After last Monday’s introduction to Kingdom Conflict we left with the question of “what does kingdom conflict look like?” So checking out Luke 4 gives us an idea of what attack looks like even if it is a tired old piece of paper that everyone I ever know has used to discuss spiritual conflict and temptation.
Before digging in too much however, I want to say that we as Christians must be discerning when confronted with trials. Sometimes they are attacks designed to destroy our faith and bring us away from God and sometimes they are just trials meant to grow us and bring us closer to the Father. The fact that your ’37 Chevy with 999,342 miles on it suddenly requires all kinds of parts replaced probably means that it’s an old car and not that satan is trying to mess with you. (Although I also admit than I can be wrong on this one. I’m just saying, be discerning and don’t lay everything at the devil’s doorstep just because you don’t like it.)
So three different categories of attack in general displayed in Luke 4. While the timing and pacing of these attacks will vary (John Wimber gives a great talk about the relationship of attack/Counter-attack) any offensive can be beaten back if it is recognized for what it is: an attempt by satan to take our worship away from God and to bring us away from the Father. So without further ado
4:3-4 “Turn these stones to bread.” An attack of the flesh in which satan shows up and challenges Christ to do something I’m reasonably certain the Son wants to do anyways which is eat. (You ever fasted for 40 days!? I’m ready to eat a cow after 6 hours.) Our flesh doesn’t just affect us and influence our spiritual lives, but satan can supercharge our flesh against us. Very often in such a case the person suffering the attack will come to a place where their repentance goes something like this “God I’ve sinned again and I’m kinda tired of confessing it, so how about you know I confess and I know you forgive me and we call it quits.” And nothing pulls us further from God faster, than deliberate sin.
4:6-8 “You want the world, you can have it.” The attack of the world or as I like to call it, the distraction attack. There are a lot of good things going on in this life that we can put our time and energy into, but are they bringing us closer to God or just keeping us busy? Imagine if Jesus had said “ok” then we would have had a couple of generations of great kings in Jerusalem and that would have been it. No salvation, no lasting Kingdom of God, just a vapor in the wind and I’m sure that would have suited satan just fine.
4:9-10 “You the son of God? Prove it.” The Identity attack. This is actually all over the entire confrontation where satan says “IF you are the Son of God.” Satan questions Jesus’ identity. Similarly, he will attack our identity in Christ. He will do anything he possibly can to make us doubt God’s love for us, that we are saved, that we are sons and daughter and heirs of the Father. Losing our identity in Christ will condemn us to a life that isn’t really life. It’ll be a half life filled with “if only.” “If only I could get that new job. If only I could pay off this debt. If only –“ A half life filled with maybes, could haves, or would haves.
And what do we do about it? We fight back of course.