As Jesus actively embarked on His earthly mission, He was led by the Spirit. A lot of people talk about being led by the Spirit, a very good thing. The Spirit led Him into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. He was at the end of a forty day fast and “…then became hungry” (I’m relatively certain my hunger would have kicked in forty minutes into the fast). Satan, “the tempter,” began his attempt to distract Jesus from His mission. The first effort involved identifying a “weak” point, in this case hunger, and an attempt to convince Him to selfishly use powers at His disposal to satisfy this hunger, to take His eyes off His Father and put them on His need (something much of our current, pop religion is all about). This is Satan’s effort to use the desire of the flesh as a temptation to operate beyond appropriate parameters. Jesus was prepared. “Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God.” In other words, “We are to do what God tells us, not what our flesh tells us.” Are there ways and times to satisfy the desire of the flesh? Yes, within parameters revealed by the Designer.
Recognizing that Jesus referenced a truth associated with a lesson Israel had learned when they were in the wilderness (consider Dt.8:3), Satan decided he had to use distorted truth to deceive Jesus. Referencing a statement found in Psalm 91, Satan attempted to get Jesus to commit an unnecessary, foolish act to prove His importance. This is a temptation designed to appeal to the pride of life. Jesus, again, was prepared. Once more Jesus recalled a lesson Israel, and specifically Moses, had learned in the wilderness (see Ex.17:2 and Dt.6:16). “You shall not put the Lord your God to the test.” In other words. “Don’t play games with God; don’t do stupid stuff with a selfish motive in order to get a reaction from God to prove what a spiritual big-shot you are.”
Next, Satan, tapping into the desire of the eyes, had Jesus look at all He would gain if He would commit His allegiance to him. There was no argument from Jesus about Satan exercising some sort of authority over these kingdoms. Paul refers to Satan as “the god of this world” (2 Co.4:4). Jesus responded by declaring that He knew who the rightful Master of man is, referring again to a lesson learned in the exodus (Ex.23:25, Dt.6:13 and 10:20), as He stated, “You shall worship the Lord your God, and serve Him only.” At this point, “the devil left Him.”
“…lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith…” (He.12:1-2).
“Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord; seeing that His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence” (2Pe 1:2-3).
Victory over the world, the flesh and the devil is available as part of God’s redemptive deliverance as “…we are to grow up in all aspects into Him who is the head, even Christ…” (Ep.4:15), wisely navigating Satan’s personalized batch (designed just for you and your tendencies) of the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the boastful pride of life.”