Devil, I Will NOT Serve You

“Then Jesus said to him, ‘Away with you, Satan! For it is written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God, and Him only you shall serve.'” (Matthew 4:10)

Some time today, read Matthew 4:1-11. In that passage you see how Jesus handled the devil and temptation. Three times, Jesus confronted the devil with Scripture to counteract the temptation the devil brought to Him. And in each of those instances, I believe Jesus was saying the exact same thing…“Devil…I will NOT serve you.”

The temptations Jesus faced represent the same frontal attacks you and I have to face as believers. Satan’s temptations appeal to the appetite, to avarice, and to ambition. Those are the three categories into which sin falls. John, the Apostle called them “the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes and the pride of life” (I John 2:16). In the Garden of Eden, Eve saw that the tree was “good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise” (Genesis 3:6). 

The devil’s tricks have not changed since Eden. Every temptation you and I face still falls into one of those three categories. So today…let’s commit ourselves to following three simple statement when we meet temptation.

1. I will not compromise my body. The devil offered Jesus bread and Jesus didn’t ignore the necessity of bread. Instead, He refused to give it priority in His life. What does that mean for me and you?

Simple…we cannot give ourselves over to the “eat, drink and be merry” philosophy of life. This philosophy prioritizes personal pleasure and spectacular entertainment. Our culture is obsessed with immediate satisfaction and the result is often disappointment, depression and discouragement.

I heard about a patient who visited his doctor. After the exam, the doctor said, “Sir, you need an uplift in your life. You need to forget the cares of this world. As a matter of fact, I suggest that you go and familiarize yourself with Grimaldi. Grimaldi is a great entertainer who lives the free and easy life. If you will read his books and model his lifestyle, I believe you will find life so much more enjoyable.”

The patient interrupted the doctor and said, “Excuse me doctor. I don’t think you caught my name. My name is Grimaldi!”

Remember, as a believer, your body is the temple of God. The Holy Spirit dwells there. Don’t compromise with a world that says do “whatever makes you happy.” Instead submit yourself and your body to God’s plan and ask Him to use you for His glory.

2. I will not submit to unholy ambitions. The second temptation the devil brought to Jesus was for Him to throw Himself off the temple in order to gain popularity with the crowds in a cheap, theatrical way. And this time…the devil even quoted a little Scripture. And what he said to Jesus seems logical. Hadn’t God promised to protect His own Son?

But there was another side to it. Jesus reminded the devil and He reminds us that we are never to put ourselves in a dangerous position by our own foolishness and then expect that God is somehow obligated to save us.

Listen…as long as you are in the will of God and following God’s plan for your life, God will be with you. BUT when you stray from His will in order to satisfy your own ego or some vain ambition, don’t expect God to feel any obligation to rush to your rescue.

Pride is one of the greatest sins. Early Christians listed it as first of the “seven deadly sins.” James Russell Lowell said that “pride and weakness are Siamese twins.” Ben Franklin said, “Pride breakfasted with plenty, dined with poverty, and supped with infamy.”

Wayne Martingale said, “Put first things first and we get second things thrown in: Put second things first and we lose both first and second things.”

Jesus said it this way. “Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.” (Matthew 6:33)

3. I will not worship material things. The third temptation contained no innuendo or nuance. The devil was direct. He said, “Jesus, here’s the bottom line. You put material things first in your life. Sell out your soul, and I will give you the treasures of the world.”

Can the devil actually do that? In a sense, yes he can. When you ignore the Bible and ignore what God teaches and you concentrate solely on the material…for a limited time, you may succeed. BUT eternity is coming! One day you will answer to God.

For a believer – if you try to serve the devil for material gain, God will discipline you! There is a great difference in the way God deals with a believer versus a non-believer. If you claim to be a Christian, and you can continue to sin without discipline from God…then I think you should examine your experience and see if you are truly a born-again believer!

So, what is the best course of action for us when we are tempted? For a lost person, the only course is to repent of sin and trust Jesus Christ as personal Savior. There is no other option. Until you become a Christian, there is no basis for dealing with temptation.

For a Christian, it is different. We have Jesus Christ, our High Priest. The Bible says that He was tempted in all points as we are and yet is without sin. As we live in fellowship with Him and study His Word, He provides us the strength we need to resist the devil.

Remember these words from Billy Graham…

“We can’t flee from temptation in our own strength — but God will give us the strength we need, if we’ll only seek it. A friend of mine says, ‘When the devil knocks, I just send Jesus to the door!'”

Have a great day.

Jesus’ Assumption About My Prayer Life

“But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you.” (Matthew 6:6)

I am fully aware of what happens when we “assume.”I’ve been the beneficiary of the results of assumption more times than I care to even remember. That’s why Matthew 6:6 has always intrigued me so. Read it again…

Jesus makes a great assumption in this verse. He assumes that His followers will give themselves to the discipline of prayer. When you study what our Lord said about prayer, you find that He gave us instructions concerning errors to avoid and procedures to follow when we pray. Jesus warned us against praying like the hypocrites who viewed prayer as an opportunity to make a speech to try and impress God and others. He also warned us against praying like the pagans who repeated many empty phrases in their attempt to impress their “gods” into hearing them.

But this verse (Matthew 6:6) contains an ASSUMPTION about prayer. It’s not a command — it’s an assumption. Jesus said of His followers… “But WHEN you pray…”

The older I get the more I understand the reason for this verse. Jesus knows me better than I know myself and He certainly knows that I should pray — but WHY. Why does Jesus assume that I will pray? I have a little list I have put together. I pray it encourages you to understand the WHY of praying.

Jesus assumed that I would pray…

Because God is my heavenly Father. Jesus prayed because, as the Son of God, He longed for fellowship and for strength that came through talking with His Heavenly Father. He assumed that as a child of God, I would also hunger and thirst for that fellowship and conversation. I don’t approach the throne of God as a beggar looking for a handout…I approach God as one of His needy children seeking fellowship and wisdom from my generous Father.

Because the devil is my enemy. In I Peter 5:8, the Apostle said, “your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.” Boy, ain’t that the truth? Every day I face temptations and trials that the devil attempts to use against me and my witness for Christ. It is only through prayer that God strengthens me to stay on the path He has made for me.

Because life is hard. Suffering and hardship is a part of life — for EVERYBODY. Lost people and saved people have the same difficulties. Again the Apostle Peter reminds me that I can cast my care on the Lord because He cares for me (I Peter 5:7). Over and over again I have learned that if I didn’t have a personal relationship with God through Jesus Christ, this life would be more than I could handle. But through prayer, I am able to face the hardships and difficulties knowing that God is aware of my need and He cares for me.

Because prayer bring me the strength and help of the Lord. If Jesus felt the need to pray, how much more do I need to do the same? Jesus’ conversations with God brought the freshness of God’s grace into His life. The same is true for me. One of my favorite verses is Isaiah 40:31. It says, “But those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.” I could give testimony after testimony from my own life who God has strengthened me and helped me.

I think Matthew 6:6 is a reminder to me that prayer is not just a command — it is an invitation from God. He invites me into His presence and Jesus assumes that once we have tasted the blessings of conversation with our Heavenly Father, we will come back every day.

It’s not a matter of IF I pray, it truly is a matter of WHEN and WHY.

Have a great day.