We are good at irritating each other. Liberals irritating conservatives, both Christian and political… and the return fire is done with equal zest.
But how about the REAL enemy?
He doesn’t mind if we think he doesn’t exist and we want to go with the mantra, “Evil is the absence of someone doing good.”
As a great professor of mine once said, “Some say there is a devil. Others say there is no such thing. Either way, he doesn’t care.”
I am reflecting on Luke 4, but have moved on past a week in the Temptation in the Wilderness. I am now reflecting on Jesus in the synagogue at Capernaum. Jesus is teaching and then a demon manifests itself through a man sitting there.
I am only reflecting lightly on this passage, but it is my estimation that the man was probably a regular attender of the synagogue. Jesus comes with authority, and the demon manifests. All those other times in the synagogue, not one leader with authority…
The question here today is this: Do I irritate the enemy when I come into a place? I know I irritate other people, but do I irritate the enemy?
Is the presence of Jesus so real in my life that the enemy gets agitated when I’m close to something he’s held on to for a long time?
It’s time to live life on purpose and with power.
5 Next the devil led him to a high place and showed him in a single instant all the kingdoms of the world. 6 The devil said, “I will give you this whole domain and the glory of all these kingdoms. It’s been entrusted to me and I can give it to anyone I want. 7 Therefore, if you will worship me, it will all be yours.”
8 Jesus answered, “It’s written, You will worship the Lord your God and serve only him.” (Luke 4:5-8)
The temptation here is to shortcut the way of the Father. It’s to grab power and authority. The people were expecting a political/military leader. The offer is to use that route to gain popularity and gain the admiration of the people.
But Jesus’ mission wasn’t about grabbing the admiration of the people. It was about turning their expectations back to Kingdom reality. It was about turning their hearts… their allegiance.
We can be tempted to take the shortcut to “power” or “influence.” In that decision, we may be switching allegiances and not even realizing it.
Worship is about allegiance, not how we sing songs on Sunday.
The Spirit has ground my Bible reading to a halt. Not really a halt, but from a fast walk to a crawl. Well, more like a “sit.”
AND he won’t even let me access the one book I know will help me “read” this passage more “clearly.” He actually wants me to stop and listen to him.
Just. Not. Nice.
I have things to do. Books to read. Lists to check off!
And I’m sitting, of all places, in the temptation of Christ.
Thought for this day: the enemy hits the hardest at the very beginning of a spiritual journey, or at the very point of a powerful breakthrough. If he can slap us back into the corner and keep us neutralized, it makes his whole strategy more bearable.
If we break through to victory, we’re assured of a lifelong battle with the enemy. And you’re thinking, “And that’s good news?”
It is, because you know the place of victory and the enemy is now battling you long term when he really wants you sitting in a corner not doing much.
Jesus’ 40 day battle was intense. When the enemy knew he had not cut down Jesus in those 40 days, the road through Jesus’ ministry was not going to be pleasant. And the 2000 plus years since hasn’t been a walk in the park for him, either!
When the battle is the most intense, understand the enemy actually knows the stakes of victory, and he might quite possibly know them better than you.
Do NOT quit.
Jesus returned from the Jordan River full of the Holy Spirit, and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness. 2 There he was tempted for forty days by the devil. He ate nothing during those days and afterward Jesus was starving. (Luke 4:1-2)
FULL of the Spirit, Jesus is led BY the Spirit… into the wilderness.
There are places the Spirit will take us to train us. There are places the Spirit will put us where we need to be trained in hearing God and following God no matter the surrounding circumstances.
When we are fully submitted to that process we also realize we can return in the power of the Spirit as well.