The Lies Christians Believe

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What Can We Learn From Jesus Wilderness Experience?

11 minutes

Did you ever notice what Jesus filled up on before he went into the wilderness for forty days? For that matter, did you notice why he went into the wilderness? In Luke 4:1, we get the answers to both of these questions:

Then Jesus, being filled with the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness.

Jesus was filled with the Holy Spirit before he went into the wilderness, and it was this same Holy Spirit who then led him into the wilderness. Without the Holy Spirit, he would have succumbed to Satan’s temptations. Yet without the Holy Spirit, he would not have felt compelled to go into the wilderness in the first place.

Only the gospels of Matthew and Luke mention Jesus’ temptation in the wilderness, and there is much we can learn from it when dealing with our own temptations and life in general.

Luke 4:1–13 gives the impression that Jesus was tormented by Satan his whole time in the wilderness. But the most crucial times came at the end of the forty days, when Jesus was beyond famished, likely delirious, and ready to call it a day. That’s when Satan showed up and pulled out all the stops, so to speak. He was going to bombard Jesus with everything he could think of to get Jesus to fail in his mission. He does that with us too. So Satan hits Jesus where it hurts the most. His stomach. Satan tempts Jesus with instant gratification.

He tells Jesus to turn stones into bread, appealing to his physical hunger and weakness. Satan knows that after forty days of fasting, Jesus will be desperate for nourishment. However, Jesus resists the temptation, recognizing that his mission is not about satisfying his own needs, but fulfilling God’s will. This encounter with Satan in the wilderness serves as a powerful reminder of the constant battle between good and evil that we all face in our own lives.

And the devil said to Him, “If you are the Son of God, command this stone to become bread.”

Luke 4:3

Before we get into how hungry Jesus was, I want to put to rest the question of whether or not fasting for 40 days and nights is even possible. The skeptics will claim that Jesus’ time in the wilderness never happened because he would have died. One thing people assume is that Jesus had no food or water. But the Bible doesn’t say that. It only says he ate nothing. Clearly, Jesus had access to water and was drinking it during that time. Otherwise, he would not have survived because the longest anyone can survive without water is a week, and that is a generous estimate. According to Randall K. Packer, a professor of biology at George Washington University, three to four days without water would be more accurate before death occurs.

So, how hungry was Jesus? He was pretty hungry! But he was also weak, delirious, and tired. Yet he had the presence of mind to respond to Satan with Scripture:

But Jesus answered him, saying, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God.”

Luke 4:4

The “IF” Word

There are two things to notice here. First, the word choice Satan employs can stop most Christians in their tracks. It’s a tiny word with a whole lot of power: “if”. We hear it in one form or another every day. If you take a wider, more travelled, and more acceptable path, your life will be easier. If you keep silent and don’t rock the boat, all will go well with you. If you take that higher-paying job, you’ll still have time for your family. If you eat one more fry it won’t matter. And on it goes. But Jesus knew the lie that comes along with the IF word, and he picked up on it, and that is how he won the first round—through Scripture.

Satan knows the Bible inside and out and will twist it to suit his purposes. That’s why it is so important that we also know the Bible, because sometimes temptations come to us dressed in ways that seem right to our eyes (like the prosperity gospel), but in reality are dangerous. If we don’t know our Scriptures, we can be easily swayed into believing and accepting anything.

Then the devil, taking Him up on a high mountain, showed Him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time. And the devil said to Him, “All this authority I will give You, and their glory; for this has been delivered to me, and I give it to whomever I wish. Therefore, if You will worship before me, all will be Yours.”

And Jesus answered and said to him, “Get behind Me, Satan! For it is written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God, and Him only you shall serve.’”

Luke 4:5-8

Of course, Satan is going to appeal to Jesus’ authority as God. He knew who Jesus was. He knew Jesus had stepped out of heaven and given up his divinity to save humanity. He also knew that Jesus only had to say the word, and all would be restored to him. But the other lie Satan weaves into this temptation (besides the “if” word – did you spot it?) is one he uses on Christians all the time. And that is twisting the Scriptures just enough that they make sense to someone not familiar with their Bible.

“For this [the kingdoms of the world] has been delivered to me, and I give it to whomever I wish.” No, he can’t. It was never given to him. That’s a lie. It’s something Christians have believed in for years. And it is how Satan has most of them cowering in fear, seeing him in everything, giving him too much credit, and crediting him with too much power!

There is only one who is Lord over all the world, who has dominion from sea to sea (Psalm 72:8), who assigns the seas their very limits, and who marked the foundations of the world (Proverbs 8:29). And who did God give charge over His creation? Humans (Genesis 1:26-28), not Satan.

Now some will say, “But the Scriptures say Satan is “the god of this world’ (2 Corinthians 4:4). Does it?

