Living the Christian Life – Chapter 11: The Sword of the Spirit

Inspiration MinistriesBy Inspiration Ministries7 Minutes

As we mentioned in the lesson on Bible reading, Scripture is our spiritual weapon of warfare. When the enemy comes at you with His lies and accusations, you respond by using your sword, the Word of God. There is a powerful example of this in the Old and New Testament contrast between what the Bible calls “the first Adam” and “the last Adam.” The apostle Paul contrasts the two “sons of God”—men born with God as their father, Adam of the Garden of Eden and Jesus:

Thus it is written, “The first man Adam became a living being”; the last Adam became a life-giving spirit” (1 Corinthians 15:45 ESV).

Both the first and the last Adam were tempted three times by the devil. Their response to this temptation made all the difference. The apostle John identifies these three temptations:

For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life—is not from the Father but is from the world (1 John 2:16 ESV).

In his seduction of Adam and Eve, Satan used these three temptations in Genesis 3:6 (ESV):

  1. The desires of the flesh—“the tree was good for food” even though they had been forbidden to eat from it.
  2. The desires of the eyes—“it was a delight to the eyes.”
  3. The pride of life—it “was to be desired to make one wise.”

Adam and Eve understood God’s word regarding the tree of the knowledge of good and evil:

And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, “You may surely eat of every tree of the garden, but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die” (Genesis 2:16 ESV).

Yet despite knowing the Word of God regarding this fateful tree, Adam and Eve did nothing to resist the temptation of the enemy, and they fell into sin.

We can contrast Adam’s failure with Jesus’ triumph over the devil. The Bible says Jesus was led into the desert by the Holy Spirit where he fasted for forty days. During this time, Satan appeared to Jesus when he was hungry and weary. Jesus, the “Last Adam,” was seduced with the same three temptations in the desert though in a different order in Matthew 4 (ESV).

  1. The desires of the flesh—“If you are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread” (v. 3).
  2. The pride of life—“Then the devil took him to the holy city and 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 will command his angels concerning you,” and “On their hands they will bear you up, lest you strike your foot against a stone”’” (vs. 5-6).
  3. The desires of the eyes—“The devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. And he said to him, ‘All these I will give you, if you will fall down and worship me’” (v. 9).

To each of these temptations, Jesus responded by wielding the Sword of the Spirit—quoting the Word of God.

  1. The desires of the flesh—“But he answered, ‘It is written, “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God”’” (v. 4).
  2. The pride of life—“Jesus said to him, ‘Again it is written, “You shall not put the Lord your God to the test”’” (v. 7).
  3. The desires of the eyes—“Then Jesus said to him, ‘Be gone, Satan! For it is written, “You shall worship the Lord your God and him only shall you serve”’” (v. 10).

Unlike the first Adam, Jesus, the Last Adam, responded to Satan’s temptations every time with the Sword of the Spirit, declaring: “It is written … It is written … It is written.”

Jesus is our example in spiritual warfare. So when the devil comes at you with his lies, you, too, can wield the Sword of the Spirit, standing boldly in faith and declaring, “It is written”!

There is one more lesson from this passage. You will notice in the second temptation that Satan actually quotes Scripture to Jesus. Because he is a “liar, and the father of lies” (John 8:44 ESV), he twists this Bible passage to try to trick Jesus into disobeying God’s plan for His life. This is a common scheme of the enemy, and one for which we must be on guard.

That is why we must follow Paul’s admonition to his disciple Timothy to accurately handle the word of truth (2 Timothy 2:15). That way, when the enemy comes at you with his lies, accusations, and temptations—even twisting Scripture in his deceit—you can resist him boldly, declaring like Jesus: “It is written.”

Be encouraged in the fight! The Bible gives you this promise as you do spiritual warfare with the devil: “So humble yourselves before God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you” (James 4:7 NLT).

Remember, the Holy Spirit is within you, so you are fighting the enemy with God on your side. So stand with this reassurance from Scripture: “The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil” (1 John 3:8 ESV).