It would be very important to understand that as soon as one acknowledges publicly that they belong to Jesus, and they begin to be obedient to God’s Word, the battle begins. Because Christians have made the decision to reject the things of this world for the things of God, the Prince of this world (Satan) wants to defeat Christians in the Christian life. “8. Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: 9. Whom resist stedfast in the faith …” (1 Peter 5:8-9a). Adversary means “enemy; it is applied to the devil, the adversary of man and accuser of Christians.” Remember Job: Satan stood before God’s throne, accused Job, and proceeded to attack him. But only with God’s permission (see Job 1:6-12 and 2:1-7). We must watch out because Satan desires to “devour” Christians. He wants to destroy each Christian life and that witness for Jesus. Understand that God knows when Satan comes against Christians, and God wants to help us to be strong – defeating Satan’s temptations. If you recall, Satan tempted Jesus immediately after Jesus was publicly declared as God’s Son.
In that wilderness, Jesus was tempted in three particular areas by Satan. Later, John wrote a verse where these three areas are clearly mentioned. “15. Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world” (1 John 2:15-16). Notice the three areas of temptation: the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life. Keep these thoughts in mind as we read the events of Satan tempting Jesus in the wilderness.
Remember: Jesus had been in the wilderness for forty days and nights with no food. “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” (Matthew 4:3-4). God had just declared with an audible voice to all that Jesus was His Son. Nevertheless, the first thing Satan said to Jesus was a challenge of that very fact: “If thou be the Son of God.” Once a person trusts in Jesus, becoming a Christian, one of the first things Satan wants to do is to cause that new Believer to doubt their very salvation – that they are truly a child of God – and to doubt the Word of God. However, did you notice Jesus’ defense? “It is written.” Jesus quoted the Bible. Did you notice the temptation Satan presented to Jesus? Food! Recognize that Jesus defeated this temptation from the devil by quoting God’s Word. Just as God’s Word says, “… that man doth not live by bread only, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of the LORD doth man live” (Deuteronomy 8:3). Jesus understood that God’s Word was more important than earthly food. Even today, we are to use God’s Word as our defense. Notice this was a temptation of “the lust of the flesh” (stones to bread). Remember 1 John 2:15-16.
The second temptation was recorded in Matthew 4:5-7: “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.” Jesus again quoted God’s Word as a defense against Satan’s attacks. “Ye shall not tempt the LORD your God …” (Deuteronomy 6:16a). Notice this was a temptation of “the pride of life” (to jump from the pinnacle of the temple). Remember 1 John 2:15-16.
The third temptation was recorded Matthew 4:8-11: “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.” Jesus quoted God’s Word as a defense against Satan’s attacks – again. “Thou shalt fear the LORD thy God, and serve him …” (Deuteronomy 6:13). Notice this was a temptation of “the lust of the eyes” (the kingdoms of the world and the glory of them). Remember 1 John 2:15-16.
The following verses help us understand why Jesus had to be tempted and be victorious in those temptations. “For in that he himself hath suffered being tempted, he is able to succour them that are tempted” (Hebrews 2:18). Also, see the following verse. “15. For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. 16. Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need” (Hebrews 4:15-16). Jesus understands what it is like to endure temptation, and He can be an encouragement to all Christians today. Jesus will help us.
Have you hidden God’s Word in your heart to use as a defense against temptations?