Our Bread and Butter

Project 52—Memorize:
Matthew 4:4

“It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’”

The context for this familiar verse is the temptation of Christ. Right before Jesus began his public ministry, he entered into an extended period of prayer and fasting. And while we might think Jesus would have been at his most invulnerable by engaging in these spiritual disciplines, Satan still found him and fired three incredibly powerful temptations at him.

But three times Jesus parried the Enemy’s temptation by appealing to God’s Word. He met the first temptation with a quotation of Deuteronomy 8:3, “Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.”  Jesus met the second temptation with a quotation of Deuteronomy 6:16, “Do not put the Lord your God to the test.” And the third temptation was met with a Divine dismissal wrapped in the language of Deuteronomy 6:13, “Away from me, Satan! For it is written, ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.”

Now contrary to what we might assume Jesus was doing, he was not primarily quoting Scripture to scare away the devil. He was simply reminding the devil, and himself, that his life was under the sole jurisdiction of the unimpeachable authority of the Word of God. To Jesus, Scripture was his bread and butter.

It is interesting that Satan knew who Jesus was—that he was God the Son—yet tempted him anyway.  Likewise, Satan knows that you, too, are a child of God. Your identity will not stop him from unleashing an onslaught of spiritual sounding temptations to get you to compromise your standing as a child of God.

So be on guard today. It is not a forgone conclusion that you will surrender to the Enemy’s scheming—as seductive and as strong as it may be. Jesus didn’t—which means that you don’t have to either.  Jesus was under the authority of God’s Word; he knew the Word and will of God, and he used it to demolish the devil’s devices. And so can you. That’s one of the blessings of reading, reflecting on, memorizing, praying and obeying the Scripture each day, as you are doing.

And in your battle with the Tempter, let this encourage you: Since Jesus overcame his battle with temptation, he stands at the ready to help you in your battle.  So just ask him for his help—he is more than willing to come alongside you.  Hebrews 2:17-18 reminds us,

“For this reason Jesus had to be made like his brothers in every way, in order that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in service to God, and that he might make atonement for the sins of the people. Because he himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.”

So when sin comes tapping on your shoulder today, just lean into Jesus, and then do what he did: He hit back, punching the temptation in the teeth with the Truth.

 “Satan doth not tempt God’s children because they have sin in them, but because they have grace in them. Had they no grace, the devil would not disturb them… Though to be tempted is a trouble, yet to think why you are tempted is a comfort.” ~Thomas Watson

Reflect & Apply:  The Puritan preacher, Thomas Watson, said, “Satan tempts to sin under a pretense of religion. He is most to be feared when he transforms himself into an angel of light. He came to Christ with Scripture in his mouth: ‘It is written.’” Since the devil baits his hook with spiritual sounding ideas, watch closely that you don’t meet legitimate needs and valid desires in ways that don’t come under the absolute authority of Scripture.

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