Having a challenging day? Circumstances got you mentally tied up? Is your flesh feeling fatigued, used and abused? Just to encourage you, Jesus also had days that tried to challenge Him. His daily activities worked to overwhelm Him and in the garden of Gethsemane, He had to overcome His flesh through submission. Thank God He did though; His triumph has become our life and victory!
Allow me to digress for a moment and explain the key to living above the approach of the enemy. 1 Thessalonians 5:23 clearly states that man is a triune being made up of spirit, soul and body. You are first spirit, and as a spirit, you possess a soul, which consists of your mind, will and emotions. Your soul works as a decider, a partner in accomplishing and producing the desire of either the spirit or the flesh. Last, you and your soul reside in a body. Once your spirit man, you, has been born again by the life of the Spirit of God in Christ Jesus, you set out on the practice of feeding your spirit, renewing your mind and crucifying your flesh. Dominate in life by understanding your make up and living out of your spirit. Too many neglect their spirit, focusing on their demanding flesh, which places them in Satan’s territory as easy prey. Proverbs 18:14 MSG reads, “A healthy spirit conquers adversity.”
In Luke 4:1, we see this played out so beautifully. Jesus was filled with the Holy Spirit and was led by the Spirit in the wilderness, and in Luke 4:14 it says, “Then Jesus returned in the power of the Spirit to Galilee.” This is the life you and I are called to live, a spiritual life, a life that walks by faith in the Spirit and denies the demands of the flesh that oppose God’s will.
When I was in Bible school, there was a statement that was passed around often, “Don’t be so spiritually minded that you’re no earthly good.” It was said to help all the goofy folks that weren’t being spiritual at all, but simply being weird. They went around using scripture or “Thus says the Lord” to get a date or simply justify their lack of character. The truth is that if you’re not spiritually minded, you won’t be any earthly good, but rather just a snack for the devil. (1 Peter 5:8)
After Jesus used the Word of God, which is spirit and life, to defeat the temptations of Satan Luke 4:13 says, “…he (Satan) departed from Him (Jesus) until an opportune time.”
This phrase “opportune time” grabbed my attention. I asked, “When is it an opportune time for the devil to bring temptation?” The Lord began to show me the answer to this. To understand you must realize that Satan operates in the natural, the five physical senses. The three temptations recorded in Luke 4 were all given from a fleshly and natural mindset, void of truth. Remember this, the devil tries to hold you captive through natural thoughts, but you hold Satan captive through renewing your mind and allowing God’s thoughts to become yours.
Ephesians 4:27 says, “…nor give place (an opportunity) to the devil.” This verse lies right in the middle of Paul’s encouragement of the church at Ephesus to put off the old man. To be renewed in the spirit of their mind and put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness. The Lord spoke to my heart and said, “The opportune time for the devil is when we are found in the confidence of the flesh and not in the confidence of the spirit!” Every thought and word must be taken captive and held in the realm of the Spirit, otherwise the pressure Satan brings through natural circumstances will absolutely crush you.
To live in the Spirit is to commit yourself to the working of the word and allow it to work on your behalf in every situation no matter what. It takes practice, and time will try your trust, but the truth is that God watches over His word to perform it and it will not return void, empty or without producing. It will work! Stay in the Spirit, pray in tongues and believe God as you rest in the promises.