Another Opportunity

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Then Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan River. He was led by the Spirit in the wilderness, where he was tempted by the devil for forty days. Jesus ate nothing all that time and became very hungry.

Then the devil said to him, “If you are the Son of God, tell this stone to become a loaf of bread.”

But Jesus told him, “No! The Scriptures say, ‘People do not live by bread alone.’”

Then the devil took him up and revealed to him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time. “I will give you the glory of these kingdoms and authority over them,” the devil said, “because they are mine to give to anyone I please. I will give it all to you if you will worship me.”

Jesus replied, “The Scriptures say,

‘You must worship the Lord your God
    and serve only him.’”

Then the devil took him to Jerusalem, to the highest point of the Temple, and said, “If you are the Son of God, jump off! 10 For the Scriptures say,

‘He will order his angels to protect and guard you.
11 And they will hold you up with their hands
    so you won’t even hurt your foot on a stone.’”

12 Jesus responded, “The Scriptures also say, ‘You must not test the Lord your God.’”

13 When the devil had finished tempting Jesus, he left him until the next opportunity came.

– Luke 4:1-13 [NLT]

Surfer on Puerto Rico Waves | San Juan, PR | February 2022

The waves come crashing to the shore with relentless persistence. We watched some surfers try to capture their power. Some succeeded for a while, only to give up when the wave gave up its power, flattening and taking the surfer no further. Then would come another one. Another opportunity.

The mountain runoff each year, combined with early spring vegetation growth tinges the drinking water a light green in color. We would occasionally take a day trip from Vernal, Utah into the nearby Uinta Mountains and watch the water cascade over rocks and down slopes. I wondered where it all came from. There seemed to be an inexhaustible supply. It. Just. Kept. On. Coming. Until late summer, that is. The streams of water would turn into mere trickles. By that time the snowpack in the mountains, the source of the runoff had completely melted. But next spring it would return. Again and again. 

Satan is like that. There are times we think we’re done with him. His energy dries up. His lures are ineffectual and ill-timed. The opportunity for the intrusion of his innuendo or overt temptation wanes. Just as he left Jesus until a more opportune time, he will occasionally turn his attention away from us. Or wait for a better opportunity to steal, kill, or destroy. But he is always watching. 

[NOTE: All Bible references may be accessed through the links provided, as well as being included in full below.]

We cannot prevent the three enemies of our souls from intruding upon us. There is the devil. He will come and go. But we can use God’s word to thwart his ploys. Then comes our own sinful nature, the flesh, in which “nothing good dwells” (cf. Romans 7:18). This we must daily drown by contrition and repentance, remembering that we are baptized into Jesus’ death and resurrection, remembering that we are no longer slaves to sin (Romans 6:1-6). But the world is all around us. And everywhere we turn it will seek to force us into its mold. Against that we must renew our minds (Romans 12:1-5).

Satan will come again for Jesus. Peter will be his messenger (cf. Matthew 16:13-23). But we must remember that Satan’s days are numbered. And the daily troubles and tribulations we experience are nothing compared with the glory that will be ours through our Lord Jesus Christ (Romans 8:18). He has overcome Satan – despite his relentless attacks, innuendos, and schemes.

Romans 7:18

For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out.

Romans 6:1-6

What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it? Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.

For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his. We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin.

Romans 12:1-2

And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him. Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.

Matthew 16:13-23

Now when Jesus came into the district of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” 14 And they said, “Some say John the Baptist, others say Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” 15 He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” 16 Simon Peter replied, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” 17 And Jesus answered him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven. 18 And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. 19 I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” 20 Then he strictly charged the disciples to tell no one that he was the Christ.

21 From that time Jesus began to show his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised. 22 And Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him, saying, “Far be it from you, Lord! This shall never happen to you.” 23 But he turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a hindrance to me. For you are not setting your mind on the things of God, but on the things of man.”

Romans 8:18

For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.

1 comment
  1. The waves, which i love standing in in real life, are such a perfect example of the sometimes gentle and sometimes painfully relentless nature of sin and Satan’s persistence. Without the bolstering of God’s word we tire in the constant onslaught of the battering. Thanks be to God for his mighty Word which serves us faithfully in calming Satan’s unwanted waves.

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