“All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me…” – Matt. 4:9 KJV.
Jesus Christ had just finished his 40 days sojourn in the wilderness when he was met on his way by the devil who knowing that he will be physically and spiritually weak and so went ahead to tempt him in three ways. The scripture today is the third temptation where the devil had showed Jesus Christ the beauty of the whole world with a promise to give all to him if only he would bow and worship him. This offer was valid on two conditions, a physical act of bowing (submission) and the spiritual act of committing his soul to him (devotion).
For Jesus Christ, that was one step too far. His two earlier requests could still be overlooked but this one was just completely unacceptable. Although the devil was not coming direct, what he was asking Jesus to do was to denounce the Almighty God before men and devote (dedicate) his soul to the worship of the devil. Nothing including the prospect of owning the entire world was going to make Jesus Christ denounce his worship of God – Mk. 8:36.
Several Christians are in similar situation today. Surrounded by many challenges of life such as joblessness, hunger, homelessness, poverty, etc., they are completely weakened morally, physically and spiritually. With lack of confidence and hopelessness staring them in the face, they can no longer stand for anything as their desperation increases. For some, their frustration is the result of greed, lack of contentment, covetousness, etc., whilst some are actually going through their test phase but whatever may be the source of their frustration, the desperation that is allowed to set in provides an opportunity for the devil to exploit – Jms. 1:13-17.
Just as the devil saw an opportunity in the weakened state of Jesus Christ, he also feels the same way when it comes to us Christians today which is why at such times we need to protect our souls more than ever. The offer will usually look very attractive and seemingly without any negative implications. It also addresses the area of the individual’s urgent need and very easy conditions are required to be met after all, it will seem like there is really nothing much in “just bowing down and making the verbal commitment” to the devil. Most times it presents as the long-awaited miracle opportunity but it is at moments like this that the Christian will be expected to be sober, vigilant (1Pet. 5:8) and aware of the device of the devil – 2Cor. 2:11.
First thing that should come to mind is that there is hardly anything that has value in this realm that is useful for your eternity (Eccl. 1:14) and most things in this realm will actually constitute a hindrance to your eternity if not properly managed – 1Jn. 2:15-17. The Christian needs to avoid desperation no matter the situation by noting that there is always something to desire but there is nothing worth losing salvation for. The devil is capable of providing even more rapidly all that God can provide except salvation so there will always be the need to apply caution, spiritually discern where this offer is coming from and why – Matt. 26:15; Matt. 27:1-10. Believing that all good things come from God is good but all good things are not given by God as the devil is also able to grant some of these requests and of course with very negative undertones and severe repercussions.
Jesus was able to overcome with his awareness of what the scripture says. He defended with the sword of the spirit (Eph. 6:17) which is the Word by informing the devil of his awareness of the position of God on that issue. As much as he may not have any issues with the prospect of owning all that was presented to him, the condition was not acceptable as it runs foul of God’s laws and commandments so the offer stands rejected.
Christians today can also achieve similar victory if they familiarise themselves with God’s word. Sometimes your route to victory is not by praying, decreeing or invoking the Word of God but by letting the devil know the truth that you know and how resolute you are in sticking to that truth. God is actually looking for such people who will always know his thoughts about all situations and be willing to stick with it. He is proud of them as they are willing to go all the way and rewards them accordingly – Dan. 3:16-26; Dan. 6:1-28. How far are you willing to go with God in that situation that you are presently in. Do not forget that every time you accept the devil’s offer, you are literally breaking God’s heart.
Many Christians today are not able to go too far because they are far from the Word. You cannot give, teach or reveal what you lack. For Christians to remain steadfast, they must acquaint themselves with the Word. That is when they can overcome the devil and not all this drama of “binding the devil”. The war against the devil is more serious than that.
No matter the seeming hopelessness of that situation, remain firm in the Lord by dwelling on His Words as that is your sure route to everlasting joy after all what does it profit you if you get that your desire and you lose your soul.
May God help us to remain standing in him through and through in Jesus name. Amen.