It’s IMPORTANT to HIDE GOD’s WORD in our HEARTS
October 9 Bible Reading: Matthew Chapters 4-6
Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. And when He had fasted forty days and forty nights, afterward He was hungry. Now when the tempter came to Him, he said, “If You are the Son of God...” (Matt. 4:1-3)
If there is one person that God’s Word exhorts us to look up to and emulate, it is our Lord Jesus Christ. We are exhorted by the writer of the book of Hebrews to look "unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith" (Heb. 12:2). Jesus Christ is both the instigator and promoter of our faith, and He is the best example whose actions we should adapt in our daily lives. The writer of Hebrews had this further to say about Jesus…He became just like us in His earthly flesh and He "was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin" (Heb. 4:15). Jesus went through the similar temptations that we have in our earthly lives, but the uniqueness about Jesus is that He was “without sin". Let’s look closely unto Jesus in order to understand how He overcame the temptations that He encountered in His earthly life.
We should remember that temptation itself is not sin, but yielding to temptation is sin, as James describes this so clearly: “Let no one say when he is tempted, ‘I am tempted by God’; for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone. But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed. Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death” (James 1:13-15). Temptation is the seduction by the world and Satan to find meaning and fulfillment apart from the will and Word of God. In the case of Jesus, the temptations came as a series, one after the other, like waves on the shore. Unlike Adam and Eve who succumbed to their first and only temptation from Satan, Jesus overcame all the three temptations, and did not commit any sin in the process. Paul wrote that Jesus “knew no sin” (2 Cor. 5:21); Peter says that He “committed no sin” (1 Pet. 2:22); and John says, “in Him there is no sin” (1 Jn. 3:5).
Just like in the case of Joseph in the Old Testament, God Himself initiated the temptation in the life of His Son Jesus Christ. For that, Jesus was led by the Spirit from the River Jordan into the wilderness, and made to strip away from any earthly source that would provide Him strength like food, water and fellowship with others. Jesus went without any food and water for forty days, and the Gospel of Luke describes that Jesus was "tempted for forty days by the devil. And in those days He ate nothing, and afterward, when they had ended, He was hungry" (Luke 4:2). It was when Jesus was most vulnerable to be attacked that Satan attacked Jesus by challenging His relationship with His heavenly Father with this question: "If You are the Son of God..." (Matt. 4: 3, 6)
However, Jesus resisted the attack of Satan just like James proposed: "Resist the devil and he will flee from you" (James 4:7). As the author of faith, Jesus took His ‘shield of faith’ to quench the fiery darts of the devil (Eph. 6:16). He then took the one offensive weapon that He had with Him, "the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God" (Eph. 6:17) and attacked Satan with the all-powerful words: "It is written" not once but three times (Matt 4:4, 7, 10; Deut. 6:13; 8:3; Ps. 91:11, 12). This was the one and only weapon that Jesus used to thwart the attack of Satan each and every time! The only reason that Jesus could use God’s Word so effectively was because He had been hiding God’s Word in His heart as He was growing up in Nazareth.
From the temptations of Jesus, we learn that the devil can attack those who are controlled by the Holy Spirit, but that he is powerless against those who resist him with the Word of God. We should also understand that spiritual victories are often followed by testing (see 1 Kin. 19). Jesus first resisted Satan, and then He defeated Satan with consistent, meaningful use of the Scriptures. We can also follow this example by reading (or, hearing), reflecting (or, meditating) and finally memorizing God’s Word so that they are tucked away in our memory to be used during temptation, discouragement and worry. Therefore, it’s so important to hide God’s Word in our hearts each and every day.