We've all heard about Jesus being tempted by Satan and about his 40-day fast, but a little phrase caught my eye that adds a new dimension to it.
Matthew 4:1 says Jesus was led into the wilderness by the Spirit "to be tempted by the devil." I'd never thought about the fact that he went there for that purpose. He knew as he trudged over the rocky crags and left civilization behind that he was about to encounter his archenemy face-to-face. And he had to win or all creation would be condemned forever. Your fate and mine rested in his meeting Evil head-on and finding the power to resist.
Have you ever thought about your challenges that way? Have you ever considered that while you are doing your best to follow the plan of God for your life, that plan may be leading you directly into Satan's path? When we suspect a trap, we usually bolt and run the other way. Surely God would never want us to tread that close to temptation. Or would he?
It's important to note that Jesus didn't seek Satan, didn't tread in his territory, didn't go looking for it, but temptation came to him. And he was prepared. Knowing what was coming, he prepared himself with fasting and prayer.
I've always wondered at that too. He was God's Son, yet even he did not feel adequate to face the ultimate evil without equipping himself with the fullness of God's power.
So why do we do less? Why should we think for a moment that we are any match for temptation on our own? Why do we so arrogantly think we can live the way God wants us to in our own strength? We toss token prayers toward the sky, dutifully run through our list of Christian do's and don'ts, and think we're equipped to resist evil. And Satan laughs.
If we had any inkling of what goes on night and day in the spiritual realm, it would probably terrify us. Maybe we should be terrified. If we saw how much ground we were losing every day to evil without even realizing it, we would be stunned.
But it might change us.
Ponder this today: If the Son of God had to spend 40 days gaining strength to resist Satan, then what are you doing to equip yourself?