Overcome the devil and his temptation.
“Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil.” – Matthew 4:1
This text in the Bible comes after Jesus is baptised by John in the Jordan. We understand from Matthew 3:16-17 that at the time of Jesus’s baptism heaven was opened and the Spirit of God descending like a dove alighted on him. And a voice from heaven said, “This is my son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.”
So why immediately after Jesus’s baptism was He led into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil? He could have immediately have been led by the Spirit to go preach, heal the sick or perform His first miracle. Surely this happened as an example to us who would become followers of Christ.
Reading the whole of Matthew 4:1-11, we know that Jesus overcame the devil and resisted temptation by using the written word of God - scripture. However, there is more. While it is easy to quote back scripture during times of temptation, the devil too knows scripture and we can see that he tried to use the written word against Jesus. I believe in order to truly overcome and emerge victorious every single time the devil comes looking, we need to apply the full template Jesus walked in.
At what point does the devil start to tempt Jesus? – “After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. The tempter came to Him..” (Matthew 4:2). After this period of fasting, while Jesus may have been physically hungry, we can tell from His responses each time that He was spiritually full.
Therefore, based on this verse, we find the evident strategy applied by Jesus leading up to His victory over the devil’s temptation as follows:
He was Baptised
He was filled with the Spirit of God
God was pleased with Him
He was filled with the word of God – Scripture.
In James 4:7 we read, “Submit yourselves then to God, Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come near to God and He will come near to you.”
In 1 Peter 5: 8-9, “Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him standing firm in the faith...”
Whilst these verses warn us to be alert and to resist I find that the way to truly resist and emerge victorious over the devil and his temptation is to approach our faith the same way Jesus did in Matthew 4:1-11.
"Then the devil left Him, and angels came and attended Him." - Matthew 4:11