The Power of Suggestion

Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan, and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness for forty days, being tempted by the devil. He ate nothing in those days. Afterward, when they were completed, he was hungry. The devil said to him, 'If you are the Son of God, command this stone to become bread.' Jesus answered him, saying, 'It is written, 'Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God.' Luke 4:1 WEB

Jesus heard His Heavenly Father speaking right after He was baptized in the Jordan river when a voice came from heaven saying: 'You are my beloved Son; with You I am well pleased' (Luke 3:22). Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness, and there He fasted forty days.

When Jesus was weak from hunger, the devil came to test Him. The first temptation was 'If You are the Son of God, command this stone to become bread.' The devil saw that Jesus was hungry, and he thought it might be an opening, a crack in His armor. Also, he brought into question whether Jesus was actually the Son of God in order to instill a little doubt and confusion.

Now Jesus had already heard a voice speaking to Him during His baptism at the river, but now here is another voice speaking to Him in the desert, or is it the same one? Are they from the same source? Should He turn this stone into bread? Jesus needed to know whether this voice was God speaking to Him again, or a counterfeit. So He turned to the scriptures and His answer came from Deuteronomy 8:3. In short, whatever does not agree with scripture, does not come from God. The word of God is our anchor of truth that we must judge all things by.

The next temptation was a chance to set up an earthly kingdom even more powerful than the Roman empire. All of it could be given to Jesus here and now, if Jesus would only worship him. It was a legitimate desire. Jesus could set up a government that truly cared about the people and He could do a lot of good through it, but this was a compromise and it would mean using the world's methods. He would have to turn His back on His calling. Once again Jesus turned to scripture and quoted Deuteronomy 6:13, decisively rejecting the offer.

The third suggestion was to perform a miracle by casting Himself off the temple, possibly to make people believe in Him, but also to prove that He is the Son of God. It is worth noting that this time, satan quotes scripture to Jesus (Psalm 91:11). Jesus again refers to scripture and quotes Deuteronomy 6:16. In all of this temptation, satan can only 'suggest' that Jesus should do something. It was entirely up to Jesus to decide whether to perform the act or not. When all his tricks failed, the devil left Him until a more 'opportune' time.

The devil 'suggested' things to Jesus, but he could not get around the clear word of God when directly confronted with it from a person that would not compromise. A person who's no actually meant no, and not maybe. Though he would have loved to, satan was unable to make Jesus do anything. He was limited to the power of suggestion.

Jesus was also obeying the scriptures. Telling the devil to flee when you are friends with him will not work. You have be committed to God first, and then resist the temptation, then he will flee just as He left Jesus. 'Be subject therefore to God. But resist the devil, and he will flee from you' (James 4:7).

If you have something that bothers you and will not go away, or have feelings of worthlessness, shame, or you are being tempted to do wrong, or you are full of fear, then find a scripture that counters it and memorize it. Say it out loud through out the day. We all have our own weaknesses. Find a scripture that addresses it and stand on it, quote it to him. It is amazing what the light of scripture will do to the kingdom of darkness.

Prayer: Heavenly Father I pray that You bring me the scriptures that I need to stand on and help me beat this for I put my trust in You. Please teach me Your word and help me understand my role in this. Help me see the big picture, in the name of Jesus Christ I pray. Amen!

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