Although we’re all probably familiar with the story of Jesus’ temptation in the wilderness, (see Luke 4:1-14) I think the wisdom in this account is often forgotten or rarely applied. When tempted by the devil, Jesus responded by quoting specific Scriptures that unveiled the lies behind Satan’s challenges. In the same way, have specific Scriptures stored up in our minds or on paper can be helpful when we are battling obvious or subtle lies in our thinking patterns.
For example, if I’m struggling with trusting God with my future, I may begin to doubt, thinking that God has forgotten me, or that I’m going to miss His plan for my life, or that He doesn’t have good things in store. Knowing that this kind of doubting is a common temptation for me, I could memorize or write out specific Scriptures to combat these thoughts, such as Proverbs 3:5, 6:
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.”
Or Psalm 34:10b:
“But they who seek the Lord shall not be in want of any good thing.”
It takes time and effort to discover what God’s Word says about a situation and then apply it, but the benefits are worth it.
Two Sides to the Coin
At times the burdens of life weigh like heavy stones on our hearts. Family or relationship problems, difficulties or trials – these things may be a reality in our lives, but unless we’re looking at the whole picture, our view easily becomes distorted.
We’re not called to ignore the mess and pain that life often brings, sweeping it under a façade of Pollyanna-like cheer. Be honest with God in how you’re feeling, but don’t stay there. Move toward the promises that are as firm in times of difficulties or depression as they are in times of ease and joy. Like Jeremiah in Lamentations 3:19-23 - he begins by honestly recounting the trials:
“Remember my affliction and my wandering, the wormwood and bitterness. Surely my soul remembers and is bowed down within me…”
But then moves on to the good news:
“This I recall to my mind, therefore I have hope. The Lord’s lovingkindnesses indeed never cease, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; Great is your faithfulness.”