Read: Matthew 4
During that time the devil came and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become loaves of bread.” (Matthew 4:1-3, NLT)
From the Word of God in general, from human experience—mine and other people I’ve witnessed over the years—and from this story in particular, I could make a pretty strong case that doubt is the number one strategy Satan uses in our lives to disrupt, weaken and ultimately destroy our faith in God. If he can get us to question the goodness and sufficiency of God and his Word, then our spirituality will be dead in the water.
Every time the devil came at Jesus with a temptation, the very first word was “if” — “if you are the Son of God…if you will kneel and worship me…” (Matthew 4:3,5,9) Behind Satan’s enticements was the goal of getting Jesus to question God’s care and competence as well as his identity as the cherished Son of God.
That is exactly what Satan will do to you—most likely even today. He will cause a question to arise in your mind as to the reliability of God’s Word, the dependability of God’s love, the sufficiency of God’s supply, and the truthfulness of your unmovable place as a cherished child of God. Just like clockwork, the “if” question will be sown as a seed of doubt in your spirit before the day is out.
The number one defense against Satan’s strategy to destroy your faith is trust—ruthless trust. Each occasion in which Jesus was hit with the big “if” was met with a return to what was unquestionable, unshakable and immovable—the Word of God. Jesus’ answer to the assault on his faith? “Scripture says…” (Matthew 4:4,7,10) Jesus stood on the promises of Scripture, knowing that obedience to it was the only way to God’s provision (“man shall not live by bread alone”), true spiritual muscle (“jump off” and prove your divine power), and ceaseless kingdom authority (“all the kingdoms of the world will be yours”).
Trust—ruthless trust. No assault from the enemy can penetrate it, and no temptation, regardless of the power of its enticement, can hold a candle against it. So no matter what, lean into God’s Word today—there is nothing in all creation as reliable. Trust in God’s character—his care and competence have never been proven impotent. Wait patiently for his provision—it will never lack the satisfaction you truly need.
And by the way, when you respond to temptation with ruthless trust, not only do you punch Satan in the nose, but you give a priceless gift to God. I love what Brennan Manning says in his book, Ruthless Trust,
“The splendor of a human heart which trusts that it is loved gives God more pleasure than Westminster Cathedral, the Sistine Chapel, Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, Van Gogh’s Sunflowers, the sight of ten thousand butterflies in flight, or the scent of a million orchids in bloom. Trust is our gift back to God, and he finds it so enchanting that Jesus died for love of it.”
So throughout the day today, look up, smile, and trust!
“Unwavering trust is a rare and precious thing because it often demands a degree of courage that borders on the heroic.” ~Brennan Manning
What If God Took Over?
Analyze the things that are tempting you today. Find out how they are assaulting your trust in the reliability of God’s Word, the sufficiency of God’s provision and the immutability of your position as a cherished child of God. Once you do that, you will see what temptation promises as nothing more than a false infinite—something that in the light of day cannot hold a candle to what God has in store for those who ruthlessly trust him.