Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led around by the Spirit in the wilderness for forty days, being tempted by the devil.
One of the surest evidences for the reality of Satan is the clever way he has caused society to mock him rather than fear him. Images of a little man, dressed in a red suit with horns, who runs around poking people with a pitchfork bring a smile to most faces. And what a clever device of the enemy! If we can laugh at him, then we don’t need to fear him. Even Christians today, when they hear a phrase like “the devil made me do it,” tend to treat it in a lighthearted, joking way.
But as one whose vocation requires him to spend a lot of time in the spiritual emergency room, let me assure you there is nothing funny about Satan and his attacks. Addictions, depression, the destruction of families, and even death are just some of the consequences of following Satan’s way instead of God’s way. Sin is no laughing matter.
I was reminded of the destructive power of sin when I read the account of how an Eskimo goes about killing a wolf. When the Eskimos want to kill a wolf they take a long knife with a sharp blade, coat the blade with the blood of a dead animal, and then let that blood dry. They put a second coat of blood on it and let it dry, and then a third coat and a fourth coat, until the knife blade is concealed by the blood of other animals. They then take that blade and stick it upright into the frozen ground. The wolf, attracted by the scent of blood, starts licking that blade not knowing what’s underneath. And as that warm blood begins to satisfy the animal’s craving, the wolf begins to lick more and more and more vigorously until it doesn’t notice the point at which it starts to feel the sharp sting of the knife against its tongue. Nor does the wolf recognize the moment when no longer is it consuming something else’s blood, but it is swallowing its own warm blood. The next morning the Eskimo will come and find the carcass of that wolf lying beside the blade. What a perfect picture of sin.
Sin will never satisfy your deepest hunger. All it does is increase your craving, making you want more and more until eventually you are consumed by your own desires. And sin, like that knife blade, never appears as it really is. Instead, Satan cleverly wraps that blade; he conceals it in a temptation–something appealing that is tailor-made to our individual desires. That’s why it is vital that we learn to recognize sin for what it really is. If we are going to be successful in combating the destructive power of sin, then we need to recognize temptation and know how to deal with it.
Jesus’s experience in the wilderness with Satan gives us some encouragement but also some instruction for what to do when the devil rings the doorbell in our lives.
Today’s devotion is excerpted from “When the Devil Comes Knocking” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2004.
Scripture quotations are taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.