Read Matthew 4:1-11
S.O.A.P. Focus: Matthew 4:8
(Scripture. Observation. Application. Prayer)
S – The devil says to Jesus… “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down. For it is written: ‘He will command His angels concerning you, and they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.’”
O – Even the devil knows scripture and can try to use it against us to distract or deter us. As we see in Matthew 4, Jesus was able to resist the devil’s temptations because He knew the Word. He had an answer from scripture to each of the enemy’s attempts to use scripture against Him.
A – This is so powerful because it shows the importance of having scriptural wisdom. The enemy comes against us in many forms. He will even use God’s Word against us. If we do not know scripture and have the power of the Holy Spirit within us, we may not be sure if it is God or the enemy speaking to us. I can be sure to resist the temptations of the enemy, especially when he uses the Word against me, if I choose to abide in Jesus! I can do this by spending time daily in His Word, in prayer, and in meditation using the S.O.A.P. strategy. Although the enemy can be crafty in the ways he tries to discourage us, he often only has to use 3 tools which have proven success, from the Garden of Eden to the present day. These tools are called "Three Deadly D's of Destruction" (taken from the book "Having a Mary Heart in a Martha Wold"). His main goal in using these tactics against us are to get our eyes off God and onto our circumstances. He will usually begin by DISTRACTING us. He knows that when we are worried, overwhelmed or anxious, it is the prime time to try to distract us. When we become distracted, we are more vulnerable to his attack because our minds are too consumed with worry to hear the call of our Savior desiring to help us. Once Satan has us distracted he then moves on to try and DISCOURAGE us. When we become discouraged we are more receptive to the lies of the enemy. The lies that tell us we are worthless, useless, unloved, abandoned, and the list goes on. Discouragement leads us to self-pity which often leads to isolation, failure, and depression. Once he has us here, he is ready to attack with the D of DOUBT. When we enter into doubt we often begin to question God and His goodness. Does He truly love me? If He loved me, how could He let this happen in my life?, are a couple of the truths we question. We are left to believe that we are alone and no one, not even God, can help us.
By becoming aware of the strategies the enemy will use to attempt to break us, we can safe guard our hearts and be mindful of the truth. We can use the weapons of God's word to repel the devil, giving his schemes no power or stronghold over us.
P - Dear Heavenly Father, I thank you Lord for the example you gave through the life of Jesus. Jesus has gone before me and knows the struggles I face daily. Please help me to recognize when the enemy is trying to attack me. Help me to have the truth of your word engraved on my heart so I can stand up to the enemy, not allowing him any stronghold over my life. I thank you for the power of your Holy Spirit within me, going to battle against the schemes of the devil alongside me. Through your sons holy name I pray, Amen.
Ephesians 6:11-17 are powerful scriptures to know when standing up to the enemy..."Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood,but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God."