@robertkwendt || lead pastor
The college course was graded on just two tests—a mid-term and final exam.
After not doing so hot on the mid-term, the pressure was on to bring my absolute best in order to salvage a decent grade for the course. As I felt the pressure, I pushed myself harder to cover every piece of the material. So I spent late nights at the library, going without sleep the night before the exam.
When the test came, I was exhausted. As a result, I bombed the test.
It wasn't that I didn't know the material. I did. The problem was that my energy tank was empty.
We continually face tests from God's adversary, Satan. He often tests us, challenges us, and tries to trip us up when our energy level is low.
Here are four tips to keeping your tank full so you can overcome Satan's tests...
#1 - stand on scripture.
In order to get an understanding of how to conquer the tests of Satan, it's helpful to look at how Jesus responded when he was tested. Through the account of Luke (Luke 4:1-13), we can get a good picture of how we too can respond.
The first test that Luke talks about is Satan's challenge to Jesus to turn stones into bread. He did this when Jesus had gone 40 days without food. In fact, the account even tells us that Jesus was physically hungry (as if that needed to be said)!
It had to be tempting for Jesus to want to actually make that miracle happen. After all, he'd fasted for 40 days; he could probably intervene and meet his own physical need at this point.
But when we read the account, we see that Jesus refused to stand on his human desires, but instead he stood on what he knew was God's will. He reflected on Scripture:
The devil said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command this stone to become bread.” And Jesus answered him, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone.’” -Luke 4:3-4 (ESV)
One way to be prepared for the tests of Satan is to stand on Scripture. While it can be a tough task, it is worth going through the work of memorizing Bible verses. As attacks come, we can easily be reminded of the truths that overcome Satan's lies and deceptions.
One app I like to use for this is called Verses. It's an easy way to just work on one verse a day—or even one a week. Think about it—in 52 weeks, you can have anywhere from 52 to 365 passages memorized!
#2 - look big picture.
Satan wants us to focus on the things of this world. In fact, he wants us to define our success based on the social status we can acquire, the success we can achieve, or the wealth we can accumulate.
Yet Jesus argues the opposite. In fact, he even goes as far to say,
"My kingdom is not of this world." (John 18:36)
If Jesus' kingdom isn't of this world, then it has to be of something much bigger. Satan does to us what he even did to Jesus...offers us the things of this world.
And the devil took him up and showed him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time, and said to him, “To you I will give all this authority and their glory, for it has been delivered to me, and I give it to whom I will. If you, then, will worship me, it will all be yours.”
Time and time again Satan challenges us with this same offer.
A little cover-up will lead to a big raise.
It's just a small lie; no one will find out.
You only have one life to live, so live it up with the one life you get.
It's in these times that we must remind ourselves of Jesus' response:
"You shall worship the Lord your God, and him only shall you serve."
#3 - trust god to do what's best.
There was a time when I would lead retreats for students. I'll never forget leading a junior high group through a series of low ropes obstacles with the famous trust fall being one of the activities. It was during this activity that someone would stand at the top of a large stump and then fall into the hands of junior highers eager to catch them.
There was always a catch: if you put your butt out (the natural instinct to take matters into your own hands), you would fall right through. However, if you fell like a stiff plank, the students (no matter the size difference) were sure to catch you.
Satan put Jesus through a similar test (see Luke 4:9-12). He led him to the pinnacle of the temple and tested him to see if he would call on the angels and spiritual beings to catch him.
Jesus didn't fall for the test. He didn't take matters into his own hands, but rather said, "You shall not put the Lord your God to the test."
Jesus knew that not only was God with him, but also that God had a bigger plan than anything Satan could offer.
#4 - prepare for the next test.
Satan's testing of Jesus doesn't end once Jesus passed these tests. Luke's account states that "when the devil had ended every temptation, he departed from him until an opportune time" (Luke 4:13).
There would be more tests to come.
In the same way, we must realize that there are more tests to come. But there are two truths we can find comfort in.
Yes, tests can bring anxiety, but God assures us of his peace.
1) Tests are passable.
In writing to the Corinthians (1 Corinthians 10:13), Paul says:
"No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it."
2) Tests allow us to grow.
James, the brother of Jesus, wrote (James 1:2-4):
"Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing."
Satan will test us. But if we follow in the ways of Jesus, we'll end up being stronger because of it. Just make sure to always be keeping your spiritual tank full!
Photo by Fancycrave on Unsplash