- Renée Coventry
Five Reminders From the Temptation of Christ, Luke 4:1-13
1. The Spirit will lead you into the wilderness on occasion. He did with Christ, and He did with the children of Israel. However, He leads you into it so He can lead you out in victory. Many within the Body are rebuking their wilderness experience while the Spirit has intentionally led you there. Discover that purpose and embrace this time as one in which to realize who He is in you. Don't complain; you will come out on the other side if you maintain your focus on Him.
2. Wherever the Spirit leads you, the enemy is sure to follow. Spirit-led people are a threat to the enemy. They foil his plans at every turn, so if you've submitted to the Spirit, be sure you are wearing your spiritual armor. Satan will dog you every step of the way, particularly when you're in the wilderness, feeling isolated and alone. Just remember, you're not. The Spirit didn't leave Christ alone; Jesus was filled with the Holy Spirit. One of the enemy's greatest tactics is the feeling of isolation from God and others when traversing desert places. Resist the urge to give into it.
3. The enemy will always attack your identity first. If that is surrendered, he can have a field day and effectively neutralize your destiny, and he always approaches based on "If, then." Don't allow the enemy to put you into a box. There is no "If I am a child of God, then fill-in-the-blank." No, as a child of God, you have died to yourself and are at God's disposal to use as He will in the way He chooses, which differs among His people. The common denominator among His children is that they are Spirit-filled and led, not driven by the flesh into testing God.
4. The enemy is always open to negotiation. He'll offer you anything you want if you'll only worship him. He doesn't care what your worship of him looks like, whether it takes the form of outright rebellion towards God, a healthy bank account, or good deeds, as long as you are not worshipping God in the beauty of holiness. However, be aware that he's the father of lies, and hell is a steep price to pay in eternity for temporary comforts on earth.
5. Jesus responded the first two times with, "It is written." He knew the Word of God. Satan did, too. As soon as he caught on, the enemy's third temptation provided Scriptural justification for what he was asking by repeating Christ's premise, "It is written." In Greek, these words come from "grapho," to write.
Interestingly, when the enemy does this, Jesus responds with, "It is said," the Greek word, "lego." In John, chapter one, we find that John identifies Jesus as the Word, "logos." John 1:1-3 tells us, "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being." It is at this point Jesus reminds Satan just who he is attempting to address when Jesus states, "You shall not put the Lord your God to the test" (Luke 4:12). Jesus is, in essence, saying that, "I was there at the beginning. I know how you tricked Eve, but I am God. I am the Word, and you don't get to use My words against Me. You have no legal grounds to even be initiating this temptation based on who I AM." As a child of God, while the enemy may tempt you, you have every right to pull rank. You are filled with the eternal Spirit of God, the third person of the Trinity.
I suspect Jesus had holy anger towards the enemy at this point in the enemy’s shenanigans. When we are ultimately filled with this righteous anger, we, too, can recall to mind that we are positioned in heavenly places with Christ and rebuke him. James reminds us that a submitted child of God must only resist by setting ourselves in opposition to the enemy, and he must flee. Period. End of encounter. The key is submission. Jesus was filled and wholly submitted. He would later tell His disciples in anticipation of the cross that "the ruler of the world is coming, and he has nothing in me" (John 14:30).
The Spirit-filled life is daily dying to self and refusing the enemy even a small foothold in which to work his mischief. Easier said than done – yes. But the power of God at work through a child of God is directly proportional to their willingness to submit to the Spirit. It requires holy desperation that grows until it burns out all that is not of Him, consuming our desires that are then replaced with His. The enemy is no match for a submitted child of God!