Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil.
But he answered, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.'” – Matthew 4:4
The first thing that hit me today was how immediately Satan came into the picture after the presence of God. Jesus was descended upon by the Holy Spirit and heard his Father call him his beloved son (probably a spiritual high point, even for Jesus’ earthly ministry), then immediately afterward he comes face to face with temptation. It’s also interesting to note that it wasn’t Satan who decided the time, it was the Spirit. Jesus was led by the Spirit to be tempted at just the right time. NOT that the Spirit tempts people at all, but what’s amazing is that the Spirit chose the moment after Jesus was in the presence of the triune God to allow Satan to tempt him.
From this passage, I also noticed why quoting Scripture in moments of temptation is particularly useful. Because Satan knows it’s true. In Matthew 27, when Jesus was being tempted by the spectators, to climb off the cross and save himself, he didn’t quote Scripture, partly because those people didn’t believe Scripture as well as Satan does, so it wouldn’t close the deal for them. But for Satan, in Matthew 4, he has nothing to say after Jesus quotes God’s word. Because he knows it and believes it.
I tend to get tempted right after a spiritual high, or right after I encounter the presence of God. I always thought that timing was purely a device of the enemy trying to immediately pull me back down. But what if that was really the Holy Spirit choosing the perfect time to turn Satan’s temptation to best serve my spiritual growth? Perhaps until that time, the Spirit was damming up the flood of temptation that would come at my weakest points. Next time I’m tempted in any way, following a spiritual high point, I will sense more of the Spirit’s nearness, knowing he’s working for me and causing even Satan’s initiatives to work for me.
Thank you, Holy Spirit, for your constant working for me, your constant leading of my soul, to put me right where I need to be during all the different states of my heart. I trust you to work through my successes and failures, to point me Jesus, the author and perfecter of my faith.
This post is part of my Weekly REAP series. I’m posting these from my personal journal to share what God is teaching me, and to give some practical examples of the REAP method. I didn’t write any of these with publishing in mind, so forgive me if they don’t always wax eloquent. Here is some more information on the REAP study method.