When the Tempter Comes

Matthew 4:1-3 Then was Jesus led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil.
2 And when He had fasted forty days and forty nights, He was afterward hungry..
3 And when the tempter came to Him, he said, If Thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread.

The apostle Paul said that Jesus Christ emptied Himself and became as we are. Although He existed in the form of God, He did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bondservant, and being made in the likeness of men. Philippians 2:6-7 (NASB). We know that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. However, Paul tells us that He emptied Himself of all divinity and was brought forth in the earth as a human being.

Luke says that Jesus grew in wisdom and stature with God and with man (Luke 2:52). In other words, He wasn’t born with all knowledge of heavenly and earthly things. He learned those things as He grew in wisdom and stature with God and with man.

When He was thirty years old, He went down to the Jordan to be baptized by John the Baptist. It was then that He was anointed of the Holy Spirit.

It is important for us to understand that Jesus set an example for us. He is our pattern. He didn’t accomplish everything He did as a divine being. He did it as a man, though an anointed man. He had all the same limitations that we have. He was showing us how to walk with God and how to minister by example. He was anointed and led by the Holy Spirit – the same Holy Spirit that is available to us. By His actions He was saying, “Look, the realm of spirit is open unto you. You can also be anointed of the Holy Spirit, walk with God, and minister as I am.”

At the onset of Jesus’ ministry we see the devil coming on the scene to try to stop it. The first thing he does is an effort to cause Jesus to doubt who He is. If Thou be the Son of God… No sooner than the Lord calls you to walk with Him, or calls you to a ministry, Satan comes along to make you doubt it. He is so subtle in placing negative thoughts in your mind, you are not always immediately aware that they are from him.

If Thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread. The next thing Satan does is try to make you respond to the doubts by trying to prove who you are. If he can do that, then unbelief gets a grip on you. Jesus did not have to prove He was the Son of God, and neither do we. We do not have to prove we are walking with God or prove we have a ministry. When the tempter comes with that kind of strategy, take it as confirmation of who you are in God. If you did not have a valid calling of God, Satan would not tempt you in that way.

Since Jesus emptied Himself of divinity and was made in the likeness of man, He was as vulnerable to temptation as we are. For we have not an High Priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. Hebrews 4:15. If He was as vulnerable as we are, how was He able to resist temptation so successfully? He was filled with the Spirit and submissive to the Father. For I came down from heaven, not to do Mine own will, but the will of Him that sent Me. John 6:38. His life had one focus: the will of God. His victory over temptation, His anointing and authority, and His tremendous ministry was because “He did nothing of Himself” (John 8:38), but He positioned Himself in God. His strength was in God, not Himself.

We can have that same victory and anointing by doing the same thing. Jesus' authority was in direct proportion to His submission to the Father, and our authority will be in direct proportion to our submission to the Lordship of Jesus Christ.

If we try to fight Satan on his grounds, we will lose every time. One does not grow spiritually by building up his own muscles, but by appropriating Christ. He is our strength. Put on the full armour of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. Ephesians 6:11. The “whole armor of God” is not spiritual characteristics we develop. The “whole armor of God” is the fullness of Christ.

One little girl said it this way: “It used to be that Satan would knock on the door of my heart, and when I opened the door he would tempt me to do things I shouldn’t do. But now when the devil knocks on the door of my heart, I say ‘Jesus, will You get the door please?’ And when Jesus goes to the door Satan runs away.” So what should we do when the tempter comes? Let Jesus answer the door!

Copyright © 1995 by Henry DuBose

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