Today’s Reading: Luke 4-5
Today’s Reflection: Luke 4:13
And when the devil had ended every temptation, he departed from him until an opportune time.
One of the best known stories in the Gospels is the temptation of Jesus. After 40 days of prayer and fasting in the wilderness, Jesus encounters Lucifer, the devil known as satan (or ‘adversary’). Lucifer challenges Jesus divine identity and uses every trick in his book to try and get Jesus to abuse His power, even going so far as to offer Him a way to save the world without having to go through the suffering of the cross. The only catch? Jesus would have to bow down and worship Lucifer. Needless to say none of Lucifer’s tricks worked. In each and every instance of temptation, Jesus simply replied “It is written” then quoted scripture back to Lucifer. So Lucifer retreated, hoping to find a better occasion to succeed where he had failed. No such occasion would ever present itself.
While we may understand that the Word of God has power, I don’t think we truly grasp the significance of what Jesus did here, and how He demonstrates how we can use the truth of God’s Word to stand in the face of temptation and attempts at deception from the enemy of our souls.
We encounter many forms of deceit and temptation in our world. Conspiracies, heresies, satanic institutions all attempting to confuse mankind, turn us away from God and convince us that there is no God, or that there are many equally legitimate Gods, or that the ‘universe’ is God, or that what we perceive as God are other kinds of beings, like extraterrestrials. On and on it goes, woven through mythologies, secret societies, hidden histories, gnostic theologies and more. One could spend every waking hour trying to unravel every satanic deception and demonic assignment and never get anywhere close to understanding it all. I know many who have become dangerously obsessed with trying, turning this knowledge into an idol and ignoring the power of God and His scriptures.
Rather than try to understand every deception, we are called to know one truth against which no deception can stand. While we may be called to better understand some of these issues in order to minister to others who are trapped in deception (1 Corinthians 9:21-23), it isn’t necessary to explore every conspiracy to avoid being deceived, only to understand and rightly divine the one truth in the scriptures (2 Timothy 2:15). Truly, if we read, understand and live by God’s Word, guided by the Holy Spirit and submitting to its transformative power, the enemy and his deceptions have no choice but to depart from us. If we stay rooted in God’s Word, and empowered by the Holy Spirit, the opportune time for Lucifer to tempt us will never arise.
James 4:7 – Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.