When Jesus was tempted by the devil He said “it is written”. Why did Jesus say it is written? He had been in training. How did He know that man didn’t live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God? Jesus wasn’t a student of Scripture memory. He had grown in knowing the voice of His Father. He no doubt had many conversations with His Father and He knew His Father’s voice. Jesus didn’t go to a book. He was intimate with the writer. The writing inspires, but the author transpires.
Yesterday’s wisdom is today’s knowledge, but yesterday’s knowledge with today’s wisdom becomes today’s understanding. The writer of the book wants to speak to you. He will not contradict the character, nature and way revealed in what He has spoken, but He wants to speak again, and again, and again. In the early church, the selling of possessions in Jerusalem was not a method for believers to not own material things. It was the wisdom of God to sell property that would become worthless in A.D. 70. Selling the property was something that God knew would be a wise thing to do. It was either sell it or lose it, but the people in the church didn’t know that. They had to simply trust the voice of the Holy Spirit. The early church followed the example of Jesus in discerning the voice of God. This was meant to be the way of life for all believers. The book of Acts doesn’t have an Amen on it. It was not intended to be a closed book. The voice of God is still a happening reality for all who will listen. The One who writes had trained Jesus; therefore He knew how to recognize His Father’s voice.
Whoever you are in life is based upon your natural seed as well as your spirit seed. That is what makes you spiritual. Jesus stood in authority and the devil responded to Jesus as a thief.
Matthew 4:5-7 Then the devil took Him up into the holy city, set Him on the pinnacle of the temple, and said to Him, “If You are the Son of God, throw Yourself down. For it is written: ‘He shall give His angels charge concerning you,’ and, ‘In their hands they shall bear you up, lest you dash your foot against a stone.’ ” Jesus said to him, “It is written again, ‘You shall not tempt the Lord your God.’ ”
Jesus wasn’t quoting Scripture. He was stating what He knew from being trained by His Father. The devil was quoting the Scripture, but he didn’t know why it was written. The angels took charge over the conversation and protected Jesus from deception. The same thing happens when we simply quote Scripture. We might think that it is what the Word says, but we may be just quoting what our Bible says. What looks exactly the same in the natural is totally different in the truth of the Spirit.
Jesus responded based upon who He was, not what He knew. He was a manifestation of what He had matured to become in the first thirty years of His life. He couldn’t have defeated the devil by simply quoting what the word said. He defeated the devil because He was the embodiment of the word. Our training will make us become what God’s word says. When we quote what the word says, we’re not standing in authority yet. We have to stand until we become the word, before we have the authority of the word.
God led Jesus into the wilderness. Who lives in the wilderness? The desert is a dry place. The devil was confined to the dry places of the earth by the very command of God (Gen. 3:14). Jesus wasn’t trying to hide from the devil. He went to his house. Could He expect that the devil would be home? One day Life came walking through death valley, but death couldn’t change whom He was.
The devil attacked Jesus in His purpose.
Matthew 4:8-11 Again, the devil took Him up on an exceedingly high mountain, and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. And he said to Him, “All these things I will give You if You will fall down and worship me.” Then Jesus said to him, “Away with you, Satan! For it is written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God, and Him only you shall serve.’ ” Then the devil left Him, and behold, angels came and ministered to Him.
What was the purpose of Jesus? Did the devil legally own the kingdoms of the world? Who had the birthright? The devil had the birthright. Jesus came to take it back. Jesus came to take back all of the kingdoms of the earth. He knew that the devil had the deed, and He came to take it back. However, Jesus didn’t come to take it through a grasping for power. He came to take it thought the power of legitimate authority. The devil came pretending that he was the voice of God. Destiny for Jesus at the time was to conquer the devil. We are more than conquerors. Jesus gave us the deed and the devil wants to take it back again. Don’t let him do it!
Jesus was secure in His purpose because He knew that the glory of the natural seed had to be fulfilled first. Was it destiny for the kingdoms of the world to be given to Jesus? It was destiny, but it wasn’t time yet. Authority is not who you are called to be, or what you are called to do. Authority is who you are today and destiny is who you will be tomorrow. If we are not faithful in who we are we can thwart God’s plans for who we are destined to become. The devil will always try to get you to grab tomorrow’s piece today. The end does not justify the means to the end. If you compromise, you will destroy the end. Many are called, but few are chosen. The devil came as the voice of God. Jesus knew that authority was not about what He could get or do in life. It was about bringing life to others. Jesus had to find His family before He could take the deed of the kingdoms of men from the hand of the devil. He was looking for His brothers, sisters, and mothers. He was a sole Son looking for the family of God. He came to find those who would be the will of the Father. He came to reconcile the world to the Father.
We have a birthright as a son of man and as a son of God. We must be both in order to enter the Kingdom of God. We cannot neglect either. We are not just spirit and we are not just natural. We are spiritual.
Luke was a physician and a son of God. Matthew was a tax collector and a son of God. What are you? As a young man I had to learn the chastisement of my heavenly Father in the natural world of life. When I was in the military I thought that being spiritual was seeking only the things of the Spirit. I had enlisted in the military on a delayed enlistment plan, but had met the Lord in the process of waiting for my entrance into basic training. My conversion was quite radical and my whole focus was one of seeking God, telling others about Him, and serving Him in any way that I could. The military had placed me in an electronics career field, although I sought to be reassigned to become a chaplain’s assistant. I didn’t apply myself very well to my electronics training and sought to pass each test with prayer and seeking God. I would have been much better off applying myself to my electronic studies and simply prayed as I studied. Looking back I can see all kinds of errors in my application in life because of a religious mindset.
Many believers tend to think of church activities as being spiritual, while seeing their daily jobs as something less. We must all understand that everything we do in life has a spiritual reality to it. We must be both natural and of the Spirit. This is what makes us ‘spiritual’ and there is a birthright for both of these aspects in life. There is a training involved for both of these birthrights. Training could include typing, schoolwork, learning technical skills, study, prayer, learning the word, standing in faith, living with mercy, and exhibiting grace. If using a computer would sharpen your job skills, you had better take a computer course. Read a book! If you are a public speaker then you need to learn some communication skills. If you work with people you need to walk out a process whereby you experience fewer complaints to no complaints from those you work with. Our training process includes learning to pray in the spirit. When we have children we have to learn how to be a parent. Life includes the elements of learning to be a father, a mother, or a friend. If you hold a practical job of painting houses, you need to learn to paint without any drips. We must seek to be the best employees or the best employers we can be. We must learn to pay your bills on time, or to make wise decisions in crisis situations. Life involves learning to be both a Martha and a Mary. We must learn to do the practical things of life and to apply ourselves fully to knowing the presence of God in all things.
Flesh is not bad; it’s the works of the flesh that are bad. Being in the flesh keeps you in your chair and allows you to drive your car. It makes you human. God wants the sons of men to walk with a divine authority. He wants us to be anointed mothers, fathers, wives, husbands, servants, and ambassadors of Christ.
There is a double portion. We are of the firstborn in Christ. In Christ we’ve become the original mankind. We are both spirit and natural. We are the son of man and the son of God. The Spirit of God is in us and the Spirit of God is upon us. Our goal is not to get to heaven, but to get heaven to earth. The fullness of LIFE on earth! Eternity is now and forever!
Food For Thought,
Ted J. Hanson