Three Temptations, Three Victories
Three Apparent Temptations, Three Decisive Victories:
A couple of weeks ago I prayed a sincere prayer to God asking for him to grant me access to his thoughts when it comes to spiritual warfare. A few days later he granted me that revelation by pointing me to the Gospel of Matthew. Specifically Matthew Chapter 4:1-11. I’ve read over that particular scripture tons of times due to the fact that, when I was a younger and an inexperienced Christian I would always start at the beginning of the new testament. I would get into scripture and then fall out of it, mainly because I wasn’t being in tune with the Spirit. Chapter 4 verse 1 actually speaks about just that! (Being led and in tune with the spirit)
Matthew 4:1 NIV says “Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted(or tested) by the devil.”
Notice how the scripture DOES NOT SAY, Jesus went into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. NO! it says HE (Jesus) was led by the Spirit. It’s important to emphasize this right into the introduction of Jesus’s time in the wilderness, because it sets the tone for how Jesus’s divine life played out. He moved in the Spirit. He was(is) in alignment with God by the divine power of the holy Spirit. This same spirit that lived in him, lives in God. This same spirit that dwelled within Jesus the Son, dwells also in me [John 14:26] Proceeding on…
After setting the scene to explain how Jesus is in this state of existence here on Earth, we then are taken into verse two that explains how (by the spirit) he “fasted for forty days and nights”. An interesting statement to make before I move on is that, in the “Expanded Bible” it says this: “analogous to Israel’s forty years in the desert” Analogous means “comparable in certain respects, typically in a way that makes clearer the nature of the things compared.”
The reason why I point this out before continuing is that later on, like really soon, we will come to Matthew 4:4, in which Jesus uses OT scripture, specifically Deuteronomy 8:3. And Deuteronomy chapter 8 actually explains God’s Mercies to the Israelite’s while they were in the wilderness for forty years. It’s really cool to see the comparisons in certain respects, which can potentially lead to a clearer nature of “things”
Anyway, back to Matthew 4:2. We know that it says that he fasted 40 days and 40 nights in the wilderness to be tested. What it says in the very same verse is that “he was hungry”. That’s important, and its also self-explanatory. This is his TEST. This is him being led by the Spirit so that he can endure these upcoming trials by the Tempter and prove that he can move into victory. Not only does this build the ground work for Jesus Christ to move into his inevitable destiny, but it also provides Satan the awareness that he is not messing with just some mere Mortal. This is Jesus Christ the Son of the Living God, whom is indeed better than Satan himself. Satan tries to employ cunning tricks that he used on human beings, it’s not going to happen with the Son of God.
So, if your with me, we are transitioning, and you can tell through foreshadowing, that Jesus Christ is done with his 40 days/nights fast, and he is hungry. So the likely scenario obviously is that the tempter (Satan) is going to use that very issue to employ his temptations against Jesus.
Now that I have set the ground work for you, I am going to introduce to you a table I made, that will help you visualize and comprehend what it is that is taking place between Satan and Jesus whom has the Spirit in him. (1v2) You lose Satan!
Satan, because he know’s Jesus is hungry attempts to tempt Jesus by attacking his identity (If you are the Son of God) and Jesus’s survival, due to him being in the flesh. Even though Jesus is truly divine in nature, he was made flesh to carry out his divine mission set by his Father. Jesus simply replies to Satan (Mat 4:4) by saying Man doesn’t live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of God. This was exact scripture that Jesus pulled from the Old Testament. See notice how the author paints the picture that Jesus moves and does as he is guided by the Spirit. So if this wasn’t a test, then Jesus being the Son of the Father and indeed having the power that God has, is totally capable of shifting stones into a new creation (bread). We see it clearly when he turns water into wine, and feeds five thousand. But now, God is allowing this time to be a time of testing.
Clearly it is evident that Jesus is victorious against Satan’s tricks in Scenario 1. So Satan, being as cunning as he is, comes up with a very intriguing plan. What he does is in Matthew 4:5-6 he takes Jesus on top of the temple on the Holy City and he says “If you are the Son of God” (attack on identity) THROW YOURSELF DOWN…for it is written…This is where it gets really interesting. He(Satan) paraphrases holy scripture directly from Psalms 91:11-12 by saying “He will command his angels concerning you, and they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.” This is clearly Satan trying to fight fire with fire, trying to attack Jesus’s very essence of existence and who he really is.
