For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil. I John 3:8
That is a thought provoking verse ~ that Jesus came to earth to destroy the works of the devil. Wait, didn’t he come to die to redeem mankind? Yes. But God’s over-arching mission was that the works of the devil might be destroyed through Jesus’ incarnation, through His survival as a toddler under Herod’s murderous rampage, through the crucifixion of the innocent Lamb, and through His resurrection unto glory. Throughout His ministry, Jesus didn’t ignore His enemy. He engaged him by often imposing limits on his freedom. (“Do this, not that, go here, not there. Be quiet!”) He engaged him, too, by the relentless deliverance of people from sickness and demon possession.
And, Jesus engaged Satan in the desert ~ ever giving us a template for how to handle temptation. (Luke 4) Jesus looked behind Satan’s smokescreen, identified the real intent, and quoted appropriate scripture.
- Satan said, “If you are the son of God, turn this stone to bread.” Behind the smokescreen was ~ “Prove you are God and fill your stomach now.” The issue was not hunger but getting Jesus to do something God didn’t tell him to do.
- Satan said, “I’ll give you all this authority and its glory.” Behind the smokescreen was ~ “Waiting is hard and I’ll give you kingly rule early if you worship me.” Satan’s desire for worship was what originally caused him to defect from his place in heaven.
- Satan said, “Throw yourself down and see if angels will take care of you.” Behind the smokescreen ~ “Let’s just see if God takes care of you.” This time it was Satan who quoted scripture, “For He shall give his angels charge over you, to keep you in all your ways.” Psalm 91:11 Jesus was savvy and quoted Deut. 6:16 back at him. “You shall not test the Lord your God.” What did that mean? ‘Testing the Lord your God’ means to doubt God’s care and goodness.
There are numerous ways for me to deal with my enemy as well. When I obey God, trust God, step out in faith, and when I believe His Word over my own instincts, all of these destroy the works of the devil. In intercessory warfare, when I rise up to use my authority in scripture, limits are placed on Satan’s activity once again. And when I ask God for the spiritual eyesight to see behind the smokescreen of each temptation so that I can quote appropriate scripture back at him, his works are destroyed.
Lord, our enemy is not acting like a defeated foe. But he is. He acts like he has all power. But he doesn’t. With Your Word, make my mouth a sharp sword. Amen