MATTHEW 4:1-11 -1 Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. 2 And after fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. 3 And the tempter came and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread.” 4 But he answered, “It is written, “ ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’ ” 5 Then the devil took him to the holy city and set him on the pinnacle of the temple 6 and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down, for it is written, “ ‘He will command his angels concerning you,’ and “ ‘On their hands they will bear you up, lest you strike your foot against a stone.’ ” 7 Jesus said to him, “Again it is written, ‘You shall not put the Lord your God to the test.’ ” 8 Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. 9 And he said to him, “All these I will give you, if you will fall down and worship me.” 10 Then Jesus said to him, “Be gone, Satan! For it is written, “ ‘You shall worship the Lord your God and him only shall you serve.’ ” 11 Then the devil left him, and behold, angels came and were ministering to him.
THEME OF THE DAY. THE MAKING OF A SPIRITUAL SOLDIER. I believe every Christian should put to memory, then put into daily living Psalm 18:34. It reads, “He trains my hands for war, so that my arms can bend a bow of bronze.” It goes along quite well with the Apostle Paul’s words of exhortation to Timothy, “Share in suffering as a good soldier of Christ Jesus. No soldier gets entangled in civilian pursuits, since his aim is to please the one who enlisted him” (2 Timothy 2:3-4). It also fits nicely with today’s scripture and the temptation of Jesus in the wilderness.
When it comes to a proper understanding of the Christian life, one word may rightly summarize it – war. We are a people of war; a spiritual warfare within ourselves and a spiritual war outside of ourselves (Galatians 5:17; Ephesians 6:10-12; 1 Peter 2:11). Fellow Christians, we must think this every day and throughout the day. We live out the Christian life on a battlefield, not on a playground. Fail to realize this, and the battle is lost. We will be spiritual casualties in this intense war. And what is alarming about Christians who are spiritual casualties is they live oblivious to this spiritual condition. They fail to see they are worldly, and their Christian life is more “Christian” religious performance of attending church, reading the Bible, and some form of prayer, without a holy resemblance to the Lord Jesus. And within those believers who are spiritual casualties is a self-righteous spirit of self-deception thinking all is well in their spiritual lives. But not so for the true soldier of Christ, and it is the true soldiers of Christ, God trains for war. And He will use the same “training experience” of His Son in today’s scripture.
As we watch Jesus go through His temptation, there are two lessons every soldier of Christ must learn from His example. First, God will use trials, temptations, and testing in our lives for our development. He must. Tried faith is warrior faith. Tempted faith is strong faith. And tested faith is reliable faith. As Christ’s soldiers, one of the pieces of our armor is “the shield of faith” (Ephesians 6:16). If the shield is going to be strong, it must be developed. Trials, temptations, and testing will do this work in the spiritual soldier’s life.
Another “soldier lesson” from our Lord’s example is the use of the “sword of the Spirit” – the Word of God (Ephesians 6:17). Go back and study Jesus’ response to the devil’s attacks. He responded to every attack with “It is written.” Jesus quoted specific scripture to fit the specific temptation. He actually quoted from the Old Testament book of Deuteronomy. Do we do that in our daily warfare against the flesh, devil and world? Are we armed in our minds with scripture enabling us to wield the sword of the Spirit as a good soldier of Jesus Christ? Remember, it is the only offensive weapon in the whole armor of God. There is nothing else in God’s arsenal for His warriors to counterattack the devil. So, the making of spiritual soldiers. It is what God does in our lives. How goes your training and development as a soldier of the Lord Jesus?
PRAYER: Father, help me to be a good soldier of Your Son, trained up and daily ready for battle.
QUOTE: “God has called us to battle and He commits to training us to be battle-ready through trials.”