Winning In The Valley

"Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, left the Jordan and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness," (Luke 4:1)

Why does the Holy Spirit lead us into the battlefield? If we are filled with the Holy Spirit, our lives will be directed to the combat field, not to destroy us, but so we receive victory. If we face a trial, don’t be afraid and discouraged. If the Holy Spirit is with us, we will win. The Holy Spirit knows what we are facing. Believe that something good will happen. Trust in His guidance, for He has never wrongly guided us.

1. The devil can test us through our basic needs.

"Where for forty days he was tempted by the devil. He ate nothing during those days, and at the end of them he was hungry. The devil said to him, “If you are the Son of God, tell this stone to become bread.” Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone.’” (Luke 4:2) 

For us, this temptation may not be relevant since we can’t turn stones into bread. But for Jesus, it’s relevant, because He could do it, but didn’t want to.

We face temptation when we can do something, but we decide not to because God is not pleased. If we are tempted but have not done anything, quickly ask God for help before it’s too late.

The devil attacks God, not us. The devil makes us feel uncertain, suspicious, or doubtful towards God.

Be careful, even though God hasn’t provided for our needs, we should not compromise our faith or avoid God’s Word. Don’t trade God for the fulfilment of our needs. Remember the eternity. At the end, Jesus could finally eat, but He ate from the blessings of the Father, not from compromised faith. Therefore, have patience in temptations.

2. The devil can test us through our desires

"The devil led him up to a high place and showed him in an instant all the kingdoms of the world. And he said to him, “I will give you all their authority and splendor; it has been given to me, and I can give it to anyone I want to. If you worship me, it will all be yours.” Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God and serve him only.’” (Luke 4:5 )

The “high place” mentioned here is a place that was usually used to worship idols. Our desires can become our idols. Make sure that we subdue our desires to God. Transform our heart so that it’s not filled with desires that can replace God easily. Take delight in the LORD, and He will give us the desires of our heart. God pays attention to our desires as well.

Sometimes we do not realize that the devil is tempting us. The desires to back down, die, give up, take revenge, or to sin are all from the devil.

When we are struggling with such thoughts, respond to them as briefly, shortly, and wisely as Jesus did, which is by affirming that they do not align with God’s Word and rebuke them in the name of Jesus.

3. The enemy can test us by disrupting our self-esteem

"The devil led him to Jerusalem and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. “If you are the Son of God,” he said, “throw yourself down from here. For it is written: “‘He will command his angels concerning you to guard you carefully; they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.” Jesus answered, “It is said: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.” (Luke 4:9)

Similar to Jesus who was taken to the temple and was tempted, even in the church, there can still be trials. As long as we are human, we must be watchful. Live by the spirit and not by the flesh.

The devil made use of God’s Word to bring Jesus down. The context of the verse that’s about how angels will guard and lift you in their hands is not about jumping from a high place, but walking in God’s plan. Study God’s Word, but do not exploit it. God’s Word has authority over us, not below us.

Do not test God and get ahead of Him. Do not complicate this life because faith is simple. We just have to obey and believe.

Listen attentively, this is also for the temptation to commit suicide. Some want to commit suicide, not because of hardship, but because of fear towards what others might say about them, and they strongly hold onto their own prestige and ego. Self-esteem is so slippery it can make us slip to death.

3. Do not live for pride, for glory, for our face. Look to God’s face instead.

"When the devil had finished all this tempting, he left Him until an opportune time." (Luke 4:13)

Pay attention that the devil “left Him until an opportune time”. As long as we live, we must always be watchful and vigilant. The devil is always searching for a chance to bring us down. Keep on drawing near to God, and always walk with the Holy Spirit. With Jesus, we will win!

Excerpted from Ps. Philip Mantofa's Sermon, Youtube & Instagram Live, 29 July 2020