It would be great if we could bind the strong man before he entered the house! But unfortunately, it doesn’t work that way. We can get ourselves ready to take on the schemes of the devil by being able to recognize the attack when it comes, and dismantling it before it accomplishes the intended destruction.
In the book of Matthew chapter 4:1-11, we see Jesus, upon being baptized by John, immediately goes up into the wilderness for a forty day fast. Have you ever noticed that when you want to do something good, evil is always present? Apostle Paul thought so enough to write about it! (Romans 7:21) There are times when I attempt to do something for the Kingdom but the enemy will try to stop me by setting a snare or roadblock. Sometimes we don’t always see when or where the attack will come, but rest assured, it’s coming.
The example that the gospel of Matthew gives us when Jesus enters the wilderness yields three relevant truths about fasting and maturing in our walk with God:
- The adversary will try to get you to question who you are (vs. 3)
- Satan will try to break you mentally, physically, and spiritually (vs. 6)
- The enemy will try to get you to worship him or material things instead of God (vs. 8-9)
All three ideas seek to separate you from your relationship with God. The enemy has custom tailored these attacks specifically to take you out.
So how do we prepare ourselves for the battle? We have the victory through God’s word, just like Jesus did! No one in the military goes to war without first going through basic training. Then they enroll in some type of specialized training so they can apply their unique skill set for the battle. The same applies to us in the spiritual realm. We immerse ourselves in God’s word, and in doing so, we tether our specific gifts that the Holy Spirit placed inside of us from the beginning of our time to ready ourselves for warfare.
Let’s look at all three points individually and use God’s word to gain the victory over the adversary just like Jesus did.
Questioning Who You Are
Satan knows that if you’re born again, you are born of God. It’s his slithery, dirty job to convince you otherwise. He will put things in your mind, mostly past sins, to remind you just how wretched of a person you were. His cunning words will seek to paint the horrible picture of your yesterday, trying very hard to get you to embrace the past as if it just happened. In so doing, you will begin to allow the enemy to regain the stronghold he once had before you committed your life to Christ. Wise Up! If you asked for God’s forgiveness, then those sins are under the Blood! Jesus told the devil that “man does not live on bread alone, but every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.” We as Christians need to stop feasting on the rotten bread that sin bakes. God supplies good food for His children because He is a Good God!
Have you ever been pushed so much that you just want to give up? Perhaps the stress of your job, family, or leadership responsibilities has boxed you in on all four sides and you just want to end it all? You’re not alone. In vs. 4 of our text, Jesus encounters an attack like no other, a spirit of suicide. Satan said “If you really are the Son of God, throw yourself down!” Many Christians don’t realize that Jesus was tempted with mental, physical, and spiritual attacks just like them, except to the tenth power! Now Jesus could’ve thrown Himself down and God would’ve made sure that He was safe, or even resurrected but the lesson proved to Satan (and us) is that “you don’t put the Lord your God to the test. “ Notice that Jesus said “your God” to the devil. The Church has made suicide a very delicate natured incident that should be handled with kid-gloves. The essential point is this: Suicide is a spirit that seeks to destroy a person’s soul, condemning it to eternal hell. Suicide is testing God. Testing the Lord is sinful. Giving up on everything proves that you’ve given up on God. The Bible says in James 4:7 to “Submit therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.” It’s just that simple. Give all the garbage that has pushed you to point-break to God. He’ll take care of it!
We are a people who like things. We like our cars and trucks, our houses and boats, motorcycles, and vacations. These are all great things and well deserving after working hard and putting in the hours to be able to do some of those things. I believe God rewards us and allows us to enjoy life with great things, but nothing should get in the way of our relationship with Him. Nothing! When our passion for something like motorcycles or our jobs become our focus, it breeds idolatry. Passion quickly replaced with obsession can derail our communion with the Lord and our loved ones. Satan took Jesus to the highest place and showed Him the wealthiest kingdoms and promised Him all of it if He would bow down and worship him alone. The problem with Satan’s shallow thinking was that everything already belonged to God. Jesus responded by giving him the word of truth! He said “Go!” We need to get in the habit of telling the devil to “Go!” When your thoughts are taken captive by lustful things of the world, tell the devil to “Go!” Jesus goes on to say that “it is written that you shall worship the Lord your God and serve Him only.” Enjoy the things you have…you have them because God loves you and blessed you with them. Don’t worship them, worship the One who you received them from. Worship God!
Spiritual attacks come and go, and they reveal themselves in various forms. It is imperative that you take every thought captive to overcome the attack by knowing that God has your back! Remember that you are a child of the King, your identity is in Christ Jesus and not one devil or demon from hell can break you when God is on your side! Release the grip of material things you have in this world and focus on your place in the Kingdom. You’ll be able to bind the strongman every time! So go grow in God!
God Bless You and Keep You,