“The ruler of this world is coming, and he has nothing in Me” (John 14:30).
There is the obvious reason this verse is important. It means Jesus is without sin and can be the our sin substitute. Yet, I’ve come to see a deeper side to this statement. First lets take a look at something James wrote.
“Each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed. Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death” (James 1:14–15).
You see, the great inroad Satan has into our lives is by our own uncontrolled desires. We’re enticed away from the righteousness of God by our unsanctified thoughts and wants. This can happen through ignorance, or we can lack the discipline or desire to obey.
I knew a man that was miraculously delivered from smoking cigarettes. He was prayed for and had no desire for another one. Years later he took it up again. Why? Stress came in and he didn’t resist the temptation. He was drawn away by his own desires and enticed. Demonic spirits that are familiar with us know our weaknesses, and if we’re not on guard, they can influence us to fall into destructive habits. Was this gentleman demon possessed? Absolutely not! He was oppressed by satanic influence and when the temptation came, he fell for it.
Do you remember when the Devil tempted Jesus in the wilderness? What did the scripture say when the Devil finished? “Now when the devil had ended every temptation, he departed from Him until an opportune time” (Luke 4:13). In-other-words, Satan was going to continue the assault at a time when he thought Jesus would fall for it.
Praise the Lord, Jesus never weakened! The Devil came and found nothing in Jesus that would cause Him to sin. He kept control of His thoughts and desires. I heard something that has stayed with me for forty years: “You can’t keep the birds from flying over you, but you can keep them from nesting in your hair.” Just because we have a thought doesn’t mean we have to let it take over our thinking. The lesson we need to learn is the Devil will come and try to influence us to fall into temptation. Even when we’ve won a battle, he’ll come again when he thinks it’s an “opportune time.”
This scripture now makes more sense: “For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ, and being ready to punish all disobedience when your obedience is fulfilled” (2 Corinthians 10:4–6).
The pressure that Satan attacked Jesus with is called demonic oppression. Jesus wasn’t possessed, but He was oppressed with temptation. When we’re tempted, demons use that desire to oppress us, so we’ll give into the temptation; and when temptation is conceived, it gives way to sin, and sin, when it is full grown, brings forth death.
As long as we’re in this world, we’re going to have to deal with the flesh and demonic pressure. Recognizing how Satan operates gives us an advantage.
Stay strong and prepared!