"It is written." These words silenced Satan during one of the most unique spiritual battles of all time when Jesus faced him in the wilderness—and these are the words we, too, can rely on when we face temptation.
To win like Jesus, we must echo His words.
With each temptation, Satan seeks to move us from the love of God and His Word to self-love. His one overriding purpose? To frustrate the plan of God and usurp the power of God. But don't be discouraged—there is a way to triumph over temptation. To win like Jesus, we must echo His words: "It is written."
Read Matthew 4:1-11. Just before His encounter with Satan, before His forty-day fast, Jesus was baptized. Though He was sinless, Jesus wanted to identify with us. He was fully man and would be tempted in every way. But His baptism also served as His commissioning as the Messiah—for He was also fully God. This was God the Father's declaration of the royalty of Jesus: "This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased" (Matthew 3:17).
Immediately following this momentous event, Satan came lurking. But Jesus was prepared. In order to demonstrate His authority over Satan and to show us how to overcome sin, He went into the wilderness knowing He was going to be tempted by Satan.
It is not wrong to be tempted. We should expect it and prepare for it as Christ has shown us. For Satan knows exactly what temptations will play to our weaknesses. We can't stop the temptation from coming, but we can be on guard for it, ready to flee, just as Martin Luther said, "[Y]ou cannot prevent the birds from flying in the air over your head, but you can prevent them from building a nest in your hair."
How exactly do we flee temptation? We must remember that our victory or failure in temptation has nothing to do with our environment, but everything to do with the way we choose to respond to the temptation itself. The first Adam lost to Satan in a perfect place—the Garden of Eden—but the last Adam defeated Satan in the worst of places—the wilderness. Yet Jesus responded to the temptations of Satan with complete confidence and submission to the will of God the Father, answering every attack with the Word of God: "It is written." This is where we, too, find our strength—not in ourselves but in Christ, the Word made flesh. Abide in Him and cling to His Truth, and you will have the victory.
Prayer: Lord, thank You for showing me the way to win in every temptation—with Your Word and Your Spirit as my shield and my fortress to which I will run at every attack. Help me to not grow weary. I pray in the name of Jesus. Amen.
"I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing" (John 15:5).