Advanced Preparation

"For the word of God is full of living power. It is sharper than the sharpest knife, cutting deep into the innermost thoughts and desires. It exposes us for what we really are." Hebrews 4:12

I tucked my 2 ½ year-old son, Paul, into the seat beside me and pulled my car out onto the road, a long to-do list rattling around in my mind. My new-born daughter Diana slept soundly in her carrier, content to go wherever we chose. While I drove, with the windows up, Paul and I sang with gusto. Recently I'd learned a new song based on Ephesians 6. I sang a line, "The weapons of our warfare are not carnal." Then Paul parroted the words and melody back to me, "Da vepons of owr wahfae ah not cawnal."

I didn't care that he was unable to pronounce the words correctly. I cared only that he begin to hide them in his heart. "They are mighty, they are mighty. The weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but they are mighty in the Holy Ghost. They are strong to the pulling down of strongholds, they are mighty they are mighty . . ." We sang it, and sang it and sang it again until Paul had the melody and most of the words memorized.

Storing God's word in our hearts and minds is a life-long task, one best begun early and in the quiet times of life. Childlike faith is sweet, but it's not great. It may be innocent and pure, but it needs to be tested to become strong. Times of testing will come and when they do you will weather the storm best if you are anchored by the timeless truths of the Word of God.

Jesus was tested in the wilderness of temptation (Matthew 4:1-13). He modeled for us the power of the Word in resisting temptation. When Satan questioned Jesus identity and relationship with God ("If you are the Son of God . . .") Jesus responded, "It is written, 'Man will not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes out of the mouth of God.' " (Deuteronomy 8:3)

Satan tried to trip up Jesus by getting Him to tempt God by throwing himself off the pinnacle of the temple. He quoted scripture from Psalm 91 to Jesus (hence the need for discernment). Jesus was not taken in, He quoted in return Deuteronomy 6:16, "You shall not tempt the Lord your God." "It is written, 'Worship the Lord your God and serve him only' " (Deuteronomy 6:13).

He tried one last time to tempt Jesus, this time with instant acclaim. "Bow down and worship me, and I'll give you all the kingdoms of the world." Jesus silenced him with the truth of God's word, "It is written, 'Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and Him only shalt thou serve.'"

Jesus knew the Word. He was not tossed into turmoil when Satan used scripture to try to trip Him up. Even when He was at His weakest – hungry, tired, alone, experiencing intense temptation, He stood strong. The Word, hidden in His heart, became His defense.

Under pressure, do you know enough scripture to successfully defend yourself against Satan . . . even if he comes as a scripture-quoting angel of light? Begin today to hide God's Word in your heart.

Prayer: "Father, help me to hide your Word in my heart so that I will not sin against you in times of testing and temptation. Do in me all that you need to do that you might do through me all that you long to do. Amen"