Philippians 4:8-9 (ESV)
8 Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. 9 What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.
The Maori people of New Zealand were specialists in catching prey. They would study the habits of their prey, and based on this information, would design elaborate snares at their prey's most vulnerable time of day: when they were hungry and thirsty.
As a result, natural snares made out of such natural elements as strips from the leaflet mid rib of the Ti Kouka, could be found in various flowering trees. Other snares were set as perches for pigeons, right beside rivulets or pools. These birds, attracted by these comfy-looking devices, eagerly landed on them. However they had to pass their head through a noose in order to drink, and you can already guess, it this was the last time they ever got to put their noses (or should I say beaks?) where they didn't belong!
Interestingly, someone else is a specialist in catching prey, and he, too, uses weaknesses to his advantage. Take, for example, Jesus in the desert. Who came to Him after 40 days of no food? The evil one.
We always imagine a physical confrontation between the two, but nowhere in the Bible is there any mention of this. It could also have been the same type of temptations we receive: thoughts in the mind. Because so many will take such thoughts as their own, the devil loves this type of temptation!
But how did the evil one tempt Jesus at first?
Through his hunger! And boy when we haven't eaten for 40 days and suddenly we have thoughts about food, we will literally begin having deep, longing desires to satisfy our hunger! The devil will make it so real that we will think we have no alternative but to accept the offer set up for us, which in all reality is an alternative from trusting the Lord!
"After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. The tempter came to him and said, "If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread." (Matt 4:2-3)
If we give in, we are automatically toast, burned to a crisp!
Jesus saw the temptation for what is was: a snare leading Him away from trusting God. And His reaction to temptations in general is a model of how we can face these victoriously: "Jesus said to him, Away from me, Satan! For it is written: "Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only."'" (Matt 4:10)
Let us see the snare for what it truly is! Let us not be fooled by the evil one into believing these are our own thoughts! Let us tell or even scream at him firmly that we are God's children and that he won't fool us. "Away from me, Satan!" Will force him to retreat and victory will be even sweeter when we, relying on God's Spirit, quote the Bible, (Naturally we will need to start reading God's Word in order to do so!) completing the utter defeat of the devil's ego.
Notice what the apostle Paul tells us about these "weapons" that are not "of this world" and that have " divine power to demolish strongholds". These weapons involve taking "captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ'. "Every thought"! This is the method the evil one uses to control us! Thoughts!
"The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ." (2 Cor 10:4-6)
It is time we stand up and do not let ourselves be fooled by those thoughts that we think are our own! It is time we learn to say "NO!!!" to the evil one. It is time we learn how to make the devil flee! In Jesus' name, "Away from me, Satan!" It is time we claim victory in Jesus. "But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ." (1 Cor 15:57) It is time we get ourselves acquainted with God's love letters, and learn to use them for what they were created for: giving us victory over thoughts that are not our own!
The perches near those beautiful streams may seem attractive, but I am not stupid enough to stick my neck through a noose to become easy prey! "Away from me, Satan!"
Dear Lord, thank You for giving us victory and for setting such a great example of how to defeat the evil one. Help us keep our eyes completely on you. In The Name of Jesus, Amen.