The greatest trick the devil ever played was to convince people he does not exist. If we go about our lives unaware that there is an enemy seeking to separate us from God and others, really seeking to destroy us, we will be much more vulnerable to be defeated. This is a simple concept, but just as true for spiritual warfare as for conventional warfare. You must recognize there is a battle, then acknowledge and understand who the enemy is, in order to achieve victory.
We have some very good scriptural records of how to defend ourselves, if we only review them and learn from them. Who better to learn from than Jesus Himself?
The Temptation of Jesus
1Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led around by the Spirit in the wilderness 2for forty days, being tempted by the devil. And He ate nothing during those days, and when they had ended, He became hungry. 3And the devil said to Him, “If You are the Son of God, tell this stone to become bread.” 4And Jesus answered him, “It is written, ‘MAN SHALL NOT LIVE ON BREAD ALONE.’”
5And he led Him up and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time. 6And the devil said to Him, “I will give You all this domain and its glory; for it has been handed over to me, and I give it to whomever I wish. 7“Therefore if You worship before me, it shall all be Yours.” 8Jesus answered him, “It is written, ‘YOU SHALL WORSHIP THE LORD YOUR GOD AND SERVE HIM ONLY.’”
9And he led Him to Jerusalem and had Him stand on the pinnacle of the temple, and said to Him, “If You are the Son of God, throw Yourself down from here;
10for it is written,
‘HE WILL COMMAND HIS ANGELS CONCERNING YOU TO GUARD YOU,’
‘ON their HANDS THEY WILL BEAR YOU UP,
SO THAT YOU WILL NOT STRIKE YOUR FOOT AGAINST A STONE.’”
12And Jesus answered and said to him, “It is said, ‘YOU SHALL NOT PUT THE LORD YOUR GOD TO THE TEST.’”
13When the devil had finished every temptation, he left Him until an opportune time.
Jesus did not flee the devil. He resisted the devil. At the very beginning we see perhaps the most important first step took place before this scripture begins… He was full of the Holy Spirit. We do well to seek the Lord and serve Him and be filled with the Spirit before the attack begins. This sets us up for success, while also putting us in right standing with the Lord. Jesus was not only full of the Spirit, but He was allowing Himself to be led by Spirit.
The devil came to Him when Jesus was weak and alone (except for the Spirit, who never leaves us while we remain in fellowship with the Lord). Once Jesus is hungry, the devil uses the physical need to tempt Him. He brings into question if Jesus is the son of God, as if to challenge Him or dare Him to prove it. Jesus shows us we need not “prove” anything to the devil. We need not take His advice to satisfy our physical needs. Jesus instead replies with the “sword of the spirit”, the Word of God. Jesus already studied and knew the scriptures, before the encounter with the devil began. He was prepared.
For the second temptation, the devil offers Jesus the kingdoms of the world. Jesus already knows He will get these anyway, but essentially the devil offers Him a shortcut, where He would not need to go through physical death and suffering on the cross first. Jesus accepts God’s path for His life, though it is harder than the easy path the devil offers. Again, understanding of scripture in advance of encountering the devil points the way to victory… worship none but the Lord.
For the third challenge, the devil again challenges Jesus as if to prove He is the son of God and to prove that God will do what He promises. Jesus is not having any of it. Again, knowledge of the scripture points the way. Do not put the Lord to the test.
Note, even as the devil leaves, however… that he will return.
Let us follow in Christ’s example. Acknowledge there is a spiritual battle and an enemy. Study the tactics of the enemy and how Christ defeats Him. Build our relationship with the Lord now and ask for the Spirit to fill us and guide us. Study scripture. Do all this before the devil confronts you.
To learn more about spiritual warfare, read our article on Spiritual Warfare.
Have you submitted your life to Jesus Christ? Are you living today filled with the peace and joy of truly knowing and following Jesus Christ? Learn more about salvation through The Message of the Cross.