I believe one of the most exciting things about God’s Word is that we can use it! Our Bibles need not take up residence on the floorboards of our car from one Sunday to the next. God’s Word is powerful, everlasting, and limitless, and He instructs us to study the Word so we can be thoroughly equipped to handle any situation that comes our way. Jesus is the most powerful example in Scripture of someone actively using the Word of God. We see His strategic use of Scripture in Luke 4:1-14.
Like Jesus, we must be ready and willing to use God’s Word in every area of our lives but especially in combating the lies of the enemy. Jesus knew the Word in context and was able to spoil the Devil’s scheme to replace truth with deception. Notice three interesting concepts in this passage: the timing of temptation, the techniques of temptation, and the tools used to triumph over temptation.
The timing of Jesus’ temptation was crucial. Satan tempted Jesus when He was most vulnerable, waiting until He was weak from hunger. Satan attacked Jesus when the desires of His flesh had the opportunity to overcome the desires of His Spirit! While His hunger made Him vulnerable to Satan’s attack, it also made Him powerful. During this period of fasting He was free from the distraction of food and could focus completely on combating the enemy with the truth of God’s Word. What Satan intended for evil, God used for good!
The techniques of temptation used by Satan should make us sit up and take notice. Satan tempted Jesus by taking God’s Word out of context. The enemy knows Scripture and is able to twist the Word in a complex way. This is why it is vital that we study and understand the whole of Scripture in context rather than just memorizing our favorite verses now and then. Satan used Scripture to appeal to Jesus’ fleshly desires: His desire for food (Luke 4:3), His desire for power (Luke 4:6-7), and His desire to prove Himself (Luke 4:9). Satan’s tactics have not changed in over 2000 years, and he appeals to our flesh as well when he tempts us.
The tools Jesus utilized to overcome temptation included speaking God’s Word and the power of the Holy Spirit. Remember that Jesus did not speak the truth of Scripture to the Devil only one time. Jesus rebuked the enemy three times before he left Him. We should not think we will immediately overcome temptation either.
I love Beth Moore’s notion that God puts us through spiritual battles so He can teach us to fight.1 Spiritual warfare is a divine process that strengthens our resolve and our faith. In order to prepare for the battle, we need to be feasting on the Word so we are armed with holy ammunition!
The first and last verse of this passage demonstrates the importance of a Spirit-filled life. Jesus was led by the Holy Spirit into the wilderness and after Satan departed He returned to Galilee still full of the Holy Spirit’s power. We must always rely on the power of the Holy Spirit’s leading in our lives, even when He escorts us into battle with the fiercest enemy we will ever encounter. Rejoice with me today that the Word of God is an unlimited reserve of everlasting truth and yields powerful results when applied to our lives.
Some questions to ponder:
- Do I stand strong or fall into temptation when the enemy appeals to my fleshly desires?
- Did I study God’s Word today to equip myself with holy ammunition?
- Am I proclaiming the truth of Scripture to the enemy when he lies to me?
1. Beth Moore, Esther: It’s Tough Being a Woman (Nashville, TN: Lifeway Press, 2008), 188.