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…

  1. Jesus won over temptation…
  2. Satan was already planning for the “next opportunity”…
  3. 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.

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