not test the Lord your God.” 13 After the devil had finished every temptation, he departed from him for a time.
This was an epic confrontation. Imagine being subjected to constant temptation for forty days by the will of God Himself. Most of us would fold up like a cheap tent. Jesus, the Son of God, was up against powerful Satan, several times referred to as “the ruler of this world” (see John 12:31).
But Jesus was filled with the Holy Spirit, so He was not alone. Time and again the devil craftily assaulted Him from a different direction, but Jesus knew and used scripture every time to deflect the attacks and remain strong. Each time, “It is written” was a solid response, the clear and unbending rules of our faith, the Word of God.
The devil is tricky. When he said, “If you are the Son of God” instead of saying, “Since you are the Son of God,” it was his sly attempt to get Jesus to prove who He was. Satan even tried to use scripture to catch Jesus off balance, claiming that if Jesus threw Himself off the pinnacle of the temple, angels would run to the rescue. Jesus did not argue with the scripture, just the application. He responded with “Do not test the Lord your God.”
Jesus relied on the Holy Spirit for the strength to face impossible challenges. That same power is available to us today simply by asking, and it should be the starting point for all our battles.
We may not feel we are speaking directly with the devil, but we too are constantly being tested by him. While we may not be worshiping another god, our obsessions and possessions can steal our hearts and create distance between us and God. Knowledge is power, so we must diligently feed our bodies and minds with more than just bread to stay strong. We must devour scripture and other positive materials that guide our life to build and sustain our faith. When you are facing your next temptation, see if you can come up with an “It is written” verse to address it.
Questions to Ask Yourself
- What am I doing to grow and feed my faith? What else should I be doing?
- Do I test God or try to negotiate with Him?
- Is something I enjoy growing too big, to the point where I am losing perspective?
Pray for Kevin, a global worker in our church family living in Southeast Asia. Pray for community, for endurance, and for those he walks with to be receptive to the truth of the gospel. Pray for Kevin’s health and spiritual encouragement from the Lord.