Before You Sign the Deal, Ask for Proof of Ownership
by Chris Courtney
“All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.” – Matthew 28:18b (NIV)
Take a moment and go grab your Bible. Go ahead. We’ll wait.
Got it? Good. Turn to Matthew 3:13 and read to Matthew 4:11.
At the end of Matthew 3, we see the glorious moment of Jesus’ baptism. We witness the humility of John the Baptist, the faithfulness of Christ, the glory of the Father, the power of the Holy Spirit… This is My Son, in Whom I am well pleased.
How often have you heard of people accepting Christ and then, almost immediately afterward, having life hit the fan? Troubles, hardships… I have heard it said many times that if your life is going smooth in all areas with no problems or difficulties, you’re no threat to the devil. Which means it is time to reassess your life and whether or not you are living for the Lord.
I’ll buy that. However, we shouldn’t be so quick to give the devil the credit. Look at Matthew 4:1. Who led Jesus into the desert? Satan didn’t lure Him away. The Spirit led Him there. And the enemy went after Jesus, attacking by attempting to appease His most base human desires: fulfillment of physical need, power to do anything, glory to reign over all! The devil promised to give Jesus all these things.
Here’s the catch: they were never Satan’s to give in the first place. Oh! The delusion of ego… And the devil probably thought he had Christ up against the ropes. Forty days is a very, very long time to go without food. Consider this: in the early 1980’s, hunger-striking prisoners in Northern Ireland generally survived 46-72 days without food. This means Jesus was right on the edge of starvation.
But understand… the Spirit led Him into this desert. But He didn’t abandon Jesus there. The Lord was greatly tempted, but He never succumbed. Not to sin. Not to starvation. He hung tough. For every empty offer of the enemy, Jesus spoke Truth. He knew by faith, not by circumstances, what was true and right.
And – see this – “then the devil left him, and behold, angels came and were ministering to him: (Matthew 4:11, NIV). Decades later, James shared this truth thusly: Therefore it says, “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you” (James 4”6b-8a, NIV).
The lesson here is simply this:
5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. 6 In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. 7 Be not wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord, and turn away from evil. 8 It will be healing to your flesh and refreshment to your bones – Proverbs 3:5-8 (NIV).
Don’t look at the circumstances and fear them. Don’t be quick to the devil his due, because you owe him nothing. And he has nothing to offer. His deals are empty and false.
Trust in the LORD. He will save you at just the right moment. What you are facing right now may well be a test. Even Jesus Christ was tempted and tested. What makes any of us think we are worthy to escape the same?
Resist the devil. He will flee. He is a defeated foe. You are a child of the One True God. Fear nothing. Embrace Christ. Walk out your life with great faith and joy, trusting in His love and grace, knowing that – good times and hard – God is in control and you are not.
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(c) 2014 by Chris Courtney. All rights reserved.
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