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appeal, bait, Charles Swindol, devoted servants, fame, frontal assault, future and destiny, God's will and purpose, jesus in the desert, Luke 4:9-12, nature of a servant, notoriety, our God focus, popularization, response, Satanic Shortcut, shame, struggle, the will of God, three components to every spiritual battle, who we are in the Lord
Yesterday, I began blogging on the three components to every spiritual battle. From the devil’s attack upon Jesus in the desert (Luke 4) we can deduce we will face the same types of aggressions in our life. We began discussing Satan’s attack upon the word of God. The second battle Jesus faced and we will too is over the will of God.
9 And 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; 10 for it is written,‘He will command His angels concerning You to guard You, and, On their hands they will bear You up, So that You will not strike Your foot against a stone.’”
12 And Jesus answered and said to him, “It is said, ‘ You shall not put the Lord your God to the test.’” Luke 4:9-12
This story is not about suicide but popularization or instant fame and notoriety. Jesus could have popularized Himself through an awesome display with the angels catching Him before He hit the bottom. This was never God’s will and purpose for His life. It was His Father’s will He took on the nature of a servant, not a celebrity. How many Christian’s need to understand this? This passage is fundamentally about the will and way of God.
When I was a younger believer…in my teens, I often wondered, “why didn’t God do more flashy, miraculous activities so that people would know He was for real?” What I didn’t know then, I discovered later as I grew in the Lord. God isn’t looking for enormous masses of people to follow Him. He is looking for devoted servants who love Him for Who He is. Jesus could have had notoriety at any moment of His life. He discouraged it and avoided it His whole life. This is the way of God. Numbers don’t mean much in the Kingdom… Disciples do!
Many of the battles in which we find ourselves are over these same issues. Satan attempts to force us away from keeping our “God focus“. In addition, he creates scenarios which cause the will of God to become fuzzy and unclear, so we become sidetracked. Satan doesn’t want any believer to discover or maintain their God-ordained destiny. Therefore, he will attack or seek to steal our identity. If we lose track of who we are and why we are here… then we will fall prey to any alternative to God’s will. It is imperative we stand strong and stay focused on what God has spoken! If we fail to stay focused, then the temptation to take a “Satanic Shortcut” will suddenly appear to be the right course of action.
Think back in your own life to the times when Satan sidetracked you and got you to do anything but what the Lord originally said to do. Satan didn’t use a frontal assault to mislead you. No, he approached from a side road. He attacked another area of your life which was soft. Only after causing failures in another area was he able to cause doubts about your future and destiny.
I can’t imagine Jesus jumping off any building or bridge because Satan asked or tempted Him. But it is not so crazy when Satan tempts us with some short-cut scheme to bypass the will of God…is it? Unless we are absolutely certain about the word and will of God for our lives… we are open to being attacked.
Satan has a tried-and-true strategy for luring us into his net. (From Charles Swindol)
First, he lays out the bait. Satan knows people, like a skilled angler knows fish. He notes our habits. He observes our hangouts. Then he prepares a tailor-made lure and drops it right in front of our noses.
Second, he comes with the appeal. He can’t make us bite, but he does know what happens inside us when we catch a glimpse of his tantalizing bait. Our fleshly nature draws us to it. We linger over it. We toy with it. We roll it over in our minds until it consumes our imagination.
Third, the struggle begins. Immediately, our conscience jabs us in the ribs, warning us of the danger. We know it’s wrong to take a bite. We may even see the barbed consequences poking through the bait. But Satan’s invitation looks so delicious. What do we do?
Fourth, the temptation ends with the response. Either we resist or yield; swim away or swallow it whole. Anyone who has resisted knows the feeling of freedom that decision brings. On the other hand, anyone who has yielded knows the feeling of emptiness that follows and the pain of the hook in your cheek.
Getting people to “sin” is not Satan’s end-game. No, he wants us to forget “who we are” in the Lord. He wants us to become so discouraged over our failures, we give up seeking to realize our God-given destiny. His short cuts and schemes are simply dead-ends and paths to nowhere. If you find yourself here… repent and return to the last word God gave you. There is no shame in being tricked and deceived by the devil. The only real shame is staying there.