Teenside Daily Devotional

Read Matthew 4:1-11.

One of the most important things about this passage that I have often overlooked is the fact that Jesus was led to the wilderness “by the Spirit...to be tempted by the devil.” God’s Spirit was not only aware of what was going to happen when He brought Jesus to the wilderness, He was the driving force behind it. This meeting was not an accident, this trial was intentional, and it was critical to the success of Jesus’ soon-to-start ministry. Notice when “the tempter” decides to arrive. It’s right at Jesus’ weakest point physically, and probably mentally, after forty days and nights of hunger. And his first enticing suggestion? Use that power within you and make yourself some food. Then Satan tells him to throw himself off a roof, even using Scripture itself to convince Jesus that he would be fine. Finally, he promises Jesus everything if he simply bowed down to him. I would have given in to any of these almost instantly. Especially if I hadn’t eaten for forty days. The food one doesn’t even seem sinful! So, why doesn’t Jesus do it? I believe it is so he could remain fully human. The Spirit that we have, that Jesus had in this moment, will only give power to those who need it for the work of God’s glory. However, Satan is luring Jesus into selfish actions that would now require using his own power, the power he has as the Son of God. Yet, if he uses this power, he is no longer human. And as soon as he is no longer human, he can’t live out a perfect human life and be the sacrifice that we need. Instead, Jesus uses the Word of God. At each turn, he knows exactly what to reference to refute Satan’s temptations. And the crazy thing? It works! The devil just leaves. However, I’m almost certain that it would have had no effect if the scriptures that Jesus quoted weren’t directly written on his heart. If he simply spat out scripture he had memorized just so he could say he did without any true intent to let it sink deeper within him, he would have lost. But he did not! And in this way, he sets an amazing example for us. The forces of evil that we cannot see are always lurking. They will seek to entrap you in sin and pull you away from God, and they will do so at your weakest moment. They seek to hurt Him, and they intend to use you to do it. However, you have everything that you need to stop this. If you have chosen to follow Christ, then you have the same Spirit within you that he did. If you are about to enter into a situation which is challenging, you have the ability to fast like Jesus did. If you are being tempted each and every day by evil to leave the fold of God and follow after worldly desires, you have very easy access to God’s Word, again, just like Jesus did. Take none of these things for granted, use them constantly, and thank God for them often! He has truly equipped us with everything that we need!

*Take a moment to journal these questions. Write down your thoughts, questions, and concerns. Then date your entry. One of the coolest things is being able to look back and see how God came through for you.*

  1. It is sometimes hard to understand why the Spirit would lead us into the desert. The Spirit never tempts Jesus but brings Him to the place that, because He is human, He experiences temptation. This past Sunday, John Nichols said that “blessing, when it comes from God, means that He is strengthening us”.

How could your desert be a blessing? How is the Spirit strengthening you to walk through your desert?

  1. Read verses 5-7 again. When Satan tempts Jesus this time, he uses scripture (the very thing keeping Jesus steady) to shake him. No matter how convincing these words sound, Jesus knows the voice of truth. The Spirit never leaves Jesus– in this very moment, He is the one shouting truth to drown out the lies.

 In your desert, has there been a lie disguised as truth? What helped you see that it was a lie? What truth could you use to combat this lie (i.e. take from Jesus’s example)?

  1. In our weakest moments, the Spirit doesn’t leave. He fights for us and shouts truth in our ears to drown out the lies. You’re not alone in your dessert, you have a helper that goes before you and is with you.

How can this truth empower you to march through your desert and defeat the lies of the tempter?

Prayer: Spend some time praying about the things you journaled. Thank God for the presence of His Spirit and thank Him for the blessing that He is giving you in your desert. Pray that the Spirit would help you discern the truth from the lies, and defeat each lie with truth that comes from the Word.

Song: Defender by Francesca Battistelli/ Steffany Gretzinger
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