Matthew 4:1-11, Mark 1:12-13, and Luke 4:1-13 record the story of Satan tempting Christ. These passages show us the three temptations of Jesus. It is the greatest battle ever fought in human history. The battle decides who will be the ultimate ruler of this earth.
For this reason, it is important that we learn the significant lessons from the three temptations of Jesus. It is also crucial for us to take a look at how we can overcome Satan through these lessons.
Matthew 4:1-11: Satan tempts Jesus Christ
Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. And when He had fasted forty days and forty nights, afterward He was hungry. Now when the tempter came to Him, he said, “If You are the Son of God, command that these stones become bread.”
But He answered and said, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.’”
Then the devil took Him up into the holy city, set Him on the pinnacle of the temple, 6 and said to Him, “If You are the Son of God, throw Yourself down. For it is written:
‘He shall give His angels charge over you,’
‘In their hands they shall bear you up,
Lest you dash your foot against a stone.’”
Jesus said to him, “It is written again, ‘You shall not tempt the Lord your God.’”
Again, the devil took Him up on an exceedingly high mountain, and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. And he said to Him, “All these things I will give You if You will fall down and worship me.”
Then Jesus said to him, “Away with you, Satan! For it is written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God, and Him only you shall serve.’”
Then the devil left Him, and behold, angels came and ministered to Him.
Lessons from the story of Satan tempting Christ
From these verses, we can obtain significant life lessons that we should apply in our Christian walk. Here is a list of these lessons.
Lesson no. 1: We need to be full of the Holy Spirit
The Holy Spirit is the power of God. It is given to us upon baptism. With God’s power living in us, we can have the spiritual help that we desperately need to overcome our human nature. We read:
“And Jesus being full of the Holy Ghost returned from Jordan, and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness” (Luke 4:1-3).
We can see Jesus here as full of the Holy Spirit. It is worth noting that we can only obtain the Holy Spirit from God. Therefore, the closer we are to God, the more Holy Spirit we receive. Thus, it must be pointed out that we need to constantly have a close and intimate relationship with God so we can have a full measure of God’s Spirit.
Lesson no. 2: Fasting is an important spiritual tool for our growth
Though not popularly done by most Christians today, fasting is a highly powerful tool that we can use to strengthen our relationship with God. Fasting, abstaining from food and drink, demonstrates our nothingness without God and how we are dependent on His blessings and divine providence.
“And when he had fasted forty days and forty nights, he was afterward an hungred (Matthew 4:2).
“Being forty days tempted of the devil. And in those days he did eat nothing: and when they were ended, he afterward hungered” (Luke 4:2).
Fasting is our humble act in asking God’s will to be done in our lives. With fasting, it allows us to refocus our minds on God and the spiritual matters in our lives rather than just the physical things such as food.
As Christians, we must fast at least once a month and make it a habit. Though fasting can be difficult, it has tremendous rewards that we can reap during this life and the life to come.
Lesson no. 3: Satan will take advantage of our human weaknesses
“And when the tempter came to him, he said, If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread” (Matthew 4:3).
“And the devil said unto him, If thou be the Son of God, command this stone that it be made bread” (Luke 4:3).
Imagine fasting for forty days and not having anything to eat. In this time, Jesus was extremely hunger and Satan knew that. It is worth noting as well that Satan did not just tempt Jesus on the fortieth day. But we read that Jesus was tempted by Satan for forty days (Luke 4:2)!
With this in mind, we need to remember one of the evil strategies of Satan for us to commit a sin. He will take advantage of our human weaknesses. In this case, Christ’s weakness was food. Satan tried to capitalize on that and utterly fail.
Lesson no. 4: Satan uses pride to lead us to sin
Satan started his temptation with the words, “If you are the Son of God.” Now that’s a very clever way to tempt someone. Satan tried to play with our tendency to be boastful. He wants to take advantage of our “pride of life.”
Notice, there’s no doubt that Jesus is truly the Son of God and He has nothing to prove to Satan. However, that didn’t get in Jesus’ head but rather focused on the greatness of God.
Lesson no. 5: We need to keep our spiritual sword sharp
We read that the Word of God is likened to a sword (Ephesians 6:17). In the spiritual battle between Christ and Satan, we can see how important it is for us to keep our spiritual sword in good condition.
Jesus immediately took out His spiritual sword to battle Satan. He quoted a passage from the Old Testament. Notice how Christ did not try to reason with Satan in other ways, but He used God’s word to defeat His enemy.
In the same way, we all must study God’s word often and ensure that we keep His words hidden in our hearts (Psalms 119:11). Peter instructed us to be always ready to give a defense of the hope within us (I Peter 3:15), and we can only do this if we regularly read the Bible.
