1 Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the Devil. 2 After He had fasted 40 days and 40 nights, He was hungry. 3 Then the tempter approached Him and said, “If You are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.” 4 But He answered, “It is written: Man must not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of God. ” 5 Then the Devil took Him to the holy city, had Him stand on the pinnacle of the temple, 6 and said to Him, “If You are the Son of God, throw Yourself down. For it is written He will give His angels orders concerning you , and they will support you with their hands so that you will not strike your foot against a stone. ” 7 Jesus told him, “It is also written: Do not test the Lord your God. ” 8 Again, the Devil took Him to a very high mountain and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. 9 And he said to Him, “I will give You all these things if You will fall down and worship me.” 10 Then Jesus told him, “Go away, Satan! For it is written: Worship the Lord your God, and serve only Him. ” 11 Then the Devil left Him, and immediately angels came and began to serve Him.
Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Holman Christian Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1999, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2009 by Holman Bible Publishers. Used by permission. Holman Christian Standard Bible®, Holman CSB®, and HCSB® are federally registered trademarks of Holman Bible Publishers.
Have you ever found yourself in a situation where you needed the strength to do the right thing? You were faced with a temptation, and you were either going to choose what you desire or submit to the Father’s will.
This is the scenario laid out before us in Matthew 4:1-11. Jesus was led by the Holy Spirit into the wilderness in order to be tempted by Satan, who tempted Him three times.
In the first temptation, Satan tempted Jesus to turn stones into bread. Jesus had been fasting for 40 days, so he could have easily given in to this temptation, but he refused. He resisted the temptation to satisfy a legitimate temporary need, because this wasn’t the will of the Father for him. Two more times, Satan sought to get Jesus to disobey the Father, but Jesus stood firm and didn’t give in.
In all three temptations, Jesus’ response was the same. He told Satan, “It is written…” and then proceeded to quote Scripture. Thus, we see Jesus model the importance of being able to recall and quote Scripture on the spot in order to resist Satan.
Any follower of Jesus should expect and be prepared to face temptation. God tells us to “be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. Resist him, firm in your faith…” (1 Peter 5:8-9).
The interesting thing about Satan is that he’s crafty and deceptive. He doesn’t usually come to you with one big temptation that will ruin your life. He tends to tempt every day, little by little, to see if you’re going to choose, like Jesus, to submit in obedience to the Father or disobey.
The more you disobey, the more he ruins and destroys. Memorizing Scripture is one of the best ways to be prepared and stand firm against temptation and to prevent Satan from bringing any ruin and/or destruction to your life.
The key to memorizing Scripture is to be organized, consistent, and accountable. Oftentimes people will write a verse on a piece of paper or a sticky note then lose it after a week or so. One of the best ways to begin organizing verses for memorization is to get some 3x5 cards, punch a hole in them, and put them on a ring that will hold all the cards together.
As you come across passages that you’d like to memorize, write down the reference and verse on the card. Start by memorizing one verse a week. Go over it every day until you can say it without looking at the card. For more help on getting started with scripture memory, check out the Topical Memory System produced by the Navigators.
I’ve found Scripture memory to be one of the most rewarding spiritual disciplines. To have God’s Word inside you is something no one can take away. It’s readily available for you to meditate on regardless of where you are or what you’re doing.
Memorizing Scripture hasn’t only helped me to resist temptation, but it’s enabled me to share the gospel with others on the spot and address situations that arise in everyday life in a godly way.
For the past 10 years, I’ve consistently memorized Scripture. When I struggled, it was usually because I didn’t have someone asking me about my verse. So find one other person today and see if he or she will join in memorizing with you. It will have a profound impact on the way you think, live, and resist temptation against Satan’s attacks!
Reflecting on Ephesians Matthew 4:1-11, here are a couple of ways to practice memorizing Scripture that will prepare you for spiritual battle:
- Think of some of the situations in life that often come up where you feel tempted. What are some of the sinful behaviors in your life that you or others have noticed recently? Write those down in your journal.
- Choose one or two verses that help combat those sins. Write them on 3x5 index/note cards.
- Ask a friend (maybe from your small group) to pray and memorize Scripture with you. Try to meet weekly over dinner or coffee.
- Remember to review your memorized verses daily. The secret to Scripture memory is to review, review, and review your verses.