By James Washington (The Dallas Weekly/NNPA Member)
Invariably as a Christian, the notion of Satan will come up and that conversation can range from soup to nuts, as we all know. I am often encouraged in these, sometimes crazy, discussions that God’s plan is very precise and obvious to those looking for His Word. My favorite point of reference in all of this is Matthew 4:1-11 regarding the three temptations of Jesus in the desert after 40 days of fasting. Remember when Satan offers Christ ‘all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor?’ I was shocked at the power the devil has to tempt each and every one of us as we operate on what is essentially his turf. Now you’ve got to remember Lucifer hung out with the Lord in heaven. They were roadies for a while until he got the big head and was banished to this physical realm where we reside.
Once Jesus rebuked Satan for the third time, scripture says, “Then the devil left Him and angels came and attended Him.” So once Jesus withstood temptation, God then delivered unto Him all that Satan had offered and more. You see, in reality, all that stuff that Satan tempted Christ with was Jesus’ birthright anyway and get this: It’s ours also. So, let me get this straight. The devil probably knows the Bible better than we do. He understands what tempts us, because he knows what pleases the Lord. Remember, they once hung out together. It stands to reason that I am a much easier target than Jesus was and ruination for me won’t necessarily take the promise of all kingdoms of the world and their splendor. However, my biblically inspired common sense lets me know that I am made in the image of God and I’ll be okay if I surrender all that I have and all that I am to Him; He, who is my Lord and Savior. By doing so I should be able to put myself in a position to at least see the devil coming. If I can just see him coming, then maybe I’ll be able to withstand, for a moment in time, the perceived need to have my wants and desires satisfied by sacrificing the integrity of my soul for momentary gratification.
Intellectually, I understand the difference between the temptation of sin and a test of faith. It’s all about perspective, that which is spiritual and that which is secular. Once Jesus answered each of Satan’s successive temptations with Matthew 4:4: “It is written; Man does not live by bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord.” Matthew 4:7: It is also written; Do not put the Lord your God to the test.” Matthew 4:10: “Away from me Satan! For it is written, Worship the Lord your God and serve Him only,” then the devil left and the angels came.
The key then is to get on the other side of temptation by walking in the Word consciously enough to understand that just saying no to Satan is an absolute guarantee of getting all that you desire and need in this life. What must be overcome however is the cunning nature of the devil in his efforts to get you and me to forget, ignore or not take seriously that he is indeed the source of the temptation(s) designed to kill you and hurt the Lord. When in doubt, call on the name of the Lord and eventually Satan will be replaced with angels ready to attend to you. As Jesus so appropriately put it, “Seek ye first the kingdom and whatever it is that you desire, you will have more…”
May God bless and keep you always.