Read His Words Before Ours!
Up until about two years ago, regularly memorizing Scripture was a wonderful, admirable, beautiful idea in my mind. I was reading God’s Word, growing in Him and had a few basic verses memorized, but for the most part, intentionally putting Scripture to memory seemed optional. However, as my battle with anxiety and depression increased, clinging to the promises in God’s Word became a life-line.
I found myself glued to my verse notecards in the check-out lane at the grocery store, in moments of despair with my kids, and at night before falling asleep. I was preaching truth to my soul, despite my feelings, just like the Psalmist did in Psalm 42.
I learned that God’s Word quite literally protects me from choosing evil (Psalm 119:9-11, 133-35).
His Word became a deeper hope and comfort (Psalm 119: 49-50).
I accepted that even when I didn’t want God’s Word, I needed to humble myself and ask Him to make me want it (Psalm 119:36-37).
I experienced a deeper need to “live… by every word that comes from the mouth of God” (Matthew 4:4).
The Promise of Battle
Scripture tells us to expect trials in this life (John 16:33). As believers, we are not to think it is strange or that something unique is happening to us when we go through difficulties of any kind (I Peter 4:12). We live in a fallen world, which means sin has infected, not only every person’s heart, but also every institution, each system, and all of creation.
This should cause us to expect battle.
Yet these battles are not against our neighbor, our spouse, our child, that other mom in the carpool lane, the co-worker we can’t seem to see eye-to-eye with, the family member who has hurt us, or any other element of flesh and blood. The Bible is clear that all battles boil down to us against Satan (Ephesians 6:12). He is behind them, poking and prodding and pushing all of his desperate buttons in an attempt to devour our faith (I Peter 5:8).
The Pattern of Attack
Satan uses our own desires against us in his battle for our faith. I John 2:16 explains, “For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life—is not from the Father but is from the world.” He will use both external circumstances and internal temptation to weaken us in the battle of faith. Satan is a professional tempter and liar and his methods have been the same through the ages.
When Satan tempted Eve in the garden, he showed us his cards. First he aimed at her physical appetite, (Genesis 3:1-3) then at her desire for personal gain (3:4-5), then he offered Eve an easy path to power and glory (3:5-6). He pulled the same attack on Jesus in the wilderness (Matthew 4:1-11). Yet Jesus fought off Satan’s lies with responses of obedience rooted in the truth of God’s Word.
Consider that we are most vulnerable to temptation when the following are true:
1) Our physical body and appetites are in need
2) We see things we want or need and do not have them
3) We lack power or glory (think control and recognition)
Feast for Focus in the Battle
How do we fight against Satan’s lies and temptation? God has not left us alone in the battle! Jesus told Satan in the wilderness, “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God” (Matthew 4:4), showing us that knowing and living by the Word of God is more soul-critical than even real, human needs. It’s no wonder then, that during his ministry years Jesus had a laser sharp focus on His mission. He told His disciples in John 4:34, “My food is to do the will of him who sent me and to accomplish his work.”
What is the will of God, and how does it become our food? God’s will is revealed through His Word, giving us wisdom, direction and knowledge of His heart. We feast on it by treasuring it, seeking it, reading it, and memorizing it.
But this isn’t simply about getting more knowledge. Knowledge alone does not transform or equip us for battle. Scripture tells us to “be transformed by the renewal of your mind” (Romans 12:2), and that remarkable work is accomplished by the Holy Spirit (Titus 3:5) as we feast. This is a life-long process for the believer! As our mind is renewed by the Word of God, we are prepared to rightly discern in every battle.
So, we must make a choice to come and live by the Word of God, submitting to the Holy Spirit, and entrusting the work of mind-renewal to be done by Him. This process of being transformed strengthens us to lay aside the things that so easily distract us (Hebrews 12:1), that we may keep doing the good works God planned in advance for us, according to the perfect will God which He will accomplish in us (Ephesians 2:10, I Thessalonians 5:24).
Come away, feast, and be victorious against the true Enemy!
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