Negotiations often reach a stage where one party becomes frustrated with the games being played. Someone eventually blurts out: “Okay, give us your bottom line. What is the absolute minimum you want out of all this?” That question wasn’t asked in Matthew 4, but had it been asked, the answer couldn’t have been clearer. In 2018, every Christian needs to know that Satan’s bottom line hasn’t changed.
When Satan met Jesus in the wilderness he had one and only one objective. He knew what his bottom-line was. And be sure of this: he has a bottom-line in his strategies today. He may come at us from different angles and use different approaches – some more subtle than others. But his bottom-line is always the same.
Turning stones into bread at a time when Christ was hungry did not seem particularly evil. What’s the harm in it? In fact, with hunger pains gnawing in his stomach after forty days of not eating, naturally speaking, it would seem to be somewhat legitimate.
Taking the Saviour to the top of the temple and then telling Him to jump, didn’t seem to be a terribly sinister temptation; maybe a frivolous and unnecessary thing – but wasn’t it a rather innocent little temptation? “Jump and the angels will keep You from getting scratched or bruised.”
What’s going on here? What does the Enemy have up his sleeve? What’s his ultimate objective? What’s his bottom line? He has the same bottom line for every believer today.
The gloves come off in the third temptation. You don’t have to second guess where he is coming from now or what he’s up to anymore.
Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. And he said to him, “All these I will give you, if you will fall down and worship me.” Then Jesus said to him, “Be gone, Satan! For it is written, “‘You shall worship the Lord your God and him only shall you serve.'” Matthew 4:8-10
In my life, there are things that come up in the run of a day that may seem legitimate and justifiable. Other things come into our lives that seem rather harmless – just a bit of fun with no long-term ramifications. But beware! Satan has one objective for me and he has the same bottom line for you. He wants us to fall down.
Satan will use custom-designed temptations to bring us to the brink for the big fall – for the tumble. Sometimes he’ll do it incrementally; he doesn’t really care how long it takes – as long as he succeeds. Other times he will move swiftly like an eagle diving for its prey. The temptation could either be subtle, slow and suggestive or blatant, bold and brash.
Remember every time we cave-in to a temptation, even if we don’t go all the way, we have at least sent him a positive response. We have nibbled at his bait. It’s worth his while to keep at us. We’ve encouraged him by signalling we are vulnerable and that we may eventually fall down.
Read Matthew 4. Our Lord Jesus Christ never gave Satan an inch or a centimeter! Not one positive response. He countered each temptation with the might and power of the Word of God. May we do the same today. “Resist the devil. And he will flee from you.” James 4:7
Walk carefully and closely with the Lord today.
Warmly in Christ
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