Lesson no. 6: We need to obtain our spiritual food daily
“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” (Matthew 4:4).
Here’s something that we need to seriously take into consideration. If you don’t eat for a day, you would be weak, right? If you don’t eat for a week or month, you will get sick and eventually die. Just as we eat our physical food daily, we also need to eat our spiritual food.
We do this by regular Bible study and meditation on God’s word. Christ said that man shall not live by bread alone. Yes, we might be physically alive, but are we spiritually alive?
Not only that, but Jesus said we must live by “every word that proceeds out from the mouth of God.” Did you grasp that? We need to live by every word of God. Sometimes, we have the tendency to just pick what is convenient for us and just disregard the rest. If we really want to submit to God’s will, then we must believe every word of God and live by it.
Lesson no. 7: Satan uses the good to bring bad results
Satan took Christ on a pinnacle of the temple and from there, he quoted a scripture. From this instance, we can see that Satan can quote the scripture and even use it against Christ!
There are interesting lessons we need to learn here. First, even if you read the Bible from cover to cover, quote scripture at will, and memorize all passages, but if you don’t let it change you, it all boils to nothing.
Satan knows the Bible. He even memorized everything in it. However, does that made Satan a Christian? Obviously, no. Satan had the head knowledge of the truth, but don’t use that knowledge to overcome sin and be pleasing to God.
Indeed, Satan can use the spiritual sword to counteract our spiritual sword. That’s the reason we must be skilled in using our spiritual sword to defeat Satan.
We must also recognize that Satan shows us the pleasure of sins but not its dire consequences. He will sugar coat sin and wrapped it with attractive trappings. We must not be fooled by the pleasures of sins.
Lesson no. 8: Satan perverts the truth
One of the most common strategies of Satan to deceive people is to pervert the truth. Throughout the history, Satan tried to destroy God’s word, but he failed. Since he can’t completely destroy God’s word, he made a counterfeit truth and corrupted the Bible.
We can see from Matthew 4 how Satan can easily pervert the truth. It is true that God will protect His people. However, Satan misapplied the scripture and taught that the promise of protection extends to those people who foolishly put themselves in danger. While yes, God can still have the choice to help those kinds of people, most often than not, God will just let the physical law to take care of them.
Lesson no. 9: We must not tempt God
“Jesus said unto him, It is written again, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God” (Matthew 4:7).
We must not foolishly tempt God. In this case, we must not voluntarily throw ourselves into danger and then appeal for God’s help.
Lesson no. 10: We must not exchange our spiritual reward for physical reward
“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” (Matthew 4:8).
Satan shows all the glory of this world, including all the pleasures that it can give. In the same way, Satan can show us the pleasure of sin and tempt us to disobey God.
We must remember that all the things in the world will just fade away. All the wealth, power, respect, status, and pleasures this world may offer are nothing compared to what we can obtain when we follow God’s commandments.
We read in I Corinthians 2:9:
“But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.”
Satan is cunning and horribly wise. He has a lot of evil schemes to try and tempt us. For us to defeat our enemies, we need to know our enemies and part of that is understanding their strategies.
As Christians, we can learn more about Satan’s strategies by studying God’s word and not letting our guard down. Sometimes, he will strike us when we least expected it.
Lesson no. 11: Satan is the current god of this world
“And saith unto him, All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me” (Matthew 4:9).
Notice how Satan offered all the kingdoms of the world to Jesus. Now, you can’t give something that you don’t have. Jesus didn’t even try to contradict Satan’s statement. Jesus understood that Satan is the real ruler of this earth.
Here’s something that only a few people know: Satan is the god of this world. This is supported by scripture. Read II Corinthians 4:4 and Revelation 12:9.
This explains why this world is full of sadness, confusion, suffering, pain, and death. Satan is the god of this world. However, time will come when God will directly intervene and overthrow Satan’s rule. He will send Jesus and establish God’s kingdom here on earth!
Lesson no. 12: We must only worship God and Jesus Christ
“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” (Matthew 4:10).
Our allegiance should only be to God. Our loyalty is only for him. We can’t serve God and Satan at the same time. If we put something between God and us, we are committing the sin of idolatry.
Now, God does not need our praises because of pride, but He wants us to recognize that He is our God and that is for our own good. So many people today made money, status, career, education, and their selves as their god and we see the results if we do that. Their lives are full of pain and suffering.
Worshiping God is good for us. It directs us to the right path of living this life. It shows us how to live a life of happiness and blessedness.
These are the 12 lessons we can learn from the temptation of Christ. In this life, we will be tempted and tried to know whether our faith is genuine or not. We need to realize that we can’t defeat Satan and overcome sin without God’s help. More importantly, we need to stay strong, motivated, and zealous in doing the will of God in lives.