WISDOM FOR LIVING DAILY DEVOTIONAL
MAY 18, 2023
TOPIC: GO AWAY FROM ME, SATAN!
BY T. O. BANSO
“Then Jesus said to him, ‘Away with you, Satan! For it is written, ‘You shall worship the LORD your God, and Him only you shall serve’” (Matthew 4:10 New King James Version).
As long as you’re alive, Satan will never cease tempting you. Temptation is not a sin; it is just an invitation to sin. Temptation is not the problem but it is giving into it.
The Bible tells us that Jesus Christ, the Son of God, was tempted. After His baptism by John, according to Matthew 4:1, Jesus was led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. Mark 1:13a says he was there in the wilderness for forty days, tempted by Satan. Also, Luke 4:1-2 says Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness, was tempted forty days tempted of the devil, ate nothing, and at the end of the forty days was hungry.
Just as human beings face temptation, Jesus was tempted. But the difference was that Jesus didn’t sin. “For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin” (Hebrews 4:15 New King James Version). This scripture refers to the victory of Jesus over Satan’s temptations as recorded in Matthew and Luke.
Hebrews 2:18 says that in that He Himself has suffered, being tempted, He is able to aid those who are tempted. Jesus was tempted but He did not sin. If He must be our Saviour, He must not be tainted by sin. And He wasn’t. 2 Corinthians 5:21 says for God made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.
However, as human beings, we face temptations from time to time. And there is no excuse for failing to overcome our temptations. We cannot blame anyone, as many do; they pass the buck. This will not exonerate us before God. Adam and Eve did that but it didn’t acquit them in the court of God. “Then the man said, ‘The woman whom You gave to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I ate.’ And the LORD God said to the woman, ‘What is this you have done?’ The woman said, ‘The serpent deceived me, and I ate’” (Genesis 3:12-13 New King James Version).
Did you see buck-passing? Adam blamed Eve and Eve blamed the serpent. God didn’t ask the serpent any questions. Maybe he would have blamed God for giving him access to the Garden! After listening to Adam and Eve, God pronounced judgment, in reverse order, on the three characters involved. He started with the serpent, followed by Eve, and, finally, Adam.
Buck-passing is a waste of time in addressing temptations. You cannot blame anyone because the final decision on what to do rests with you. Someone may tempt you to sin but you decide whether to accept his offer or reject it. Of course, you cannot blame God. You must accept responsibility for your action and inaction.
James 1:13-15 says, “Let no one say when he is tempted, ‘I am tempted by God’; for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone. But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed. Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death” (New King James Version).
I was reading the temptation of Jesus Christ again and meditating on the Matthew account. It is recorded that the devil tempted Jesus Christ, three times before this session of temptation ended. I was wondering if the temptation would have lasted as long as it did if Jesus had said something He said in answer to the last temptation and the devil left him. I felt this way because other than quoting the appropriate scripture to negate each temptation, this seems to be the only significant difference in what Jesus said.
Let’s use the Matthew account as the order of the temptations is different in Luke. When the tempter, the devil, tempted Jesus to command that the stones become bread if He was the Son of God, He replied, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God’” (Matthew 4:4 New King James Version).
The reply Jesus gave the devil didn’t make him desist from further tempting Him. He came up with another temptation. “Then the devil took Him up into the holy city, set Him on the pinnacle of the temple, and said to Him, ‘If You are the Son of God, throw Yourself down. For it is written: ‘He shall give His angels charge over you,’ and, ‘In their hands they shall bear you up, lest you dash your foot against a stone.’ Jesus said to him, ‘It is written again, ‘You shall not tempt the LORD your God’” (verses 5-7 New King James Version).
The devil was not deterred by Jesus’ reply. He dared to continue with his temptation. “Again, the devil took Him up on an exceedingly high mountain, and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. And he said to Him, ‘All these things I will give You if You will fall down and worship me.’ Then Jesus said to him, ‘Away with you, Satan! For it is written, ‘You shall worship the LORD your God, and Him only you shall serve’” (verses 8-10 New King James Version).
The next verse immediately after Jesus’ reply says, “Then the devil left Him, and behold, angels came and ministered to Him” (verse 11 New King James Version). Although Luke puts as second the temptation Matthew puts last, they both ended the temptation in a similar way. Luke 4:13 says, “Now when the devil had ended every temptation, he departed from Him until an opportune time” (New King James Version). This suggests that Satan, probably, came back another time to tempt Him.
My questions are: What changed during the last temptation of Jesus in the wilderness that made the devil leave Him? What made the tempter not continue with his temptation until he would be able to achieve his goal of making Jesus fall? Could there be something that Jesus said in his last answer that compelled the devil to depart? I don’t think he left because he didn’t have any other temptation for Jesus.