But again, Jesus is stronger than that, he comes right back, harder than before, with a slap in the face to Satan and he says “IT IS ALSO WRITTEN:’Do not put the Lord your God to the test.'” Again as I said above, Jesus is directly connected with the father via the Spirit. If God wanted him to jump, to prove to Satan that he is indeed the Son of God, then he would have told, and Jesus would have obliged. However, we know this is not the case. He has a higher purpose than to prove himself to such scum. He is a divine King, who has a higher mission. This is only a portion of what he has to experience and play out in his life, before his death and resurrection, and Jesus knows this. Yet again another decisive victory for Jesus.
We come to the very last situation that Satan tries to put Jesus through. By now Satan is just really p.o’ed with the way things are going. He is clearly understanding that Jesus is much more powerful than what Satan can throw at him, so out of desperation Satan tries to attack him by asking him to bow down.
Satan takes Jesus on top of a mountain and he shows all the glorious kingdom’s and all their worldly splendor, and he Proposes to the Son of God. I will give you all this, if only you will bow down to me. This indeed was the last straw to be pulled by Satan before Jesus basically put it to him straight. Jesus’s reply to Satan was this: ““Away from me, Satan! For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.‘”
And that my friends is exactly what our Lord Jesus Christ did. He continued to keep himself humble, he continued walking in the Spirit, and he continued to move forward in God’s divine plan for His life. He also accomplished everything he came to earth to do.
Maslow Theory in relation to Spiritual Warfare
The last Part I want to explain to you is how Satan employed tricks against Jesus, that he also employees against human beings. Back in the 1940’s and 50’s there was a psychologist by the name of Abraham Maslow who spent time building up his humanistic theories concerning self-actualization. These theories were established and crafted into a famous diagram in psychology that I will provide for you to the right side.
The reason I bring this up is because, Satan’s tricks was built for and against a “self-actualizing” person. You see, Satan’s three temptations were built to attack Jesus’s identity (self-esteem), his survival (need of food) and his Self-Actualization (Self-Fulfillment). But Jesus is beyond self, he succeeds because it is not for self, but for God and humanity.
This why I feel Matthew Chapter 4:1-11 is indeed a strong instruction and guide to promote victorious spiritual warfare in Christians. You see, when you’re “Born Again” and you become a new creation you have the power, extreme Godly power to give it all up, and walk with the Lord. This is not to say that your expected to sell everything, and go follow him, because you think that’s what he WANTS you to do. No! what I am saying is, by you being a New Creation you have the Spirit, the same spirit dwelling within you, that if God calls you by the holy Spirit to do tasks that are intense, you will be able to serve and endure, and have victory over Satan’s Schemes in your life. That is the role of the holy Spirit in you.
That is why we need to move like Jesus moved, and do what Jesus did. Because the way he lived was the way that we can achieve total glory. By losing ourselves, we gain. It may seem like a loss, but in reality, you actually gain, not just in the afterlife, but here, and NOW.
No offense, but this Hierarchy Pyramid, is crap to me. It’s all about the self. Building the self, becoming aware of who you are. Let me tell you something! You don’t need one of these hierarchy pyramid diagrams to help you know who you are, my Christian friends. That diagram does not apply to you! You are better than this! This diagram is of the world. Satan’s ploy’s are designed against worldly people, and Christian’s whom have a hard time understanding their identity. His only way to defeat Christians, is to catch them, when they are caught up in this very game of “self-actualization”. “I” “me”. If Jesus was about “I” or “Me” only, he wouldn’t have lasted.
The thing that needs to be pointed out the most is that, God the Father, Jesus the Son, and the holy Spirit, are so much more powerful than we can even conceive, compared to Satan. We are apart of something that is so much more, than Satan’s “I will give you the kingdoms, all its glory and splendor, if you bow down to ME”