January 10, 2012 Devotion Sharing (Luke 4)

Submitted by Helen P. from Gracepoint Berkeley Church

REFLECTION QUESTIONS

Luke 4:3-12

·       What was Jesus’ basis for responding to each of Satan’s temptations?  Jesus’ basis for responding to each of Satan’s temptations was to show the devil that rather than taking matters into his own hands he trusted in God.  He resisted each of the temptations by quoting scripture, reaffirming his trust in God’s words.

·       When I face adversity or personal struggles, what/who do I turn to for answers? As I get older, when I face adversity or personal struggles in my life I see that worrying is not going to help me. Worrying and trying to take matters into my own hands, trying to solve my own problems is just going to cause me to be more paralyzed, fearful, and self-focused.  I’ve learned that turning to God’s Word and the people of God is the best way to deal with adversity and personal struggles.  I’ve come to realize more and more that I don’t really know much, plus my emotions and feelings are not reliable, they are fickle, and the only thing that is constant, unchangeable and can turn my crooked thoughts straight again is God’s word.  I am thankful that I can go to God’s word and the assembly of the righteous, whether it be my leaders, older sisters and brothers, and peers to help me through those tough times.

·       What are the areas in my life in which I need to experience victory through the word of God? One area that I need to continually experience victory through the word of God is as I daily confess my sins to God.  As I am confronted with sins in my life, and often times the same sins, I get discouraged or think ‘when am I ever going to be freed from this sin/struggle’.  It’s during these times, when Satan’s voice of discouragement or words of despair fill my heart and mind that I need to experience victory through God’s word. I’m thankful that our key verse for this year is John 8:32 “Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”  Though confession is hard, I want to strive to obey this verse this year and really experience freedom and forgiveness that comes through acknowledging and confessing the truth, and really claim God’s word and His promises as I humbly confess my sins.

Luke 4:5-8

·       What was promised to Jesus in the second temptation?   Jesus was promised authority and splendor of all the kingdoms of the world.  The devil used temptations like this one to question Jesus’ identity.  He made it seem like if Jesus just worshipped the devil, then in an instant he can have power and authority over all the kingdoms of the world.  The devil tried to get Jesus to use shortcuts to accomplish his call as messiah. But Jesus knew that one day he would rule over the kingdoms of the earth.

One commentator notes, “Though Satan possesses great authority, he really cannot grant his wish.  The proposal is a delusion and a lie, as are all of Satan’s attempts to get us off track…. There is no quick and easy road to messianic glory or to spiritual survival in a hostile world.” 

·       What are some shortcuts and false promises that I have heard that I am tempted to believe?  Satan has tempted me to believe that rather than going through the hard work of honestly considering, acknowledging and confessing sins, and going through the repentance process, Satan tells me “You don’t need to go through all this.  Why fast?  Why do you keep praying…it’s not going to make things better. Why go through all this mourning and feeling bad over your sins.  All this struggling is worthless…”  I’ve heard this before and it’s actually discouraged me a lot in the past when I was faced with struggling with a lot of sin in my life.  Going the easy route of not struggling and just giving up, not thinking about my relationship with God and how my actions affect God sounds so tempting, but ultimately not reconciling with God is going to lead to me perishing and actually being more enslaved and trapped by my sins.

Luke 4:12-13

·       Given that even Jesus was tempted, what should my expectation be about being subjected to temptation? I am going to be tempted, subjected to Satan’s voices and counsel.  I’m reminded of what Pastor Ed said this past Sunday about the counsel of the wicked; Satan is constantly giving us counsel day in and day out.  Whether we want to or not, we end up meditating on the counsel of the wicked.  That is Satan’s goal, for us to listen and meditate on his words rather than the law of the Lord.  And the sad thing is that Satan is good at getting us to do that.  The fact that Satan is constantly feeding us his counsel was a scary thought, but all the more made me want to be very intentional about meditating on God’s word so that I can combat Satan’s temptations, like Jesus did.  Jesus was not shaken by Satan’s taunts because he knew the word of God; in an instant Jesus was able to respond to Satan with the word of God.  I need to and want to have that kind of steadfastness when faced with Satan’s temptations.

·       Although we do not face the exact same temptations, Satan employs similar ploys for everyone.  What is Satan’s ploy in each of the temptations Jesus faced?   Satan tries to convince us that we don’t need the word of God, that when we take control of our lives, we can have power and authority.  He wants us to think that we know what’s best for our lives. He tries to get us to test God’s authority over our lives and in turn make us think that we don’t need to submit to God’s ways.  The reality is that when we don’t submit to God, that’s when we will actually experience lack of control and security in our lives.

