It Is Written (5-29-2007)
It Is Written
"It is written", three simple words; Christ responded to Satan's temptations in the wilderness each time with "It is written".
Remember this text, "And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide "a way out " so that you can stand under it", I Corinthians 10:13 (NIV). Have you ever wondered what that "way out" is?
Well, let us look to the life of Jesus Christ for the answer, and notice the way he dealt with temptations when faced with them.
In Matthew 4:4, 7, 10, "It is written" echoes a theme of truth, a strategy to counter temptations. Christ did not care to match wits with the Adversary; he could have but did not choose to. No soldier in the heat of battle takes time to chit-chat with the enemy about stratagem, or share secrets of their training. Each soldier immediately jumps into action with built in reflexes cultivated from diligent training. There is no reasoning on the battlefield. Christ therefore declared to the Devil the Word of God, his battle armament. Quoting from the *TaNaKh, the Old Testament portion of Scripture, was his first response. Why? To remind him of truth, and then, to trust the truth and act on it. The way out then seems to be looking for God’s council, trusting and depending on God’s supernatural enabling, while depending mentally on revealed guidance in the Holy Scripture.
Will this work for us today? Yes, but we must decide to use the battle plan as Christ did.We, in following Christ's example need then to fortify our minds with Scriptures as he did, and become "skilled" at using it. As I understand it a temptation is rationale to break God’s code of moral conduct, to sin. The counter argument "It is written", is the reason not to sin. It is written represents the Word of God that requires our total obedience. When Christ said "Man shall not live by bread alone, but on every word . . . of God" that was a statement grounded in eternal truth. Do we believe the Word has power enough to help us fight temptations? I know I believe, but I am weak too and have fallen even with the words on my lips. We are not talking about purely memorization of the text, but being changed inwardly by the teachings of God's truth in God's word, that our thinking begins to reflect more of what God would think. Exciting isn't it?
I think of it this way, Your word of truth and guidance have I treasured so deeply in my heart, that I will not rationally seek an occasion to willfully sin against You, (Psalm 119:11). What do you think?
Can you think of times when you applied the "It is written" to temptations in your life?
How will you handle them today? Do you have a store of Scriptural artillery, if not word for word, in principle to face each day's onslaught by the enemy. He is subtle, crafty and deceptive, and we are easy prey without the fortifying word of truth. Let's read God's word not only for principles, but to meet God personally.
Learning, and yes memorizing God's precious word is the beginning of our defense against weakening temptations. But that is difficult for me you say. Do not fret, it may not be as difficult as you think. Look, we memorize things all the time, like rules that govern road etiquette; do not speed, do not drive through red stop-lights etc. We have effortlessly memorized many other things too; recipes, songs, poetry, phone numbers, special dates, and never given it a thought. So the skill is there.
Learning Scripture then is not a gift reserved for a few; you can do it a little at a time. We must, for we need it for life. Remember "...man shall not live by bread alone, but man lives by everything that proceeds out of the mouth of the Lord" (originally Deuteronomy 8:3; Christ's paraphrase Matt.4:4). Try it, it only takes consecrated dedication, time and desire.
God's Spirit will help and enable you as you go. The same Jesus who prevailed over temptations has said he will never leave us nor forsake us. And remember “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13). "It is written . . . ", our sure defense against temptations.
~ pastor m. moses andradé
* TaNaKh is an acronym for certain writings of what Christians call the Old Testament. T is for the Torah, loosely called LAW. This grouping houses the Books of Moses or Pentateuch, Genesis through Deuteronomy. N is for the Nevi'im or the Prophets (from navi, one who speaks for God). There are twenty-one books that trace Jewish history with God and monotheism, i.e. the worship of one god, YHWH. They are Joshua, Judges,I & II Samuel, I & II Kings, latter - Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah, Malachi. K is for Ketuvim, also called the "Writings". They are the Psalms, Proverbs, Job, Song of Songs, Ruth, Lamentations, Ecclesiastes, Esther, Daniel, Ezra, Nehemiah, and the Chronicles.