If you don’t know yet, once you become a Christian, life becomes a battlefield.
Our enemy—Satan—is not some mystical principle that exists in our thought life. He is a real and brilliant enemy who desires to keep us believers out of sync with God’s love and plan for our lives.
Temptations and the testing of our faith are not from some impersonal force. Satan is a living force, one bent on compromising our use for God’s glory on Earth.
Jesus also faced this enemy of ours. When He was confronted by the lies of the evil one, I believe he laid out some important truths for us to live by.
Let’s look at the temptations of Jesus in Matthew 4. But first, we must look to the end of chapter 3 to see the foundation of Jesus’ attitude during this time of conflict.
"And a voice from heaven said, 'This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.'" -Matthew 3:17
After 40 days without food, Jesus’ strength was very low. Satan came to Jesus and asked Him to live up to His “billing” as God’s Son. He tried to provoke Jesus over and over with one little word: "If.”
"The tempter came to him and said, 'If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.'" -Matthew 4:3
Today this probably would look like this: “You have the position, money, contacts, and influence. Take care of your needs. You are entitled to get out of your pain.”
When Satan tempted Jesus, He first invited Jesus to prove His power and influence as the Son of God.
Why doesn’t Jesus take the bait? Because at the start of this 40 days in the wilderness, God the Father told Jesus two things:
1. Jesus is God's Son.
2. God is well pleased with Him.
And Jesus believed the Father. So, instead, Jesus responds this way:
"Jesus answered, 'It is written: "Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God."'" -Matthew 4:4
Jesus didn’t need to show off His power to Satan or the world. The Father had already told Him that He was His beloved Son, and Jesus trusted the word of His Father.
Unfortunately, we often bite the hook of Satan’s trap—wanting to prove to our peers that we are something unique or special. Instead of believing what our Father says—that we are the children of the living God—we listen to the world.
We need to believe what God says in His Word and not our own performance. God gives us power, not to rule or lord over people, but to serve in humility because we are sons and daughters of the royal family.
Jesus trusted the words of the Father and the word of Scripture, not whether He could use His power to prove them true and meet a personal need.
Are you living in accordance with who God says you are without trying to prove it with material blessings?
It is so easy to trust in ourselves, our assets, or our net worth. We continue to prove ourselves to others through our performance instead of resting in God’s Word.
You are His beloved son or daughter.
My Father, who calls me His beloved, will meet my needs in His own way and in His own time. Remember, Jesus had the power to turn the water into wine. And I have no doubt He could have turned the rocks into bread for Himself, but He didn’t.
He knew the Father would meet his every need.
"'My food,' said Jesus, 'is to do the will of him who sent me and to finish his work.'" -John 4:34
Face the battlefield of life with the same confidence in the Father that Jesus modeled in Scripture.
John's travels for ministry behind the Iron Curtain led him to found East-West Ministries International in 1993. John and his wife, Susie, live in Dallas, Texas and have a grown daughter and two grandchildren.