June 18

Jesus and the Devil

Matthew 4:1–11

Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. Matthew 4:1

From the temptations of Jesus and how he overcame them, there is direct application for our lives when we are tempted and must stand against Satan’s wiles. Let me summarize by three statements.

1. We face the same battle. The devil is not omnipresent as God is. Satan cannot be everywhere tempting everyone at all times. He has probably never tempted you directly. But this does not mean we do not face spiritual battles every day. We do. Paul wrote about these battles in his letter to the Ephesians, saying, “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places” (Eph. 6:12). These battles are so fierce that Paul warned us to be ready for them by arming ourselves with God’s armor. We must be fully equipped for the struggle.

2. We have the same choice. As Jesus did, we have the choice of trusting God and sticking to the path he sets before us or distrusting God and seeking to win victories for God or ourselves in the world’s way. What will it be? Will we go God’s way? Or will we follow the world, the flesh, or the devil? Joshua challenged the people of his generation, saying, “Choose this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your fathers served in the region beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord” (Josh. 24:15).

3. We can have the same victory. The Bible says, “No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it” (1 Cor. 10:13). What is that path to victory? The temptation of our Lord points the way: “It is written! . . . It is written! . . . It is written!” As Paul told the Ephesians, the only offensive weapon we have is “the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God” (Eph. 6:17).

Remember Christ’s example. Here is Jesus—the holy Son of the almighty God, the one in whom neither Satan nor man could find any wrong or gain even the tiniest foothold. Jesus’s eyes were always on the glory of his Father. He lived in the closest possible communion with him. But if Jesus, your Lord and Savior, needed to know Scripture in order to resist Satan and win the victory over him, how much more do you and I need it to win a corresponding victory!

Come to the Waters: Daily Bible Devotions for Spiritual Refreshment by James Montgomery Boice

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