Let me give a disclaimer on the matter of “Spiritual warfare”. I do not, nor will not claim to be an authority, or even very knowledgeable on the matter of the battle which we as Christians must fight everyday if we are to maintain a proper fellowship with the Father and the Son Jesus Christ.
I do believe Jesus taught us by example how to wage this war against the legions of Hell and their Desperator. Since he is the agent of despair, doubt, and fear; and a theif, a murderer, and destroyer I believe the name “Desperator” would fit, though I cannot find this term used in a dictionary. Maybe a new word? Meaning the chief one who causes despair. My focus is not, however, upon him, but rather upon the One who brought about his defeat.
The example of Jesus’s battle with the devil begins with,
“Then was Jesus led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil. And when He had fasted forty days and forty nights, He was afterward an hungred. And when the tempter came to Him, he said, ‘If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread.’ But He answered and said, ‘It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.’ Then the devil taketh Him up into the holy city, and setteth Him on a pinnacle of the temple, and saith unto Him, ‘If Thou be the Son of God, cast Thyself down: for it is written, ‘He shall give His angels charge concerning Thee: and in their hands they shall bear Thee up, lest at any time Thou dash Thy foot against a stone.’ Jesus said unto him, ‘It is written again, ‘Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God.’ Again, the devil taketh Him up into an exceeding high mountain, and sheweth Him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them; and saith unto Him, ‘All these things will I give Thee, if Thou wilt fall down and worship me.’ Then saith Jesus unto him, ‘Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, ‘Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.’ Then the devil leaveth Him, and, behold, angels came and ministered unto Him.” Matthew 4:1-11 (KJV)
Upon reading the passage from Matthew’s gospel we see that in Jesus’s weakness following a 40 day 40 night fast the devil confronts Jesus concerning His identity and person. I heard one preacher put it like this; “In the first temptation the devil attempts to get to His desire for SURVIVAL; in the second he attempts to get to His desire for SECURITY; in the third and final temptation he attempts to get at his desire for SUCCESS. These are seen in each of these temptations.
They are also relevant in light of the temptations which John the apostle mentions…
“For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.” 1 John 2:16
and we find these also in the Garden of Eden as Eve is being tempted of the devil through the serpent.
For the Christian to grow more into the image of Christ Jesus we must be knowledgeable of the Word of God; live by it; make it our life daily; ruminate upon it. In short “Hear, trust, and obey”.
Satan, the devil questions the Sonship of Jesus, “If you are the Son of God…”, then tells him to turn stones into bread to prove it; using the “lust of the flesh” and the need of SURVIVAL, and Jesus responds with Scripture (Deuteronomy 8:3). Then the devil assaults Jesus with a temptation of SECURITY, or “the lust of the eyes”, even using Scripture himself, and once again Jesus quells the temptation with Scripture (Deuteronomy 6:16). At the final temptation the devil uses SUCCESS, or “the pride of life” in offering Jesus the world; with that again Jesus goes to Scripture, and puts the temptation back on the devil from whence it came (Deuteronomy 6:13).
We can learn from this event in the life of Jesus that there are three basic temptations the devil will hurl at us. There are are many sins in this world; but all of them are connected to the three. Jesus gives us a lesson on how to overcome the temptations of the devil. We must be in the Scriptures – both the Old and New Testaments. Remember, the only Bible that Jesus had, and the only Bible the apostles had was the Old Testament; and after the establishment of the Church, then the New Testament.
Without one or both of them we will be defenseless against the evil one. Paul the apostle gives us good advice in Spiritual warfare in Ephesians 6:10-20. I am fearful that we Christians; at least far too many of us have “Walked into the enemies camp, and laid our weapons down”; and to our peril.
Let’s take them up again; beginning with the Word of God, and making it our Word from God daily.
-Tim A. Blankenship