As I have said, apart from the different scriptures that Jesus quoted in response to the devil’s temptations, Jesus uttered a statement that is peculiar to His last reply. He said, “Away with you, Satan!” and followed it up with a quotation from the Bible as He had done in the past. Could it be that the devil departed because Jesus commanded him to go and he couldn’t disobey His command?
Ecclesiastes 8:4 says where the word of a king is, there is power and who may say to him, “What are you doing?” Perhaps there is something to learn from what Jesus said as one of the ways to deal with temptations. We can command the tempter to go away, and he will.
I was just asking myself that if Jesus had commanded Satan to go at the first temptation and quoted the scripture as He did, perhaps he would have left and not come up with the remaining temptations! Then, I thought probably Jesus didn’t say that because He wanted us to learn from the way Satan tempted Him or it wasn’t yet the right time.
The New Century Version renders Matthew 4:10 thus: “Jesus said to the devil, ‘Go away from me, Satan! It is written in the scriptures, ‘You must worship your God and serve only Him.’” This means that, following Jesus’ example, when Satan tempts you, you can command him to go away and quote a relevant scripture to back it up. He will go. “For assuredly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be removed and be cast into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that those things he says will be done, he will have whatever he says” (Mark 11:23 New King James Version).
Jesus also says in Luke 17:6, “If you have faith as a mustard seed, you can say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be pulled up by the roots and be planted in the sea,’ and it would obey you” (New King James Version). Go away from me, Satan!
In Mark 8, Jesus began to teach openly that He must suffer many things, and be rejected by the elders and chief priests and scribes. He said they would kill Him but after three days He would rise again. Peter took Him aside and began to rebuke Him (verses 31-32). “But when He had turned around and looked at His disciples, He rebuked Peter, saying, ‘Get behind Me, Satan! For you are not mindful of the things of God, but the things of men’” (verse 33 New King James Version). Some translations render the phrase “Get behind Me, Satan!” as “Go away from me, Satan!” (New Living Translation; New Century Version).
Peter was not Satan but Satan was speaking through him. Therefore, Jesus rebuked Satan who wanted to discourage Him from fulfilling the purpose for which He came. The Bible does not record that Satan spoke through Peter again to discourage Jesus after Jesus’ rebuke. Learn to rebuke Satan.
Satan often tempts us through sinful thoughts and we cannot overcome a sinful thought by resisting it. It will continue. You must break the thought by speaking to yourself the right words and replacing the thought with a godly, pure thought. As 2 Corinthians 10:5b says, bring every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ.
Whenever Satan tempts you with a sinful thought, command him, “Go away from me, Satan!” Then replace the sinful thought with a positive, godly, holy, pure thought. Focus your mind on what is not sinful or on what is right. “Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy–meditate on these things” (Philippians 4:8 New King James Version).
James 4:7 says you should submit to God; resist the devil and he will flee from you. You can command Satan to go away from you to overcome temptations. But you must also obey the Word of God that says you should abstain from every form of evil (1 Thessalonians 5:22). Remember that Joseph fled from Potiphar’s wife who seduced him (Genesis 39:7-12). 2 Timothy 2:22 says, “Flee also youthful lusts; but pursue righteousness, faith, love, peace with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart” (New King James Version).
Go away from me, Satan!
If you are not born again, you need to give your life to Jesus now. I urge you to take the following steps: *Admit that you are a sinner and you cannot save yourself and repent of your sins. *Confess Jesus as your Lord and Saviour. *Renounce your past way of life – your relationship with the devil and his works. *Invite Jesus into your life. *As a mark of seriousness to mature in the faith, start attending a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church. There they will teach you how to grow in the Kingdom of God.
Kindly say this prayer now: O Lord God, I come unto You today. I know I am a sinner and I cannot save myself. I believe that Jesus is the Son of God who died on the cross to save me and God raised Him on the third day. I repent of my sins and confess Jesus as my Lord and Saviour. I surrender my life to Jesus now and invite Him into my heart. By this prayer, I know I am saved. Thank You, Jesus, for saving me and making me a child of God.
I believe you have said this prayer from your heart. Congratulations! You will need to join a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church in your area where they will teach you how to live your new life in Christ Jesus. I pray that you flourish like a palm tree and grow like a cedar of Lebanon. May you grow into Christ in all things and become all God wants you to be. I will be glad to hear from you. The Lord be with you.
PRAYER POINTS: Father, forgive me for the lame excuses I have made for falling into temptations in the past. There is no excuse for my sins. I accept responsibility for my actions. Holy Spirit, help me to recognize the voice of Satan speaking through anyone to tempt me to sin. Father, let me not fall into temptations again. I receive the grace to overcome every temptation in Jesus’ name. Satan, I will no longer fall for your temptations; I rebuke you; go away from me, Satan.
(For over 900 in-depth and powerful messages by T. O. Banso, visit www.cedarministry.org).
T. O. Banso is the President of Cedar Ministry International, Abuja, Nigeria.
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