Then, the devil took him to the holy city and had him stand on the temple's highest point. “If you are the Son of God,” he said, “throw yourself down. For it is written:“‘He will command his angels concerning you, and they will lift you up in their hands so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.’” Matthew 4:5-6
Knowing Him Is More Than Knowing Words
The "If you are the Son of God" question.
The enemy's temptations are always designed to get us to question our identity and God’s goodness.
Satan doubled down on his effort and leveraged it using scripture.
Soon after Jesus exchanged His life for mine, I went on a quest to learn all I could "about" God. This included memorizing and reading all the scripture I could. There were some beautiful fruits in later years that came from my learning.
But I was pursuing knowledge of the letters rather than intimacy with Him and seeking a grade, not a relationship.
This part of my journey lasted for five years. My actions were good, but my motives were very mixed, as revealed by the slow hardening of my heart and puffing up of my ego.
I thought the more I knew, the more God would be proud of me and love me.
God, in His mercy, allowed me to be broken.
And whosoever shall fall on this stone shall be broken: but on whomsoever it shall fall, it will grind him to powder. (Matthew 21:44).
At this point in my life, I finally heard and knew that I was God's beloved child.
His word wasn't something to master but reveal His love to you and me.
Some thoughts on this:
In what ways have you been the victim of scripture being used to coerce, shame, or manipulate you? (Note: This is not always by the enemy's use of others, but also by his invasive thoughts.)
How have you used scripture to coerce, shame, or manipulate others in relationships, faith-based settings, work, or play?
Memorizing scripture and applying it to your life is different.
Beware of anyone who knows scripture but is not loving.
Satan knows more scripture than you.
Satan can not create anything; he can only pervert. So, beware of his attempts to get you to use God's word to justify your reactions, attitudes, and actions contrary to Love.
It is not enough to know God's words; we are called into an intimate relationship with the Word of God, Jesus.
In this abiding relationship, the Word of God is alive in us, leading us from redemption to restoration for His glory.
How have you misused God's words to justify your reactions, attitudes, and actions contrary to His love for you?
How can you move from reading your bible as a checklist to enjoying it as your Bread of Life?
Lord, may we be aware and beware of manipulating ourselves or others with Your words. May we not seek to be correct but to know Your Truth as applied to our life. Thank You, Holy Spirit, for your fellowship and light that reveals the love of our Abba Father and union with Jesus. Amen