The older I get, the more my memory fades. The girls will say something to me and I’ll say ‘I didn’t know that.’ And they’ll say ‘we told you just yesterday.’ And I’ll say ‘maybe you did, but I don’t remember.’ A month or so ago, I tucked some American money away in our home in a really good hiding spot. A few days ago I went to find it. I hid it in such a good spot, I couldn’t even remember where it was…but some stuff I remember…like really remember.
I was listening to a series of sermons one time a number of years ago, (I was listening on cassette, so it was a while ago!) and one sermon has left an incredible mark on my life. I will never forget it. It’s a sermon on the Jesus in the wilderness with Satan passage. I love that passage. Satan keeps pitching Jesus lies and Jesus keeps cracking Satan’s lies out of the park with his bat of truth…He keeps responding to the lies with the truth of God’s Word.
After pitch one, Satan clues in and realizes that Jesus is quoting Scripture, so he starts pitching in Scripture, wrongly understood. He starts pitching in twisted Scripture. And Jesus isn’t fooled at the plate and keeps swinging with Scripture rightly understood. Satan pitches a third one in and again Jesus responds with the Word and cracks that thing clear into the bleachers and it sends Satan to the dugout.
 Then the devil left him, and behold, angels came and were ministering to him. (Matthew 4:11 ESV)
Every time Jesus quoted Scripture in this passage, He quoted from the same book of the Bible: Deuteronomy. Could it be that He had been studying, memorizing, and meditating on that Old Testament book? This is speculative but it seems plausible. The point is that He was swinging and winning with the truth of God’s Word.
Many times in the day to day we have ideas that are thrown our way. From the pulpit, from books, from magazines and newspapers, from web sites, from popular music, from popular opinion, from unbelieving friends, from believing friends, from frenemies…and so on. Sometimes it’s truth, sometimes it’s false, sometimes there’s a bit of truth covering a lie. Stuff is pitched at us in all shapes and sizes with larger and smaller doses of the truth. So what helps us battle?
We need to have our Lousiville Sluggers drenched in the truth of God’s Word. Believers need to be believing people with our minds saturated in the Word of God: through reading it, studying it, memorizing it, meditating on it, and by hearing it preached. There is no quick road to being a wise discerning believer. It takes time.
The beauty of Jesus’ response to Satan could be put this way: identify the lie, replace with the truth. That’s what He did three times in the Matthew 4 passage. Each time Satan pitched Him a lie and each time, Jesus responded with the truth. Pitched a lie, smacked it with the truth…but in order to be discerning enough to do this, it takes time…time in His truthful Word.
When it comes to the hockey arena and you see the NHL star getting hat tricks and fifty and sixty goal seasons, he may have been born with some natural ability, but it took lots of early mornings out on the pond..some late evenings shooting at the empty net. It took the baseball player lots of throwing, and catching, and hitting behind the scenes before he became a big leaguer. It took the violinists lots of blood, sweat, and tears in practicing before her name was in big letters of the marque at the local concert hall. She stayed indoors a lot of days when her friends were going to movies and playing sports and hanging out. It took discipline to take the hockey player, the baseball player, and the violinist to get to where they are. It’s the same thing with a believer getting a handle on the Scriptures.
I came across a Bible reading system a few years back that I found incredibly helpful. I don’t use it as faithfully now as I did then, but I want to…and I’m back on track with it. I saw the beginning of September as a good time to get back on track and that may be where you are. With a new season upon us with kids and grandkids back to school, maybe it’s time for you to dig into God’s Word a little deeper, a little more faithfully, a little bit longer. The system that I’m recommending is hard core but you’ll become more discerning, over time, as you dig in. It will prep you for the assault in your life on God’s truth. The parallel passage in Luke 4 said that Satan left Him…but he’d be back, meaning this would be an on-going deal…more temptation would come. It’s no different for us. The temptations will keep on coming. Bible reading plans are a way that assists us in smacking the lies out of our lives when they get pitched at us on a daily basis.
Here’s the link…at least take a look, and see what you think: