Winning The Battle
Luke 4:1-4, “Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led around by the Spirit in the wilderness for forty days being tempted by the devil. And He ate nothing during those days, and when they had ended, He became hungry. And the devil said to Him, ‘If You are the Son of God tell this stone to become bread.’ And Jesus answered him, ‘It is written, Man shall not live on bread alone.’ ”
Temptation is relentless. For forty days the devil bombarded Jesus. Imagine! 40 days without a break. Not one moment of reprieve or rest. 6 weeks of unending pressure to compromise. Hour after hour the devil pushed and pulled in an effort to move Jesus into sin. Temptation is determined. Persistent. Unyielding. Temptation refuses to take “no” for an answer. In verse 13 of the same chapter we read that the devil did not stop until every temptation had been finished. And even then, the devil only left temporarily. Temptation would regroup and return at a later point in time. We should not be surprised at either the severity or the duration of temptation’s attacks. If temptation cannot overwhelm us, it will seek to wear us down. For us the hope is found in 1 Corinthians 10. “…God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it.” Temptation may be relentless but our God is faithful. He will never allow the enemy to tempt you beyond the breaking point.
Temptation thrives in isolation. The devil didn’t attack while Jesus was standing waist-deep in the Jordan river. Temptation waited until He was completely alone, no longer surrounded by the crowds of people or faithful friends who might lend a helping hand. True, temptation can attack anywhere and at anytime. Even the walls of the church fail to provide sanctuary. But I have learned from both personal experience and 20 years of ministry that the person who lives in isolation and independence makes themselves an easy target. There is increased safety in numbers. Regular fellowship helps serve as a refuge. The willingness to be honest and transparent with a handful of close friends grants great strength. But most important of all, we must remember that we are never alone. God is with us. Always. Victory comes to the one who has learned to live in daily, intimate fellowship with Jesus.
Temptation attacks during times of weakness. The Bible says that after 40 days of fasting Jesus became hungry. At the moment when His hunger had reached it’s pinnacle and His natural strength had reached it’s lowest the devil moved in for the knock out. Too many people are trying to fight temptation on an empty stomach. We neglect and ignore His word for days and weeks at a time and then we wonder why we have no strength to stand. It is a natural law. What you starve eventually loses strength. In addition, too many people are trying to fight temptation without proper rest. The hustle and bustle of this current culture leaves us drained both physically and spiritually. We are fortunate if we are able to squeeze in a few minutes of devotional time in the morning before we dash out the door. We are so busy that we seldom find the time to rest in Him. Weary and tired, we are unable to stand. Rest in the Lord. It will renew your strength and revitalize your life.