Tag Archives: Satan’s attacks

October 5 -Temptation Isn’t Fun

Matthew 4; Luke 4-5; John 1:15-51

When Jesus was in the wilderness for forty days, He wasn’t on vacation. He was out there with no food, being jerked around by Satan. Matthew and Luke share three of those temptations. Many have said they represent three things God hates: the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life. (I John) I can see the correlation.

But today, I’m wondering how Jesus’ time in the wilderness effects me. Here are my thoughts:

Forty days is a long time to be exposed to the elements without food. We aren’t sure what those forty days were like for Jesus, but I have a suspicion Satan didn’t wait until day 37 to hit Jesus with the first of only three temptations. I think Satan probably hit Jesus with everything in his arsenal the moment he realize he could. Think of it. Forty days with unrelenting attacks on your soul. And I think Satan’s hard on me.

And, I imagine, as Jesus’ physical body became weaker, Satan’s attacks intensified. Because that’s how he is with me. If my body is weary, if my heart is heavy, Satan throws me a bone. “Compromise,” he says. “Things will get better.” And I am tempted.

Satan knew Jesus was here to win kingdoms for Himself. He knew the Lord had a job to do. So Satan told Jesus, “Here is a shortcut. Bow down to me just this once and I can get you what You’re after without having to go through all the grief.” Satan knows I have a job to do, too. I am commanded to share the Gospel. Now I don’t hear Satan asking me to worship him in those words, but I certainly hear him telling me to back off a bit, tolerate other viewpoints, let a person believe what he wants to believe. I hear that voice in my head almost every day. Tempting.

Then there are those times of doubt. I am not suggesting Jesus ever doubted His Father. I think at this point, as weak as He probably was, He might have been viewing Satan like a yappy little puppy nipping at His heels. He probably wanted to kick him to the curb. But Jesus endured this ridiculous attempt by Satan to get Him to sin, because He knew Satan wasn’t going to give up on me easily, either. Satan said, “You’ve got all those angels at your disposal, prove it.” And to me He says, “You claim to have God with you, why are you suffering?” And, “Go ahead and sin a bit, you’re forgiven, right? What’s the big deal?” I begin to consider giving in to the temptation.

Jesus’ time in the wilderness with Satan wasn’t to prepare Him for ministry. He did that for me. He wanted me to know that He gets me. He wants me to come to Him when I am tempted and weak, and know that He’s been there, too. Jesus’ time in the wilderness wasn’t about Him at all. It was about me because He loves me that much. He did this so I can know Hebrews 4:15 is true:

For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are – yet without sin.

And I Corinthians 10:13:

No temptation has seized you expect what is common to man. And God is faithful; He will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, He will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.

Jesus was tempted. But He won. And He’s willing and able to give me the victory, too.

Thank You, Jesus.

 

 

August 31 – Don’t Squander The Gift

Ezekiel 16-17

The analogy in chapter 16 spoke to me today as if I read it for the first time. A baby is born, unloved, uncared for, discarded, thrown into the open field to die, abhorred. It’s a picture of a helpless one without hope.

But God came along. He saw the newborn squirming in its own blood, and said, “Live!”

That’s a picture of me. I was dying in my own filth, abhorrent to my God. But He looked at me who was without hope, and gave me hope. He gave me life. He gave me Himself.

In the analogy, God nurtures the one He saved. “Then you grew up, became tall and reached the age for fine ornaments…” (16:7) I relate to that. I have also enjoyed the benefits of growing in the Lord, of getting stronger, of becoming the woman He wants me to be, and I am blessed because of Him.

But, sadly, the analogy does not end well. That baby saved by grace, grew up to become a harlot. She used the beautiful jewels given to her by God, and made idols from them. She used the embroidered cloth, and the bread and honey, for her idols. She even became a harlot who paid her lovers instead of receiving payment for her favors. How degrading. How deplorable. How can that even happen?

I’m just reminded not to get too comfortable in my relationship with God, not to get too confident in my position as His child. I don’t want to neglect to recognize Satan’s attacks, his subtle attempt to lure me away from the One who saved me. And I never want to squander the precious gift Jesus has given me.

Ezekiel’s analogy has me wanting to protect what is mine through grace, by protecting my relationship with the One who saved me.

