Have you ever wondered why retail and grocery stores put items such as magazines, candy, and knickknacks in the checkout lanes? This is a selling tactic known as ‘impulse buying’ and its intent is to entice you into buying a product or service you really did not intend on getting. The act of impulse buying is triggered when someone sees a product or a well-crafted advertisement that entices him or her to make the purchase. It has been noted that some 20 percent of what shoppers purchase at the grocery store result from impulse buying. Okay Darryl, what is with this shopping channel history lesson? Well I am glad you asked because the strategy of impulse buying is an excellent example to the strategy Satan uses to tempt others and one that could be termed – impulse sinning.
A good example would be that of Adam and Eve who were enticed by Satan in the Garden of Eden and as the story unfolds, each were overcome by the appealing sight of the fruit and the desire to have wisdom like that of God. So much so, they both acted on nothing but sheer impulse! So, one could say that it was the strategy of impulse sinning that caused the fall of man and it worked so well, Satan employed this same strategy in dealing with God’s chosen Messiah.
After being baptized, Jesus was led into the wilderness by the Spirit for the very purpose of allowing Satan to employ his highly successful tactic of impulse sinning. The bible states that Jesus had been fasting for 40 days and nights and at which time He become hungry – you think. Physically weakened from hunger, Satan viewed this as an opportune time to put his plan into motion.
Notice Satan looked for an opportune time meaning he does not come at us when we are at the top of our game, but rather when we are physically and mentally weak and weary. Like that of a professional angler, Satan looks for that perfect piece of bait that will entice us and sadly, at one time or another, each of us has taken the bait as well as hook, line, and sinker.
Satan said, “If You are the Son of God, command that these stones become bread,” (Matthew 4:3) pitting his attack on the physical hunger of Jesus. It is noteworthy to say that the word “if” can also be translated as "since’" i.e. since You are the Son of God…, because Satan knew exactly who Jesus was and thus, he was pulling out all the stops.
However, Jesus did not act on impulse like that of Adam and Eve, but responded by saying, “It is written, ‘MAN SHALL NOT LIVE ON BREAD ALONE, BUT ON EVERY WORD THAT PROCEEDS OUT OF THE MOUTH OF GOD.’” (Matthew 4:4) and thus, foiled Satan's attempt to have Him falter.
What did Jesus use to ward off Satan’s attack - Scripture! This is the same scripture given to us with the same power and authority to defend ourselves against the forces of evil, but the question is do you study God’s word regularly? Are you prepared for the next wave of attacks by Satan because it is not a matter of “if” dear brother/sister, but that of “when” and it will come and so be prepared and on guard.
Nevertheless, this did not discourage Satan and he went on to tempt Jesus two more times. Each time, Jesus did not succumb to Satan’s impulse strategy, but rather He relied on the power and protection of God’s word - a shield not even Satan can penetrate.
Okay wait a minute you say – the bible states God cannot be tempted by evil (Ref. James 1:13) and so how is it that Jesus was tempted by Satan? Good question and the answer is because Jesus was both God and man, and He chose to set His divinity aside i.e. he refrained from using His divine power, but He never ceased being God.
You see Jesus was never tempted by Satan as God, but He did experience the physical pressures of being tempted as a man. As a man, Jesus experienced human joy and sorrow, human strength and weakness, and not only human birth, but also human death.
So dear brother or sister, regardless of the trial or temptation you may be facing today, do not fall for Satan’s gimmick of impulse sinning. Jesus understands exactly what you are facing or going through and He can get you through it – trust in Him because He has truly been there and done that!
About the Author:
My name is Darryl Orrell and I am an aspiring pastor and dedicated servant of God in sharing the good news of Jesus Christ with the entire world. I write weekly devotions in the hope of inspiring other fellow believers as well as leading those who are yet lost in darkness to accept Jesus Christ as their personal Savior and Lord. You can find me on the web at http://thoughtof-theweek.