FACING OUR DEMONS
Lord, thank You for power over the devil through Your name.
Read LUKE 4:1–13
Jesus Is Tested in the Wilderness
4 Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, left the Jordan and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness, 2 where for forty days he was tempted[a] by the devil. He ate nothing during those days, and at the end of them he was hungry.
3 The devil said to him, “If you are the Son of God, tell this stone to become bread.”
4 Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone.’[b]”
5 The devil led him up to a high place and showed him in an instant all the kingdoms of the world. 6 And he said to him, “I will give you all their authority and splendor; it has been given to me, and I can give it to anyone I want to. 7 If you worship me, it will all be yours.”
8 Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God and serve him only.’[c]”
9 The devil led him to Jerusalem and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. “If you are the Son of God,” he said, “throw yourself down from here. 10 For it is written:
“‘He will command his angels concerning you
to guard you carefully;
11 they will lift you up in their hands,
so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.’[d]”
12 Jesus answered, “It is said: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’[e]”
13 When the devil had finished all this tempting, he left him until an opportune time.
a Luke 4:2 The Greek for tempted can also mean tested.
b Luke 4:4 Deut. 8:3
c Luke 4:8 Deut. 6:13
d Luke 4:11 Psalm 91:11,12
e Luke 4:12 Deut. 6:16
New International Version (NIV)
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Review how you came to faith, asking God to show you how he was at work (cf. Psa. 139:23). Express your thanks for how his grace has been seen in your life.
Lead us not into temptation? This phrase is changed to “save us from the time of trial” in modern versions of the Lord’s Prayer by people uncomfortable that God might lead us into a place of temptation. Sometimes, however, we must go there in order to ﬁnd that God will give us the power to overcome. In all three Gospel accounts, Jesus is compelled to face his demons. Mark’s version is more graphic—the Spirit drives him (Mark 1:12, literal translation from the Greek). Jesus is fully God, but he is also fully human. Like us, he needs to confront his temptations. He needs absolute conﬁdence that in his earthly life he can face and overcome the challenges that lay in the future.
From Jordan to Calvary, temptations would constantly assail him, i.e., temptations to avoid his destiny and to follow paths he should not take. He must not turn stones to bread by using his power to serve his own needs. He must not compromise with evil, using worldly ends to achieve his goals. He must not put God to the test—ultimately, the temptation to avoid the cross: “If you are the Son of God, come down from the cross” (Matt. 27:40, NASV).
In Scripture we read of the evil which assails us from the outside, as portrayed here (cf. 1 Pet. 5:8), and the evil which wells up from within us (cf. Mark 7:20–23). In practice, the distinction is irrelevant. We must confront our deepest temptations and overcome them. Sometimes we must face them in our own wilderness, in that desolate and solitary place where we are alone with our demons. For some of us, only there will we discover, as Jesus does, that God is also there. In that lonely place, God will give us the words and the strength to overcome and also give us the will to take once more, as Jesus does, the path which lies before us.
Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil, for thine is the kingdom, the power and the glory.
Lord, we understand that no one is immune from temptation, but we also understand that You have empowered us to overcome it all.