It’s been a week since I started lent (gave up dating and secular music) and began my online devotional (shereadstruth.com) and all I can say is wow. I’ve been wrecked. And it’s been tough. I didn’t think it would be but I’ve been able to learn a lot about myself which I hope to write more on at the end of this journey. The not listening to secular music has been easier and I’ve actually really enjoyed the times alone with God and just worshipping Him while driving. I didn’t realize how much those short times have an impact on my life and my day. The no dating hasn’t been hard in and of itself but it’s challenged me. Not only am I not dating, I am also trying not to engage with guys- flirting and what not. This has been the hard part. There are still a few guy friends I talk to and hang out with but even this has lessened for me. If I’m completely honest with myself, I didn’t realize how much I use guys to feed my ego. The attention is addicting and I am definitely suffering from withdrawals. I like it though because it’s pushed me to God- where I get real love rather than fleeting moments of counterfeit satisfaction. And those moments are what leave me speechless and in awe of God’s amazing love for me.
I don’t know if it’s me or the study, but I keep progressively getting more out of each of my day’s study and quiet time. Normally I’ll post a snippet of what I got out of the day’s study on my Instagram but yesterday’s was so much that I decided to do a blog post.
Matthew 4:1-11. This was part of the reading yesterday and it is probably one of my most favorite passages. It’s the time when Jesus goes to fast and pray alone for 40 days. Just Him and God. And this is when the devil comes to tempt, as well. While reading these scriptures, I noticed a theme in the way the devil attacked Jesus that I think is very real and applicable to how he attacks and tempts us today. I believe if we can be proactive and more aware then we can better avoid the temptations that come our way. The scripture says to be as wise as serpents and as innocent as doves. The devil is sneaky and will slide into your life with any opening you give him. Hopefully what I learned can help you in your walk with the Lord as much as it’s helped me.
- Lusts of the flesh. He will attack you where you are the weakest. Do you know where your weak areas are? Do you know what tends to keep you away from God? That is where the devil will try to come in. Jesus had just fasted for 40 days and what does the devil try to get Him to do? Turn stones into bread for food. Hunger was what Jesus was feeling at that time. He must have been starving. And there is where satan decided to try and swoop in. Guard against your weak areas.
- To take advantage of God’s goodness. For Christians, the so called “good Christians, this one can be easy to miss. The second temptation Jesus received was to throw Himself down because God promises to protect us. Wow. Have you ever been in a situation you know you shouldn’t have been in or done something you know you shouldn’t have because you knew God would love you anyway? Because you knew He would forgive you? This insight pierced my heart as I realized how spoiled I have acted at times.
- Me>God instead of God>me. The last attempt the devil uses to tempt Jesus is to try and get Jesus to love Himself more than God. This is where our humility and humbleness is so important. Do we trust God enough to know that He loves us? To know that He knows and wants what’s best for us more than we do? And what I believe is most important- do we love God enough to keep Him first when we are tempted to put our desires and wants (for the moment) ahead of Him? This would be a no brainer if we really could even fathom how much the God of the universe loves us but it doesn’t keep the devil from trying.
I encourage you to spend some time to dwell on those three areas and see what God shows you. The part I love most about this short passage is the last verse “ then the devil left Him…” The devil will leave. The devil is no match for our God but we have to make sure we are utilizing the power of God. I have to draw close to the Lord everyday to be strengthened. I have no shame in acknowledging that I am totally dependent on Him. He is what makes life worth living and His love is what keeps me smiling. Continue to change my heart, Lord. My flesh may fight but oh how my soul yearns for You.