Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, left the Jordan and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness, where for forty days he was tempted by the devil. He ate nothing during those days, and at the end of them he was hungry.… When the devil had finished all this tempting, he left him until an opportune time. [Luke 4:1-2,13 (NIV)]

Athabasca Falls - Alberta, CanadaAs I viewed the picturesque waterfall, the tremendous amount of water pouring over the rock, and the deep gorge formed by the glacial river, I thought of H. Jackson Brown’s quote: “In the confrontation between the stream and the rock, the stream always wins, not through strength but by perseverance.” Thinking it a good start for a devotion about patience and determination, I looked forward to writing it when I got home. Having been out of town thirty out of the last seventy days, however, I’ve been playing “catch-up” since returning from Canada. Domestic chores, family obligations, paper work, commitments, appointments, assorted health issues, and then my mother-in-law’s hospitalization have eaten away at me and I’m physically and emotionally exhausted. Today, during prayers, it occurred to me that something else is as persistent (and effective) as that rushing water—Satan! While the enemy enjoys throwing major disasters our way, as he did with Job, he also likes to peck at us like a troublesome woodpecker or whittle away at us as water does to rock. Through persistence, water defeats rock; like that persistent water, the enemy is determined to defeat us.

Satan came to Jesus when he was weakest—alone, tired and hungry after forty days of fasting in the wilderness. He does the same with us. It doesn’t take much for him to start his work. Even a small amount of worry, exhaustion, illness, busyness, discouragement, fear, delay, discontent, frustration, adversity, anger, anxiety, or pain makes us vulnerable to the enemy’s attacks. Add enough of them together for a long enough time and what seemed rock solid may break down or collapse.

The Apostle Peter likened Satan to a prowling lion and we should be wary of his attacks. If he can’t devour us in one assault, however, he’ll take a nibble out of our souls whenever an opportunity arises. Enough little nibbles can erode our spirit the same way water erodes rock. This morning, I realized that Satan was making inroads; it was time to shine up my armor of God and go on the offense. Instead of spending less time in Bible study and prayer, I needed to spend more (especially in the praise and thanksgiving departments)! While it may have taken five million years for water to carve the Grand Canyon, it wouldn’t take the enemy that long to leave a large chasm in my heart.

Almighty Father, Creator of all, thank you for the blessings of this and every day. Strengthen us so that we can resist the enemy’s attacks. Give us wisdom to understand your word and grace that we may live in obedience to it. May our faith increase daily so that we can do your work and fulfill your purpose for us; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. [Ephesians 6:10-11 (NIV)]

Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. [1 Peter 5:8 (NIV)]

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