Thursday, July 17, 2014

AN OPPORTUNE TIME

Temptation and persecution, they are a sure thing especially if you are a true believer in Jesus Christ. Matthew 4:3 mentions the devil by one of his many names - "tempter". Christ was tempted. With a fallen angel that does nothing but go around stealing, killing, and destroying God's people and creation - Christians will be tempted too. Christians will also be persecuted because Jesus said, If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also. (John 15:20)

Studying the Temptation of Jesus in Luke 4:1-13 there was something that jumped out at me today that spurred this warning. In this account, having just been filled full of the Holy Spirit, Jesus approaches His 40-day fast in the desert with the enemy of our soul as company. It was not a social call. For our sake Jesus was lead there to be tempted (v.1).

Jesus overcame every obstacle the devil threw at Him with The Written Word of God, which was really the Word of God Himself in flesh - Jesus. So, Jesus was basically quoting Himself (catch that one?). With this Jesus exemplifies how Christians are to combat our times of temptations, whether in a desert or not. We are to declare what God inspired Scripture has said about a certain situation praying that we do not take it out of context.

The other shoe that I am going to drop now comes in the form of the last verse of this passage on the Temptation of Jesus - When the devil had finished all this tempting, he left him until an opportune time. (v.13)

Allow me to bring to your memory some of those other "opportune times" the devil visited Jesus. 
When Jesus spoke to Satan in or through Peter.
  • Jesus turned and said to Peter, "Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the things of God, but the things of men." (Matthew 16:23)
When Jesus told Peter that Satan had asked to sift him.
  • "Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift you as wheat. (Luke 22:31)
When Judas Iscariot was in-dwelt by Satan himself to betray Jesus.
  • Then Satan entered Judas, called Iscariot, one of the Twelve. And Judas went to the chief priests and the officers of the temple guard and discussed with them how he might betray Jesus. They were delighted and agreed to give him money. He consented, and watched for an opportunity to hand Jesus over to them when no crowd was present. (Luke 22:3-6)
Notice how in the last sentence of this last passage (Luke 22:3-6), Satan, now in Judas, is still watching for another opportunity. With all my heart, I encourage you with Peter's penmanship - Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. (1 Peter 5:8) Scripture is filled with charges to guard yourself, especially against the devil's schemes, which in the original Greek is mind games (Ephesians 6:11). So, don't be the one the devil is "looking for someone to devour", don't be An Opportune Time.