·       What does Satan want to do to my relationship with God each time he tempts me? Satan wants to do whatever it takes to sever my relationship with God. He wants me to not believe in Jesus’ promises and to follow his ways.  Satan coaxes me to believe him and to THINK that I have control over my life, that when I call all the shots in my life, then that’s when I’m really living.  The reality is that when I follow his ways, I’m not living. Ultimately when I obey the devil’s counsel and follow his ways, it’s going to lead to my destruction, I won’t live, and I will be miserable. Sadly, that’s what Satan wants to see.  I can just picture him laughing when he succeeds and sees that yet again, someone fell for his tactics.

PERSONAL PRAYER                                                           

·       Please write out a prayer of commitment or confession either based on today’s text, or upon reflection over recent events in your life.

Heavenly Father, thank you for this warning today.  Help me to remain steadfast to your words so that I can combat Satan’s counsel and temptations daily.  I want to hide your words in my heart so that I don’t sin against you (Psalm 119:11). Please help me to do so so that I don’t get swept up by the winds of Satan and his voices that often times seem so strong.  Thank you for your Word; it’s your word that will help me to be anchored and rooted and to save me during times of adversity and personal struggle in my life.  Please give me focus and self-control so that when temptations come, I will be ready to fight them with your words.  In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

Submitted by Chris P. from Gracepoint Berkeley Church

SELF STUDY FORMAT

13 When the devil had finished all this tempting, he left him until an opportune time.

Even Jesus was tempted by Satan. Satan waited for a chance to tempt Jesus. After Jesus had not eaten for forty days and he was famished. It was at THAT time, when Satan came to tempt Jesus. One thing you see from this is how smart the devil is. The devil waits and waits until an opportune time, then comes to tempt you. If even Jesus was tempted by the devil, then it definitely means that we will also face tests, trials and temptations. It’s not so much of a question of if we will be tempted as it is a question of when we will be tempted. Sooner or later we will be tempted. In our best moments, we can see clearly and recognize right from wrong. However Satan isn’t going to come when we feel at our strongest. Instead he is going to come when we are feeling weak, feeling tired, feeling hungry. It is in our weakest moments that Satan will try to take advantage of an opportune time to tempt us.  It’s when I fail something and I feel discouraged. It’s when I didn’t do as well on a test as I had thought. It’s when there was a ton of things to do and I hadn’t been getting enough sleep for several days in a row. It is when there is relational tension with a friend that I can’t get out of my head. It is during these times that Satan will come and tempt me with solutions to ease the feeling of stress and burden. Satan tries to get me to turn to ANYTHING besides God.

So knowing that these temptations are going to surely come, what do I need to do now?  People keep on telling me that as you get older, life only gets busier and more and more stressed. You keep on adding on more and more responsibilities as you get older. There will be more and more things to worry about and I’m sure there are going to be moments of crisis to come where I feel weak. In a few months when I get married, I’m afraid that it will become yet another one of those opportune times for Satan to tempt me to turn away from God because it is such a huge transition year. With the transition there will many more new stresses that I had not experienced before. When I get married, I might also face whole new ways of temptation from Satan that I had not felt before. Satan could possibly tempt me to hoard my time and live a comfortable life in marriage. Satan could tempt me to slow down in ministry and be selfish. Satan could tempt me to find comfort ONLY in marriage rather than in God. Right now, it is easy to say that I’m going to still live for God with the same level of zeal, but in those weak moments when I don’t feel so strong, it’s going to be a battle. So right now what I need to do is prepare myself for those times. I need to equip myself right now so that when those temptations come, I will be equipped and ready to refute Satan’s lies to live for Comfort rather than live as a disciple of Christ; trying to love others who are in need. Jesus refuted Satan 3 times by stating “It is written… It is written… It says”. In those moments of temptations, Jesus refuted Satan’s lies with God’s truth. God’s words are powerful because it enables you to speak truth even in the face of something that sounds so tempting. But the thing is that when the temptations come, it might be too late unless I have God’s words ready to use. So right now, I need to fill my head with God’s words. ONE very clear way to do that? I really need to be more faithful and more intense during DT times. There are so many days that I do sit down to do DT, but out of mental laziness I don’t engage God through his words.  I REALLY NEED to take DT seriously right now when the times are good so that I can be filled and anchored down when the times of temptation come. I need to fill myself with God’s truths NOW so that I can clearly refute Satan’s lies in the times of trial.

 

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