The Greek word aiōn (found in 2 Corinthians 4:4) actually means “age” or “a period of time”. But many Bibles render it the “god of this world”. The NIV and NKJV render it correctly as “the god of this age”. So what does that mean? Isn’t it the same thing? No! Because when we look at 2 Corinthians 4:4 in context, we see that “the god of this age” is a period of time. For example, until Jesus returns Satan, “the god of this age” can tempt, lie and deceive all he wants. Whereas “the god of this world” implies Satan is in charge of all creation. Which is a lie!

Satan is not in control of the world at all! He does not have that kind of power. The only power Satan has is the power to deceive, lie, and tempt us to sin. That’s it. He controls nothing but the minds of unbelievers and gullible Christians who are not listening to the Holy Spirit but are instead listening to the voices of the world around them. This is why so many Christians are deceived by false prophets and false doctrines.

So Satan is counting on Jesus being so delirious with hunger that he won’t notice the lie about Satan having all authority over the kingdoms of the earth. But Jesus knew who alone should be worshipped and he also knew who had that authority. In Matthew 28:18 Jesus said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.” So Jesus once again wins the second round with Satan. Why? Because Jesus knew who was and he knew the Scriptures. We need to also remember who we are in Christ. And we do that by spending time in the Word.

So Satan tries again. And what does he tempt Jesus with this time? His power.

Then he brought Him to Jerusalem, set Him on the pinnacle of the temple, and said to Him, “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down from here. For it is written: ‘He shall give His angels charge over you, to keep you,’ and, ‘In their hands, they shall bear you up, lest you dash your foot against a stone.’”

And Jesus answered and said to him, “It has been said, ‘You shall not tempt the Lord your God.’”

Now when the devil had ended every temptation, he departed from Him until an opportune time.

Luke 4:9-13

Just to be clear, Satan wasn’t literally taking Jesus to these places. Jesus didn’t suddenly appear on the pinnacle of the temple for all the world (at that time) to see. All these temptations are taking place in Jesus’ mind. Just like they take place in ours. And it is our minds that we have to safeguard. There is a reason Paul admonishes us to “take every thought captive” (2 Corinthians 10:5).

Satan tries to deceive Jesus by quoting Scripture on how God will keep him safe. Satan uses this type of deception a lot. Especially with susceptible Christians who, for example, are deceived into thinking that if they aren’t healed of something, then they lack faith. They don’t lack faith! They lack knowledge of the Scriptures!

This is how Word of Faith preachers manipulate people into giving them money. Need money? Sow a faith seed and watch it come back to you tenfold. Need healing, but aren’t receiving it? You must not have enough faith. And what is the number one way to deceive Christians with the Scriptures today? Take them out of context. But if you are in the Word daily and digging deeper into it, you will recognize when someone is trying to deceive you.

But once again, Jesus saw through Satan’s deception and rebuked him with the Scriptures, and Satan left him “until an opportune time” (Luke 4:13). Did you notice that last verse? Satan’s lies, deceptions, and temptations were not over. He always comes back and tries again. Always. And usually, when you are at your most vulnerable.

What Can We Learn From Jesus Wilderness Experience?

  • First, we learn that Satan is a liar and will use every trick he knows to deceive, manipulate, and tempt us to sin. Remember, you were once in his camp. He knows you. He knows what you used to be like before Jesus saved you from the muck and mire that was your life. And Satan loves to throw that muck in your face at the precise moment you feel your faith slipping, or you doubt your salvation, or you doubt God loves you. Just keep in mind that Jesus washed away the muck!
  • Second, we learn that the only way to make Satan wary of attacking us is to be armed and ready for him. There is only one way to do this: read your Bible! Don’t have time? Then get a devotional and meditate on it. But to grow in your faith, you must take the time to dig deeper into the Word of God. Devotionals are great, but they only skim the surface of the rich bounty of God’s Word. Don’t deprive yourself of the blessings you will find by digging deeper into it.
  • Third, we need to take every thought captive. Satan loves to deceive and it is when our thoughts start to wander that he gets an advantage. Don’t let him!
  • Fourth, we learn that when we are weak, Jesus is strong! There is a reason God sent us His Holy Spirit. This is the part of Jesus that abides in us and who is helping us grow in our faith, making us stronger day by day, to resist the temptations of the evil one.

In the parable of the three servants Matthew 25:29 says:​

“For to everyone who has, more will be given, and he will have abundance; but from him who does not have, even what he has will be taken away.”

If you aren’t growing in your relationship with the Lord, by getting to know Him through His Word, you might as well go out and bury your Bible in your backyard! You are like the lazy servant, and when the master (Jesus) comes, he will find you wanting.

The Scriptures promise us that, “He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus” (Philippians 1:6). Never forget that! Satan will try to convince you otherwise, just always remember this – he is a liar. Jesus isn’t. Be prepared for his attacks. Take up the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God and defend yourself! (Ephesians 6:17). 

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