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The Devil, the Desert, and Deception

Part two of the journey was about to begin. Part one had lasted 30 earth years—a period of relative obscurity, during which Jesus lived and experienced life with all it’s struggles just like every other human. But when the day came for Jesus to be baptized by his cousin John, he knew his journey was about to transition from obscurity to radical visibility. There would be no hiding during part two, in fact, being conspicuous was part of the goal. 

But in between parts one and two was a 40 day period of relative isolation. It might have been a quiet respite, a preparatory time of reflection, except for one thing…the Enemy showed up. What better time to launch an attack than the moment before Jesus went public?

In precisely the same way the Enemy had engineered Adam and Eve’s downfall, he now attacked Jesus. He took the words of the One True God and he twisted them, hoping to deceive Jesus by offering him sustenance, treasure, power—all things to which Jesus was already entitled and, ironically, things which Jesus as Creator had spoken into existence. The attack was ludicrous, at least from one perspective. Offering Jesus that which was already his seems weak and desperate. Who would fall for such a ploy? But the Enemy’s power is limited in scope; deception is really his only game plan, and he was hoping that Jesus just might be vulnerable after 40 days of fasting. But he was wrong. Jesus countered each deceptive phrase of the Enemy with the Truth of God and, as is always the case, when Truth is brought head-to-head with a lie, the lie explodes and disintegrates. 

What the Enemy tried against Adam and Eve and then, again, against Jesus, the Enemy will try against you. He will  try until Jesus returns and makes this world his Kingdom (Revelation 11), the Enemy will continue his deceptive strategy. Verbally dodging and feinting like a boxer, the Enemy hopes to draw my attention away from the Truth. He’s persistent and ruthless, but he can only win if I drop my guard…if I stop talking with Jesus…if I stop renewing my mind with Truth…if I stop declaring the Truth each time the Enemy launches a lie…if I stop being actively engaged in community. But if I don’t stop—if I persist—the Holy Spirit gives me power to walk in freedom and to resist. Like Jesus, I can win—and so can you.

On the adventure with you,

Kirk

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