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This is how I fight my battles

Luke 4:9-12 {KJV}

     "9 And he brought him to Jerusalem, and set him on a pinnacle of the temple, and said unto him, If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down from hence: 10 For it is written, He shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee: 11 And in [their] hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone. 12 And Jesus answering said unto him, It is said, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God.”

        The devil actually quotes Psalm 91 when tempting Jesus with suicide. Albeit he leaves out the phrase “in all your ways”, he still quotes the Word. I have been taught that it was because he left this out that Jesus could come against him. However, I do not agree with that. The devil is the deceiver and in any way he can, he will deceive. In general, what he uses to deceive is not blatant lying but suggestions encased in the truth. For instance, in the verses immediately preceding these, the wicked one states that he would give Jesus authority and the glory of all of the kingdoms of the earth if Jesus would worship him. The devil averred that he had the ability to do that since that authority had been given to him {by Adam}. The thing is, the devil was telling the truth, he did have authority over all the kingdoms of the earth and their glory. Thus the devil was suggesting that Jesus could get what He came for another way than the cross.

When Jesus said “It is said, ‘You shall not tempt the Lord your God.’”, He was stating the same thing that Moses stated in Deuteronomy 6:16 which itself referred back to Exodus 17:7. In Exodus 17:7 the Word says that the children of Israel tempted the Lord by saying “Is the Lord with us or not?” Then in Deuteronomy 6:16, Moses warned the people that when they were about to take possession of the promise of God, they were not to tempt Him in the same way by saying in their hearts, “Is God with us or not.” So that is the Biblical path of this phrase and is useful in understanding why Jesus was successful, but there is more. Let us first examine how we can identify the power in what I have just iterated. 

    First of all, each temptation was for Jesus to control His own flesh. Thus, He wasn’t correcting the devil per se, He was commanding His own flesh in how it was to respond to the temptations. In other words when, in verse 4 Jesus said “Man shall not live by bread alone…” He was telling His own soul the truth. Then again in verse 8 when He said “You shall worship the Lord your God…” He was essentially saying “Jesus- don’t listen to him, you - yourself are only supposed to worship God.” Then finally in verse 12, when He says, “You shall not tempt the Lord your God”  He is saying “Jesus- you cannot say in your heart ‘is God with me or not’” because that tempts God. So we have established that Jesus was commanding His own flesh to behave in these temptations. These were the ways of escape provided by God so that Jesus could withstand them. 

    The value in what Jesus went through was that it was of course an example of how we are tempted and what we are to do regarding it. We, like Jesus, are not to engage in a theological debate with the wicked one. We are, however, required to speak, out of our mouths the command given to us by the Almighty in that moment that will require our flesh to submit. Remember, James 4:7 states that we must first submit to God and then we resist the devil. In practice, this looks like this:

    A temptation to disbelieve God comes, such as fear of a planned virus. The temptation would be  to say in our heart “Did God cause this so that I can spend more time with Him?” the moment that thought rises, we should combat it by speaking out of our mouths -  “It is written, He is the Lord your God, who teaches you to profit, who leads you by the way you should go.” The Lord does not teach with sickness and disease, He teaches with His word. This is one way you could speak to a fear, but you would have to hear from God what He would have you say in that moment. Some temptations require physical action and with those too, you would have to hear from God for direction in the way of escape. Do not be disillusioned beloved, when we are tempted, we are tempted, not the devil. We have authority and responsibility to manage our mind, our mouth, and thus our response even as Jesus Himself did in the wilderness. Speak to your flesh, command your soul with the Words you hear from the Living God and then the devil will flee from you. This is why Jesus was able to come against the temptations of satan. He commanded His flesh with the Word of God.

    Incidentally, the story of the temptation of our Lord is also told in Mark 1 and Matthew 4:12-17.  The Mark account is excessively sparse and in the account explained in Matthew, Jesus only responds with “it is written…” Here, in Luke’s account, verse 12, we gain a small clue into the reality of Jesus’ battle. Jesus stated “It is said…” He did not say “It is written” even though what He stated had been written. I believe that the Lord allowed this to be revealed to us so that we would know that in that moment, God was actually speaking to Jesus and giving him the words to say. God was showing us that when we are combating the devil mentally that we can discern the thoughts of God because they will match what has already been written in the Word!! This gives us stability and assurance in our words - that they are from God and therefore completely effective. 

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