When I first surrendered my life to Christ, joy and peace overflowed. Excitement bubbled over as I began reading God’s Word.
The promises of God injected me with hope.
Seeds of truth took root.
Sisters in Christ rejoiced with me, watering my sprouts of faith with prayer and encouragement.
My heart changed. My perspective changed.
But, to my surprise, my attitude during conflicts and my circumstances did not change as quickly as I thought they would, especially at home.
Surrounded by my sisters in Christ, I sobbed. “My Marriage is still shaky. My soul is still weary. I’m still struggling with sin? Why isn’t life easier?”
A shield of faithful intercession guarded my heart as the enemy hit me from behind, kicked my feet out from under me, shoved me backward, and yanked me sideways. The liar relentlessly attacked.
Is following Christ worth the extra pain?
It seemed as if life challenges bombarded me more after I surrendered my life to Jesus. Small obstacles became mountains. Setbacks forced me to sink or swim in quicksand.
Obedience to God led me right out of my comfort zone and into a spiritual war zone.
As I continued to seek God and watch my marriage crumble, I asked a few faithful women of God to gird me with prayer.
They armed me with a Life Application Bible, a Bible dictionary, a few good commentaries, a journal, and a safe place to share and receive support and accountability.
I opened my Bible. To know God, I needed to begin by reading His whole story.
As I studied, I noticed that whenever God prepared His people to bring glory to His name, the enemy seemed to up the ante.
It became clear that spiritual warfare chops at the roots of faith, cutting lifelines if we’re not ready for battle.
The Lord made me aware of spiritual warfare. But I wanted more than awareness. I longed for preparedness.
I asked. God delivered.
In Matthew 3:13-4:11, Jesus shows us six ways we can win in spiritual warfare.
- Jesus had an intimate relationship established with the Father (Matthew 3:17).
The Father announces His relationship with the Son when Jesus is baptized. But this communion didn’t start at baptism.
Luke 2:49 affirms that Jesus spent time in the Father’s presence, even as a child. So close was Jesus’ communication with the Father that, when he was only twelve years old, the teachers of the Law were amazed by His questions and understanding (Luke 2:47).
Though knowledge can’t save us, Jesus shows us that close fellowship with the Father helps us know His character and experience the power of His presence, which establishes the potential for deep love and trust.
- Jesus submitted to the Holy Spirit’s leading (Matthew 4:1).
When the Spirit led Jesus into the desert immediately after the Father approved Him for service, Jesus obeyed.
He knew the wilderness wasn’t a high-end resort or a spa retreat. Still, He refused to hesitate. The Holy Spirit led. Jesus followed.
- Jesus persevered in the power of the Spirit (Matthew 4:13).
The synoptic gospels concur that, as fully man and fully God, Jesus suffered. The desert heat scorched His skin and dehydrated His body.
Mark says Jesus “was in the desert forty days, being tempted by Satan” and that He was “with wild animals” (1:13).
Luke says Jesus, “full of the Holy Spirit” (4:1), endured physically and emotionally grueling wilderness moments.
Matthew gives us a deeper glimpse of Jesus’ humanity. He hungered (4:2).
- Jesus wielded the Sword of Truth and stood firm against temptation (Matthew 4:3-10).
When the devil distorted the meaning of Scripture, Jesus rebuked him with the words of God spoken with true understanding and authority.
Jesus quotes from the Old Testament when He says “man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord” (Deuteronomy 8:3b).
Every word, not just the tasty morsels of victory and prosperity.
- Jesus rebuked the enemy verbally (Matthew 4:10).
There is no stuttering or unbelief when Jesus says, “Away from me, Satan!”
Luke shows us the result of Jesus’ rebuke. The devil left Jesus “until an opportune time” (Luke 4:13).
- Jesus accepted help (Matthew 4:11).
Scripture says “the angels attended” or ministered to Jesus. According to John MacArthur, the tense of the Greek verb, “to minister,” suggests angels accompanied Jesus the entire forty days.
The Lord demonstrated the Spirit-empowered courage, humility and community required in Christian living, as the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit worked together in the wilderness.
In spiritual warfare, disciples become targets as soon as they commit to following Christ.
But as Jesus proved, when we’re ready for battle, Satan has no place or power or authority in our lives.
Lord, thank You for being God with us, Abba, our personal Lord and Savior, our High Priest who understands because You chose to experience life in the flesh. Thank you for showing us how to prepare for the adventure of discipleship. Help us to surrender to the Holy Spirit, embrace Your power in us, walk boldly in faith, and stand triumphant in truth. In Jesus’ name, Amen
Photograph by Robert Mosley used with permission.