Today’s Text and Thought of Encouragement:
“And therefore the Lord earnestly waits to be gracious to you: and therefore He lifts Himself up, that He may have mercy on you and show loving-kindness to you, for the Lord is a God of justice. Blessed are those who earnestly wait for Him, who expect and look and long for Him…for His favor and love, His joy, and His matchless, unbroken companionship…your ears will hear a word behind you, saying, ‘This is the way, walk in it.’”
“I seem to have come to a cross-roads,
And know not which way to turn,
So look into my Father’s face,
My direction from Him to learn.
I seem to have come to the cross-roads,
And overhead clouds dark as night,
Then quickly I call to my Father
To ask Him to send the light.
I seem to have come to the cross-roads,
But the voice that I hear comforts me;
‘Fear not! Be not afraid! I am with thee
As thy day, so shall thy strength be.’
I seem to have come to the cross-roads,
But with words such as these, need I more.
For grace and courage to follow
My Guide, Whose knowledge is sure!”
Today’s Study Text:
“Your word have I laid up in my heart, that I might not sin against You.”
“Why I Love Studying the Bible” Part 8
“That I Might Not Sin”
“You are not able to subdue the least sin apart from Christ. But, by the help of the Holy Spirit, there is nothing that can master you.”
C. H. Spurgeon
How does my belief in God’s Word assist me in the battle against those sins which easily “beset” me?
“The more we appropriate God into our lives the more progress we make on the road of Christian godliness and holiness.”
“When I think from what evils the Lord has freed me, I am nourished by incorruptible food, and I cover my shoulders with the hope of my salvation. I feed upon and cover myself with the Word of God, who contains all things.”
Mary of Egypt
In Scripture, we find that the former tax-collector, Matthew, records that early in Jesus’ ministry, He was, “led by the Holy Spirit into the wilderness to be tested (tempted) and tried by the devil” (Matthew 4: 1, Amplified Bible). I don’t know exactly how you would have felt if you were led into the wilderness, knowing full well that a vicious fight would take place. I think I would have been afraid. And we must make no mistake -- this was not some phony wrestling match. This was good facing evil. This battle was between the Son of God and the fallen angel - Lucifer. No longer the great “Son of the Morning,” this once regal being confronted Jesus when He was tired and hungry, hoping to show the Son of God that purity of heart was only a fantasy. Matthew says that after Jesus had gone without food for “forty days and nights” the evil one pounced. As Matthew portrays, “the temper came and said to (Jesus), ‘If You are God’s Son, command these stones to be made loaves of bread” (Matthew 4: 3, Amplified Bible). However, this earthly appeal to the senses wasn’t the devil’s only attack. Matthew records that “then the devil took (Jesus) into Jerusalem and placed Him on a pinnacle of the temple where he again questioned Jesus’ origin with the words, “If you are the Son of God, throw Yourself down; for it is written, ‘He will give His angels charge over you.’” And then as a last test, we read that, “the devil took Jesus to a very high mountain and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world…and he said to Jesus: ‘If you will prostrate Yourself before me and do homage,’ I will give you all of this” (Matthew 4: 1-10, Amplified Bible).
As we read about these temptations, it becomes evident that the tempter isn’t a “one trick pony.” He doesn’t just hit us with the same temptation over and over again. Instead, he strikes us in moments of weakness. When we are not suspecting anything --he’ll launch an assault. If you are anything like I am, you’ll say, “Where did that temptation come from? I thought God had given me victory over my impatient spirit!” But then in a moment when I’ve been lazy, thinking I can get along on my own, that old wily serpent, goes for my spiritual jugular, trying to defeat me when and where I’m most vulnerable.
My inability to handle the tempter’s sneaky attacks would seriously depress me if it weren’t for the fact that while Matthew 4 gives us the evidence that Satan comes to us in varied ways – what gives me such great encouragement is that no matter how the devil approached Jesus – His response was always the same. If we read through Matthew 4: 1-11, every time the tempter changes his tactics – Jesus firmly responds with the same words: “It is written.” Three different temptations and only one constant response.
As I was preparing today’s devotional, it became clear as I studied that we have been left with a prescription for handling the tempter’s trickery. There are two pieces of heavenly advice written on the prescription Jesus left for you and me:
1. Stand on God’s written Word. “It is written” in His Word that Jesus, Himself, “has suffered being tested and tried. He is able to immediately run to the cry of those who are being tested and exposed to suffering” (Hebrews 2: 18, Amplified Bible).
2. Keep in constant communion with Jesus. “And (Jesus) said to Peter, are you asleep? Have you not the strength to keep awake and watch with me for one hour. Keep awake and watch and pray (constantly) that you may not enter into temptations” (Mark 14: 37, 38, Amplified Bible).
We live in a world where the devil may change methods – trying to trip us up in any way he can. Just think what it would be like if we had to plan a different way to fight the battle every time we are hit in a way we weren’t expecting.
Praise the Lord that I don’t have to come up with a new method of attacking the devil. Just because culture changes and just because temptations vary – God’s Word is still the same. What I stand on – the foundation of God’s Word – still fights evil the same way down through time. If I keep my communion constant with my Father as I faithfully read His word, I won’t have to focus on the devil’s changing tactics. God’s prescription in the battle against evil still stands. It is the same forever!
I absolutely love the words from the Apostle Paul’s pen to the young Christian believers in Corinth. These words are just as applicable to you and me today as they were hundreds of years ago:
“No temptation or trial regarding as enticing to sin, no matter how it comes or where it leads has overtaken you and laid hold on you that is not common to man or woman that is beyond human resistance and that is not adjusted and adapted and belonging to human experience, and such as (you) can bear. But God is faithful to His Word and to His compassionate nature, and He can be trusted not to let you be tempted and tried beyond your ability and strength of resistance and power to endure, but with the temptation He will always provide the way out – the means of escape to a landing place, that you may be capable and strong and powerful to bear up under it patiently” (1 Corinthians 10: 13, Amplified Bible).
You know why I love studying the Bible? While there are many important reasons for studying God’s Word, one of the most important in my life is that I enter the battle against sin, armed with prayer and God’s Word. I don’t enter the war unequipped. Praise God!
Of all Jesus’ followers, the Apostle Peter stands out as an individual I can really relate to. His desire and longing to follow Jesus was something not to be denied. But like so many of us, when under the pressure of the battle, Peter struggled. This is the reason though, that the words recorded in Scripture by none other than Peter, touch my heart, “The Lord knows how to rescue the godly out of temptations and trials” (II Peter 2: 9). Words spoken by one who knew from experience that God’s Word is faithful to deliver us from evil.
“Let Your mighty outstretched arm O Lord God, be our defense; Your mercy and loving-kindness in Jesus Christ, Your dear Son, our salvation; Your true Word our instruction; the grace of Your life-giving spirit – our comfort and consolation, to the end and in the end; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord.”
Dorothy Valcárcel, Author
When A Woman Meets Jesus
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