If you follow Jesus, there's a good chance you face temptation. I suspect that sometimes you flee temptation and sometimes you fall to it. At times it feels like war. . . because it is. Just beyond what we see in our physical world, there is a raging war all around us. Satan is prowling around like a lion, looking for someone to devour. The effects are felt. The effects are seen. It is difficult to deny. But fear not! Jesus has crushed the head of the snake, that is, Satan. He's already lost, but he's lashing out on his way down in defeat.
Before Jesus went to the cross, he and Satan and a showdown. We see it play out in battles throughout the Bible. In Matthew 4:1-11, Luke 4:1-13, and Mark 1:12-13, we read about a time when the Holy Spirit led Jesus out into the desert to be tempted. Yes, you read that correctly--the Holy Spirit who just descended upon Jesus at his baptism was now leading him to face off with the devil.
This Sunday, we will look at the five ways Satan tried to temp Jesus and what Jesus did to remain victorious.
The bad news is Satan comes after us in the same way. And don't think that because you are a Christian you are free from Satan messing with you. In Luke 22:31-32, Jesus told Peter that "Satan demanded to have [Peter], that he might sift [Peter] like wheat" and Jesus responded, "but I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned again, strengthen your brothers." Yikes! Jesus didn't keep Satan from "sifting" Peter.
The good news is two-fold. First, Satan is an uncreative wiener and tries to use the same tricks over an over again. Second, we can have victory like Jesus did by using the same methods he used--the Word of God. We can trust in the promise of James 4:7 that says, "Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you."
I hope to see you Sunday!
Pastor Bryan Catherman