February 25, 2024 | Doug Sauder
Watch our most recent mid-week message here.
We're so glad you're taking a next step to get connected! Login or create your Calvary account below.
Don’t have an account? Sign up ›
“Again, the devil . . .”—Matthew 4:8 (NIV)
“Again, the devil . . .” That’s how today’s devotional begins. And in many respects, it’s the “big idea” we’ll land on when all is said and done. To set the stage, we’re in the thick of Jesus’ temptation in the wilderness. Satan has already mounted two attacks against Him, both intended to lead Him away from the perfect path of devotion to His Father.
The first attack was leveled against Christ’s natural need for food after fasting for forty days. In His extreme hunger, Satan challenges Jesus to use His divine powers to transform rocks into loaves of bread. The problem with that; however, is that this would be drawing on divine resources that weren’t meant for such a miracle. It makes sense to us, but it wasn’t His Father’s will, so Jesus stands His ground.
The second attack was aimed at His sense of identity as Satan challenges Jesus to jump from a deathly height in order to prove the Father’s providential love for Him as His Son. Again, Jesus stood His ground because such a test wasn’t in His Father’s will.
Now comes a third attack: “Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. ‘All this I will give you,’ he said, ‘if you will bow down and worship me.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Away from me, Satan! For it is written: “Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.”’ Then the devil left him, and angels came and attended him” (Matthew 4:8–11 NIV).
Notice how Satan tries to appeal to a sense of self-exaltation in Jesus. “You can have all the glories of this world . . . everything! There’s just this one little asterisk in the fine print where You just worship me first.” That certainly wasn’t part of the Father’s will, and Jesus resists the devil, yet again.
There’s that word, again . . . again. And it comes into play because even though the devil left him after this third attack, the spiritual battle is far from over. It’s actually just begun, because here’s the insight that Luke’s Gospel gives us, “When the devil had finished all this tempting, he left him until an opportune time” (Luke 4:13 NIV).
Satan had only left temporarily. He retreated for a season in order to launch a more strategic assault; and we’ll witness it as we move closer and closer to the cross. But for now, we need to see and be alert to Satan’s persistence. He’s relentless and won’t give up on tempting God’s people until we’re free from Earth’s jurisdiction. Rest assured, there will always be an “again” when it comes to the devil’s attacks.
This is meant to warn us but not worry us. By that I mean this: While we can be sure Satan will always have something in the works to bring us down, we can be equally certain that God has made perfect provision to lift us up. As a matter of fact, as Christians, we have the same weapon Jesus had when He successfully overcame the enemy—God’s Word. The Scriptures were used to counter each satanic assault. They proved sufficient then, and they’re just as efficient now.
When you’re faced with the devil’s “again,” rely on “it is written.” Know it, trust it, apply it, and you’ll see that God’s Word is always equal to the task and temptation!
Pause: What can we be certain of when it comes to Satan’s attacks?
Practice: Come up with practical ways you can integrate God’s Word in response to the spiritual attacks you’re sure to face.
Pray: Father, thank You for giving us Your Son and for His example of allowing Your Word to fend off the spiritual attacks of Satan. Help us to take His victory to heart and to follow His lead as we allow Your Word to lead us in spiritual victory over the enemy. Amen!
Pastor Dan Hickling serves our online community, also known as the Calvary Chapel Online Campus. He and his wife Becky have been married for 22 years and have two children, Lauren and Danny. Both Dan and Becky have been part of the CCFL church family for 22 years and have served in full time ministry for 20 of those years.