"It Is Written"
In the wilderness temptation, the Lord Jesus Christ thrice countered Satan's temptations by wielding "the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God" - Ephesians 6:17). "It is written… It is written… It is written" proclaimed our Savior, as even in a state of weakened starvation, He put the devil to flight.
"He answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God… Jesus said unto Him, It is written again, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God. Then saith Jesus unto him, Get thee hence, Satan, for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and Him only shalt thou serve" (Matthew 4:4-10).
Scripture calls us to "walk, even as He walked" (I John 2:6). Thus, we must deal with temptation as did our the Lord Jesus. First, we join the Psalmist: "Thy word have I hid in my heart, that I might not sin against Thee" (Psalm 119:11). Subsequently, in times of challenge, we remove our sword from its sheath, as it were, remembering, affirming, and believing the declarations of Scripture regarding the promises and commands of God. Again, consider the way of the Lord Jesus - "It is written… It is written… It is written."
Such tactics necessitate skill with our weapon. God's Word hidden in the heart becomes God's Word wielded through the leading and enabling of the Holy Spirit. This requires determination and dedication on our part to read, ponder, and assimilate the truths of Scripture. As a voice of old once suggested, "We cannot believe promises and obey commands with which we are unfamiliar." Any warrior will tell us that one must know his weapon well in order to effectively wield it against enemies. "Blessed be the Lord my strength, which teacheth my hands to war and my fingers to fight" (Psalm 144:1).
I find it interesting that the Lord Jesus responded to temptation by pointedly declaring the Biblically declared will of God that specifically countered Satan's challenges. "Command that these stones be made bread" suggested the devil. The Savior thrusted and parried with "Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God that proceedeth out of the mouth of God" (Matthew 4:3-4). He affirmed the will of God and thereby overcame. In the hearts of those devoted to the Lord Jesus, the same strong remembrance and declaration of specific expressions of "It is written" greatly strengthens our resolve to faithful obedience. For example, suppose we are tempted to be less than truthful about a matter. We would do well to counter the challenge with affirmations such as "The Bible commands that we lie not one to another… to let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth… to speak the truth in love" (Colossians 3:9; Ephesians 4:29; 4:15). As with the Lord Jesus, remembrance and affirmation of the truth, consistently applied, leads to more consistent obedience to the truth.
The living Word, the Lord Jesus, overcome temptation by the written Word, the Bible. As those in whom He now lives by His Spirit, we will do the same. We must do the same. "It is written… It is written… It is written."
"By the word of Thy lips I have kept me from the paths of the destroyer."
Weekly Memory Verse
"All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness."
(II Timothy 3:16)
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