Last night I read a Bible-story about Jesus to Landon. I’ll admit, sometimes I read without letting the Holy Spirit influence me as well; news flash, it’s not just for the kids. Page 8 caused me pause.
“But Satan, the enemy who had spoiled God’s world, wanted to stop Jesus from doing God’s work.
“He waited until Jesus was alone and very hungry” (emphasis mine).
In case you aren’t familiar with Jesus’ story, shortly after John baptized him and the Father proclaimed his blessing over Jesus, the Holy Spirit led him into the wilderness. Forty days without other people….forty days without food. By the end, he was hungry in more than one way. Jesus, fully man and fully God, still had the need to eat and rest.
The enemy knew when Jesus would be most vulnerable and attacked when the Son was down, offering the easy way out.
After all, Jesus was human (Phil. 2). He knew what limited muscles felt like, fatigue, sore feet, and a dry mouth. He was perfectly sinless, but not without temptation; he understands our struggle (Heb. 4:15).
As his children, we too will face temptation (not just to lust or lie, but to despair, to worry, to grow prideful and self-reliant). And we need these tactics if we are going to win the battle.
First, we lean into our Commander in Chief and follow Him. We don’t run ahead or ignore His orders. We step in line with His direction and make His Words our words. When the bombs start falling and the Enemy creeps in and taunts, our temptation might be to flee or fight with inept weapons. The only effective weapon is the Blood of the Lamb and the Word of God. Jesus used it against Satan and so should we. But in order to do that, we have to know it (read it, meditate on it, imprint it on our hearts and minds).
Next, be sure you aren’t alone. God created you for a Body and the mutual interdependent community benefits all involved. Don’t be so prideful (or insecure) that you pull away, thinking you either don’t need other people, or that they don’t want you. Offer yourself as a living sacrifice and remember that only cracked eggs make omelettes. Accountability and openness keep us from continuing to swim deeper into the deep end of sin. A cord with three strands is harder to break (Ecc. 4:12).
Establish boundaries. Realism, not idealism, safeguards our hearts. Only you know where you are most weak and when you are most weak. Be honest with yourself and invite someone to ask the hard questions, “Are you doing what you need to do to stay healthy and in step with the Spirit?”
Don’t be surprised by what the Enemy hurls at you. Scripture promised the battle and promised us trials and pain, but our Savior did give us a battle plan and a cry of victory. (Eph. 6:10-18, John 16:33, Rom. 8:31-32).