7: Guard Against Unbelief
If thou be the Son of God... (Matthew 4:3)."...If thou be the Son of God...." These are familiar words; we hear them everyday in different forms: “If you are a Christian, why are you still not married?" "If you're a Christian, why haven't you gotten a job yet?" "You say you're a Christian, why are things not going well with you?" "You claim you're a Christian, look at your friends, they are all doing well, but you, you can't even make ends meet". Sometimes, we even ask ourselves those same questions. Ever asked yourself "WHY ME?" I believe we‘ve heard these words before, if not in the same wordings, they have appeared in different forms.
Now you understand why I said "...if thou be the Son of God..." are familiar words? These words have only one objective: plant doubt and fear in our hearts concerning the promises of God for our lives. The fact is; our faith and trust in God only comes under attack when things are not going well. Those moments are the moments we have to remain resilient:
If thou faint in the day of adversity, thy strength is small. (Proverbs 24:10).The devil has no new tricks. His tricks have always been to get us to doubt God's word leading to disobedience. In the garden of Eden, the devil said to Eve "...hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?" (Genesis 3:1). When Job hit a low in his life, his wife said "curse God and die" (Job 2:9). When childbirth was delaying, Sarah offered Abraham an alternative outside of God's promise. Faith and trust in God is mandatory, there are no alternatives around it: " ...without faith it is impossible to please him..." Faith will get us far. Unbelief on the other hand will rob us of God's promises for our lives:
And to whom sware he that they should not enter into his rest, but to them that believed not? So we see that they could not enter in because of unbelief. (Hebrews 3:18-19).
8: Guard Against Pride
And when the tempter came to him, he said, If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread (Matthew 4:3).The whole of Matthew 4:3 can be paraphrased to read: "If you're the Son of God, prove it". It was a temptation aimed to cause Jesus to act independenty of the Father and abuse His powers as the Son of God.Lets face it; we are all prone to abusing whatever power, rights, position or gifts we have.
Because of our suscesptibility to pride, caution should be our watchword whenever we find ourselves in a place of privilege. We are all nothing but products of God's grace and mercies. We have no point to prove in this life. Absolutely no point!
...what hast thou that thou didst not receive? now if thou didst receive it, why dost thou glory, as if thou hadst not received it? (1 Corinthians 4:7).
Now, it's very likely any of us will fit into one or more of the descriptions that follows: (1) Flaunting our gifts and abilities around to deliberately intimidate others. (2) Throwing our weight around to let people know "where power lies". (3) Getting to a point in life we can't take criticism. (4) Looking down on others... The list and manifestation of pride is tall, but for space, let me conclude that pride is a canker that lives inside all of us and it's our personal responsibility to make sure we deal with this canker by submitting ourselves daily to the Spirit of God.
9: Arm Yourself With The Word of God
But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God (Matthew 4:4)"It is written": the phrase indicates Jesus was making reference to a Scripture that was relevant in resisting the devil's temptations. If we examine the original Scripture from which Jesus quoted, we will get a good picture. Have a look:
And he humbled thee, and suffered thee to hunger, and fed thee with manna, which thou knewest not, neither did thy fathers know; that he might make thee know that man doth not live by bread only, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of the LORD doth man live (Deuteronomy 8:3).The first words of Deut. 8:3 is worth noting: "He humbled thee, and suffered thee to hunger..." In Matthew 4:4, we see Jesus drawing an analogy from Scripture (Deut 8:3) and applying it to His situation. He rightly divided the Word of truth. Jesus quoting from this Scripture simply meant He knew and understood from the Word why He was in the wildernes. In His full humanity, He was in the wilderness to be humbled;learn dependence on the Father (In the earlier messages, I wrote on Jesus' humanity and humility).
Friends, in all circumstances, the Word is relevant! We see in Matthew 4:4 that Jesus interpreted His circumstances by referring to the Word. Are you in any situation that's against you? Subject your situation to the Word. If we going to have victory in this walk of faith, we must, as a matter of necessity, arm ourselves with the Word. The Word practically has answers to all of life's issues. Never doubt that: “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.“ (Psalms 119:105).
God willing, next week I will bring you the continuation of this series. God bless you!