Small victories matter!
I was reading in Luke’s gospel a story I’m familiar with, which is why I was surprised when a couple of verses stood out to me in a way they hadn’t before. Right after Satan had finished his spiritual assault on the resolve of Jesus, the Bible says this:
When the devil had finished tempting Jesus, he left him until the next opportunity came. Then Jesus returned to Galilee, filled with the Holy Spirit’s power.
– Luke 4:13-14 NLT
Maybe it’s because these two verses are almost always divided from each other in our modern Bibles by a subheading of some sort, but I’d never quite caught the significance of the order and flow. Let me point it out…
- Jesus won over temptation…
- Satan was already planning for the “next opportunity”…
- Jesus was “filled with the Holy Spirit’s power.”
In other words, today’s victory prepares us for the next battle, and there will always be a next battle. Why is this? Perhaps it’s simply a matter of consecration. We “win” only because we take shelter in the God who wins, and taking shelter in Him teaches us that there is no other way to win. I think it also boosts my spiritual morale, but hopefully not to the point of pride.
The next time you battle temptation, remember this simple challenge: Win! No matter how small the victory, winning now will set you up to win again. And if you’re in a pattern of losing, stop it! Look to Jesus, talk to a friend, read the Scriptures, and pray your way through this next onslaught.