Paul writes, “That we should put off concerning the former conversation the old man…..and that ye put on the new man, which….is created in righteousness and true holiness. (Ephesians 4:22,24)
I used to think, when I was first born again, that this seemed so easy…..just stop doing the “bad” things….and start doing “good” things….
…..but Paul is talking about “putting off the former conversation (way of life), the old man”.
Who is the “old man”. We call it “the flesh”, the “old nature”,…..which simply means our old life in the darkness of this world.
My old habits, my old way of finding direction, my old attitudes toward others, my old speech.
( A lot of “my” there…..and that is the “former conversation the old man”….which centers around “me”.
Frankly I believe the Lord implants within each of us a love for the truth, for goodness, for kindness…which is for ourselves and others.
But we also must….and I believe it is imperative….if we are to “put on the new man (Christ’s life in us)…which is created in righteousness and true holiness”….
…..we must learn to discern God’s thoughts or attitude about things……for this circumstance. The important word is “learn”.)
James 4:7-8 “Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.
Draw nigh to God, and He will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded.”
And Jesus Christ is our greatest teacher.
It might seem odd to quote these verses and use Jesus as our example….but He, as the Man Christ Jesus is our greatest example in everything. He put aside HIs glory, and became obedient (Philippians 2:7-8)….and every word He said, every act was in obedience to the Father.(John 12:49-50)
Christ Jesus has just been baptized….a Voice from heaven said, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” (Matt.3:17)
(Hallelujah, the work for our salvation begins!)
But,….before there is the ministry of Word, there is the ministry of battle.
Jesus is led,….”the Spirit driveth Him into the wilderness”.(Mark 1:12)
The Spirit’s guidance is immediate….He is to go into the wilderness…to be tempted of the devil. (As Jesus was our example….and are we not often tempted of the devil….especially when we have made gains in our spiritual lives?)
Luke 4:2 “Being forty days tempted of the devil. And in those days he did eat nothing: and when they were ended, He afterward hungered.”
For forty days (the number of testing and trials) Jesus is tempted of the devil. I believe this is so bad, that these tests are not even recorded!
But when they were ended….he was hungry…
(Now I want to say here, that Jesus had been tempted of the devil already….it does not start here…..but that these three temptations are recorded for our learning.
He was the Son of God, yet He was tempted in all points like as we are (Hebrews 4:15)…
…..and here we are shown Jesus denying himself,…..resisting the devil, drawing nigh to God (James 4:7-8)….and using the sword of the Spirit, the Word of God in these temptations….for our learning)
Luke 4:3 “And the devil said unto Him, If thou be the Son of God, command this stone that it be made bread.”
Just like this, the devil always starts with “who” we are. “If”….is the question…..If Jesus was the Son of God. If we are really born again….then surely God would supply your needs…He would not let you “go hungry”….or go without….so do something!
But to Jesus, there was no “if”…..so He would do what His Father wanted….and He used God’s Word.
“It is written, That man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God.” Wow! He included me, when He quoted this.
I shall not live by seeking to solve all my problems the way the world or devil wants…..not even the necessities….but I shall live by every word of God to me…and do what He says.
We know that the next test was a time test: Jesus came to save the world from sin….to make it the kingdom of God, and His Christ.
The devil said that he would give Jesus all the kingdoms…..now,…without the cross, suffering, shame….if (there is that word again)….Jesus would worship him.
The Lord Jesus Christ will certainly have all these kingdoms….they shall come and worship Him….
…..but it would require the path of duty…and the cross.
(And the devil tries us the same way.
Forget Christianity….I can give you “happiness” now….you do not have to deny yourself anything….Just listen to me.)
But Jesus gave the answer we all should, “Get thee behind me Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and Him only shalt thou serve.”
Then there was the test of appearance, and announcement:
The devil took Jesus to the top of the Temple and said, “If Thou be the Son of God, throw yourself down….for the Word says, that He will keep you, angels shall catch you and you will not even hurt your foot.”
What an announcement of Who He was, that would have been!…..
…and I believe angels certainly would have caught Him….
…..but God wanted Him to preach the kingdom to people all around the country….again the simple path of duty….
….so Jesus, and we too should say, “It is said, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God.”
I will follow God’s Word….and keep in God’s Way.
Luke 4:13 “And when the devil had ended all the temptation, he departed from Him for a season.”
The temptations were over…..for a season. And when we have stood in our place….and had the victory over a temptation…..let us rejoice in HIs Spirit, and His Word, which has given us the victory in this battle…
…and know that there will be others, for we belong to our King and Lord Jesus Christ.
But that with the temptation….He will make a way to escape:
1 Corinthians 10:13 “There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.”
Let us look for that way….His way….and escape the temptation….and have His Victory in us.