Have you considered the importance of the Word of God as a key tool for entering into battle with the enemy of God? Maybe that makes sense when you are about to enter into a ministry setting, like speaking at an event or serving out of the overflow of your gifting. But have you thought about fasting as a time in which you need the Word of God as your number one offensive weapon against Satan?
Oh yes, sister, fasting defines our present battleground with the enemy of God.
All we have to do is turn to chapter 4 in Matthew to see that the devil is plenty committed to undermining not only this fast but the entire work God wants to accomplish in and through our lives.
If the devil isn’t afraid of messing with Jesus, he certainly won’t hesitate to come after us.
The good news is that the devil failed to undermine Jesus. When we are in Christ, he fails with us too. Our victory is secured in Christ. So let’s enter this battle knowing that the hard work has been done on the cross. What is up to us is simply our response to His love, His sacrifice, His work on our behalf!
But don’t just believe me. Turn to Matthew 4 and read the whole passage. Yep, the whole thing searching for the intricacies of the devil’s handiwork plays outs and the example Jesus’ perfectly sets for us in this war against our enemy.
Example One: The devil goes after us in isolation but Jesus embraces the calling before Him.
Yes, the Spirit of God led Jesus to the wilderness to be tempted for forty days and nights, even though we’d like to blame that one on the devil. There may be times we also have to pull back to enter into God’s calling us — a journey that might seem lonely, like this one when we are fasting from sugar. In our obedience to do the hard lonely thing we must also realize that the devil will show up and have a go at us, just like he did with Jesus. So take note of our Savior’s response: Jesus embraces the weakness even more. He allowed Himself to become hungrier. I can’t help but think this was so He wouldn’t be duped by his own power and strength. Rather He would be entirely cognizant of His humanity and need for HIs Heavenly Father to step in.
Example Two: The devil twists our identity and demands action in response to our weaknesses and Jesus responds with proclaiming Scripture.
Reminiscent of the scene in the Garden of Eden, the devil kicks off with a demand disguised in a question, “If you are the . . .” along with an outlandish request for Jesus to turn the stones to loaves of bread. Interesting that he choose bread and not a sword or a bed or a car. In the middle of a fast, bread would look like a pretty good option, don’t you think? Jesus chose to endure this temptation on the spiritual front, responding by quoting the Scripture. Are you ready to do the same?
Do you know the Word well enough to quote it in the middle of temptation? As we continue to move through this fast, memorizing and speaking out Scripture will be key to success because it will be our strength in the face of temptation.
Example Three: The devil seeks to undermine our confidence in God’s plans, purposes, and promises but Jesus rebukes him and presses on.
Well, looks like the devil won’t take no for an answer. Instead, he takes Jesus to a new location to tempt Him to turn His back on God. Is it safe to say the devil has tried that on you a time or two? And, even though the “If you are” line of questioning didn’t work before, he pulled that card again. Jesus wouldn’t have any of it. He saw right through the scheming to recognize that the devil was going after the authority of God. Jesus responds by rebuking the devil. Plain and simple. It appears that kind of rebuke doesn’t undermine the devil like as does to us. He doesn’t cower away in embarrassment but went at Jesus again, tempting him this time with the allure of power. So looks like we better be prepared for multiple attacks, not just one from the devil.
Example Four: The devil goes after the desire to be our own god but Jesus tells him to take a hike and more fully submits to the calling.
Are there any stronger words, than “Get out of here, Satan!” followed by a further declaration of Scripture truths?
Somehow Satan missed the memo that Jesus was already worshipped. That he had access to all that power. That every knee was already designed to bow before the King of Kings. Jesus responds with complete submission to the Lord our God.
Sister, Satan won’t let up on you. That’s not his job. That’s not his plan. He will go after us as much as he went after Jesus. He will tempt us in every way. He will convince us that our knee-bending worship before Jesus is unnecessary. That being in control of our own lives is the most important end goal. But he is as wrong now as he during those 40 days with Jesus. The question is if we will respond as Jesus did, pressing on in the calling to fast, studying Scripture, rebuking the devil, and totally submitting to God.
“Get out of here, Satan,” Jesus told him.
“For the Scriptures say, ‘You must worship the Lord Your God and serve Him only.’”
Matthew 4:10 NLT
Heavenly Father, thank you that Your Word that teaches us exactly what we need to know about You and the way You want us to live. Thank you for this example on what to expect from the devil as we seek to do your will and your work. Even Jesus was tempted. Even Jesus was faced with lies. Even Jesus needed to respond with truth and determination. God, please make us strong and bold like Jesus as we pursue the remaining days of this fast. In the Strong Name of Jesus, Amen.
Join me for more devotionals and encouragement in the 40 Day Sugar Fast hosted by Wendy Speake.