According to ancient mythology, evil spirits resided in both water and in deserted places, so the Lord went down in the water of the Jordan to be baptized and went out to the wilderness to be tempted by Satan, thereby gaining victory for all of us over Satan. The Lord accepted being tempted by His enemy for our sake. He was willing to be put to the test by Satan to show us how to overcome him but also to demonstrate that we may attain victory through His victory as we are His body.
After forty days in the wilderness, He was hungry, so Satan came to tempt Him. Satan saw Him in His bodily weakness, and he moved with the intention to make the Lord fall and sin. So it is with us; we are tempted through our weakness and in our hunger. I don’t necessarily mean hunger for food; we might be hungry for compassion, kind words, friendship, money, recognition, physical touch, attention, promotion, relationship, etc. Some of these items are not wrong to desire; however, we must be careful in how they are offered to us and who is providing them because Satan will attempt to suggest them, offer them, and provide them. If we, too, want to be victorious in our temptations, we should consider how the Lord was victorious. I see in the Lord’s example a few factors that led to His victory:
Fasting: The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak, so it’s the flesh that needs to be brought into subjection and discipline through fasting. The first Adam was led out of the Garden because he didn’t keep his fasting and ate from the prohibited fruit, while the second Adam, Christ, came to fast and not to be brought into subjection under the serpent but to trample it down under His feet through His fasting. I don’t necessarily mean fasting from food but rather fasting from that which we are hungry for. Wrongly feeding our desires only enflame them.
Seclusion: If we want to be victorious in overcoming our temptations, quiet time must be a vital element in our spiritual discipline. In seclusion, we can get away from the noise of the world to evaluate our temptations, refocus on our spiritual journey, rediscover the kingdom within, and be rejuvenated to face Satan and his temptations in the world. “Do not be afraid. Stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord, which He will accomplish for you today” (Ex. 14:13). The Lord had time to be with the people and time to be alone with the Father, time to pray for the people and time to pray for His trials while sweating blood drops. Let us give ourselves time to be alone with our Father.
Scriptures: The Lord answered Satan using the Scriptures. Scriptures are the lamp to our feet and the light unto our path, so our minds should be immersed in the Scriptures and our mouths ready to answer to the temptations coming at us from the world and its prince.
These three elements are how the Lord was victorious over Satan and his temptations, and if we want to be victorious during our Lent, let’s keep these three things at the forefront.
One final thought: The Lord didn’t compromise in facing His temptations. He didn’t take short cuts, never used excuses, and was never lenient with Himself. He had many reasons to change the stones into bread: First, eating is not a sin; second, He had been fasting for a long period; and third, He didn’t need to fast or, as we say, “We don’t see the value in it,” etc. The Lord didn’t compromise with Satan. He knew the enemy very well, and He knew his deceptive methods and refused to deal with him, so let’s not compromise in our spiritual struggle either.