In April 1775, Paul Revere instructed three Boston patriots to put lanterns in the steeple of the Old North Church to report movement of British troops. Though the lights were only there for under a minute, across the Charles River in Charlestown, fellow Americans understood the signals. Subsequently, Paul Revere and William Dawes rode by horseback alerting nearby towns that the British were coming.
In the spiritual realm, it is important for Christians to understand that the attacks of Satan are coming to defeat us. I John 2:16 shines the light of understanding on the three primary avenues of his attack: “the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life.” We see all three of these present when the Spirit of God led the Savior into the wilderness where He was “tempted of the devil.” Satan began by questioning, “if thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made into bread” (Matthew 4:3). The Savior surely had the power to do so, but this was an appeal to the flesh. Christ was to endure victoriously these temptations as the Son of Man, and not as the Son of God with miraculous enablement to satisfy His hunger. Next, Satan tempted the Lord to throw Himself from the pinnacle of the temple that angels might protect Him (vss. 5-6). This temptation was an appeal to “the lusts of the eye” because it would have been a spectacle to see angels intervene. However, just as it would be improper for believers today to pursue reckless behavior to prove God’s care, it was also outside the will of God for the Son of Man to engage in such rash conduct. Finally, Satan offered the Savior all the kingdoms of the world if He would only worship him (vss. 8-9). This temptation appealed to the “pride of life,” as it would be gratifying for the Savior to have the worship of the world. But this was not the proper time, place, nor means for the Savior to achieve this end.
We, too, should be keenly alert to the ongoing temptations of Satan. Moreover, if we, like the Savior, arm ourselves with relevant verses to answer these temptations, we will have a far better chance to emerge victorious. Right now would be a good time to memorize a verse, or place verses in a prominent place, that apply to each of the three avenues where Satan will try to defeat you.
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