July 1 – The Deceiver Isn’t God

I Kings 22, 2 Chronicles 18

Micaiah’s vision has me thinking. It sounds like God allowed one of His angels to cause the prophets to lie. Does God make people sin in order to get His will done? That just doesn’t fit with God’s nature, the One who demands we be holy, the One who loved the world that He gave His Son that whoever believes in Jesus will be saved.

I don’t remember any Scripture that describes God as being the deceiver. Yet here it is: “The Lord has put a deceiving spirit in the mouth of these your prophets…”

I went to Matthew Henry to see his take on these verses. He says the spirit who volunteered to deceive Ahab was Satan himself.

So I re-read the passage and noticed that Micaiah saw the Lord on His throne, and all the hosts of heaven standing on either side of Him. Then a spirit came forward. I had assumed it was one of the heavenly hosts. But I see now it was the deceiver.

This vision reminds me of what we read about Job. Satan doesn’t make a move without God allowing it. And, if God allows Satan to make a move, God has every means to use it to show Himself, to draw people to Himself.

I need to be aware that Satan is standing out there ready to trip me up, to throw those daggers, to put a little doubt in my head. I can be assured that God will never be surprised by Satan’s attacks. And that no matter what God allows Satan to throw my way, God is able to handle it far and above what I can imagine.

I don’t want to be like those prophets I read about today, who ran with Satan’s lies. I want to be like Micaiah and stay true to the Lord. Even if the backlash is prison, or sickness, or hardship, or death.

Jan 11 – Do You Feel Safe?

Job 29-31

As I read Job’s words this morning about how he wished he could go back to the old days when life was easier and he felt safer, I had to think about what life has been for me here in the USA these past six decades.

Life was simpler, of course, when I was a child. I was born a few years after WWII ended, and our country was still glowing in the victory. I was confident that my sisters and I had a roof over our heads and food to eat. (I wasn’t aware of the struggle our parents endured to make those things happen)

I felt safe, running from house to house in our neighborhood, playing outside from morning to night. I remember some hype about possible nuclear war, the Russians coming, and people building bomb shelters. Even then I didn’t feel unsafe.

Not even during the Viet Nam War did I worry about an enemy attack on our little town in Ohio. It was war on someone else’s turf; far, far away.

We were pretty comfortable for decades in our safe, secure homeland of America. But 911 changed that. And we live with the knowledge we are not impenetrable. Gang wars on our streets, domestic and foreign terrorism is a reality we live with every day.

But as I read Job it occurred to me that Job’s enemy – and ours- is Satan. We are in the middle of a spiritual war, played out in flesh and blood conflict. I’m afraid we’ve become so concerned about our Middle Eastern enemies we’ve neglected to recognize the real danger of the subtle erosion of our freedoms and spiritual Truth.

Friend, there is a war on your soul. I know many believe that if they ask Jesus into their hearts it’s enough, they are home free. They feel secure in their salvation, impenetrable. Can’t touch this, they say to Satan.

But I wonder. Let’s not feel so safe we ignore the subtle attacks Satan continues to throw our way; the acceptance of sin as normal, the watering down of the Gospel, tolerance, looking at God as our buddy and not as a Holy God who demands holiness of His children.

I want to be a good soldier in God’s army. I want to put on the armor of God, to study His Word to show myself as approved by God to do His bidding. I want to take my enemy seriously, his threats as personal.

If you read God’s Word you will be encouraged with the fact that He promises never to leave or forsake us who know Him. He promises to be our shield and protector, our light, our guide. If you read God’s Word you will never see God saying to sit back and enjoy the ride. This is war.

Do you feel safe in the middle of this spiritual battle? If you are an active member of God’s army  you can feel totally safe. I would suggest, however, if you are too comfortable, too complacent, satisfied to sit back and let others fight the war, beware. The wolf is at the door.

Dear God, I pray for Your army today. May we recognize our real enemy, and be ready to battle. May we not be guilty of feeling too comfortable. May we be in Your Word every day. May we spend time praying, searching, listening. May we be an army of faithful soldiers. Protect our souls from Satan’s attacks, and give us the strength and courage to defeat Satan in our homes, our places of work, our churches, and our world. For Jesus’ sake.