I’ve seen the picture of Jesus walking in the desert weakened from hunger being approached by Satan, in my mind’s eye many times. Sometimes the image is that of a perfectly groomed Jesus untouched by the elements. Other times it’s that of a chapped lipped Jesus weak from the lack of food and water He could hardly sit up. What I never seem to envision is Jesus armed for battle.
Satan must have thought Jesus was vulnerable due to his weakened physical state. After all, he was fully man (as well as God, so perhaps Jesus would be open to his suggestions? He attempted three times to get Jesus to act independently of the Father’s will. He tempted Jesus to act without waiting on God’s provision, to test the Father by placing himself in danger, and to rule the world as King of Kings without going to the cross. Jesus defeated each temptation with the word of God.
In verse 8, “…the devil took him [Jesus] to the peak of a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. 9 “I will give it all to you,” he said, “if you will kneel down and worship me.”10 “Get out of here, Satan,” Jesus told him. “For the Scriptures say, ‘You must worship the Lord your God and serve only him.’”
It brings me great comfort to know that because our Lord suffered temptation, He understands our struggle. He understands, and He has shown us how to battle against it. He has armed us with His Word, being able to say “For the Scripture says…..” is key to being armed for an attack. Soldiers learn to use their weapon by practicing with it. The more they use it, the better they are yielding it.
We all have areas that leave us exposed to attack. For me trusting God as my sole provider is a vulnerable area. I don’t need special visions, I’ve found a small whisper of doubt can be very effective. If I’m not on guard, I’m prone to worry. That worry leads to decisions from my reasoning rather than going to prayer or seeking wise counsel. When armed for battle I remind myself the Lord is where my help comes from as He watches over my life (Psalm 121). I’m not to worry about food or clothing because God will care for me (Matthew 6:25-34). God is with me wherever I go; I don’t have to lose heart or take matters into my own hands (Joshua 1:9). I’d love to say I have mastered the art of slaying temptation through years of practice. I’m a soldier still in training, learning from the Master.