For today’s reading, I found it interesting and surprising to see Jesus being tempted by Satan. We have to assume the devil knew Jesus was the Son of God, but somehow believed he could convince Jesus to give into temptation due to His weakened human physical condition caused by fasting and praying for 40 days. Ultimately I believe Jesus allowed Himself to be tempted as an example for us. Temptation is around us every moment of every day and we are faced with the choice to either fight temptation on our own or look to the one who knows exactly what we are experiencing each day. God never leave us alone to face our struggles, but we must look to Him to find the strength we need to conquer them.
In today’s reading the verse that stood out to me was Proverbs 26:11, As a dog returns to its vomit, so fools repeat their folly. I have read this verse many times and it seems like every time I read it God reminds me of the wisdom it contains. We all know what is right and what is wrong. As imperfect human beings it is easy to make mistakes. But every time we return to the same mistakes and the places we know will lead us to sin, we are fools. We must listen to the Holy Spirit in our hearts and know that He is leading us away from the things that will lead us to sin and its consequences. Let us not be like a dog that returns to its vomit. Once we have removed the sinful parts of our lives, let us ask God on a daily basis to give us strength to stay away.
While it is important to clear our lives of the bad things, it is important to fill it with a strong and obedient life with God. In Matthew 12:43-45 Jesus says, 43 “When an impure spirit comes out of a person, it goes through arid places seeking rest and does not find it. 44 Then it says, ‘I will return to the house I left.’ When it arrives, it finds the house unoccupied, swept clean and put in order. 45 Then it goes and takes with it seven other spirits more wicked than itself, and they go in and live there. And the final condition of that person is worse than the first. That is how it will be with this wicked generation.” If we simply remove the bad, we are inviting something to fill the void. We must be deliberate about what we allow to enter into our hearts and minds. Even the smallest of things can become some of the most difficult things to remove from our lives. For this reason, we must guard our lives with the power of the Holy Spirit to lead and guide us in all we do.
While today’s reading is the same story from yesterday in Matthew, there were a couple of observations I made in the first part of this chapter. The first is at the end of verse 2 where it says “He was hungry”. This struck me today because this clearly shows the humanity of Jesus. It is why He was able to be tempted in the first place. The second observation is in verse 6, “And he said to him, “I will give you all their authority and splendor, for it has been given to me, and I can give it to anyone I want to.” Make no mistake when you read the phase “all authority and splendor… has been given to me”, the devil is 100% correct in saying this world belongs to him. We can not take for granted that, while God has full control, this world is the devil’s playground. To further my thought, the second part of verse 34 it says, “…I know who you are—the Holy One of God!” The evil spirit who has possessed the man in this passage knows exactly who Jesus is. In the end, I have to be honest and say that Satan having so much authority over this world makes me a bit uneasy. However, there is a lot of comfort in knowing that God has the ultimate power over any evil I may ever face.