There's a simple trick that Jesus teaches us in order to respond to Satan's lures.
Just one verse each day.
The Gospel for this Sunday is Matthew 4:1-11
1. A word of introduction
Jesus was also tempted. And very much so. In today’s Gospel, he gives us an example of how to respond to temptation. Jesus does not say words from himself but quotes the Word of God. Let us look at this in three specific examples.
He fasted for forty days and forty nights,
and afterwards he was hungry.
The tempter approached and said to him,
“If you are the Son of God,
command that these stones become loaves of bread.”
Even though Jesus is God, He does not enter into dialogue with Satan. He replies to the tempter with the words of Scripture: “It is written: One does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes forth from the mouth of God.”
Then the devil took him to the holy city,
and made him stand on the parapet of the temple,
and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down.
For it is written:
He will command his angels concerning you
and with their hands they will support you,
lest you dash your foot against a stone.”
There is a higher degree of difficulty in the second temptation because Satan tempts by quoting the very Word of God, specifically Psalm 91. In truth, the evil spirit manipulates the Scriptures: He quotes a passage, taking it out of context. In doing so, he wants to force Jesus to do something contrary to God’s will.
Again, Jesus does not enter into dialogue with Satan, but quotes another passage of Scripture: “Again it is written, You shall not put the Lord, your God, to the test.”
Then the devil took him up to a very high mountain,
and showed him all the kingdoms of the world in their magnificence,
and he said to him, “All these I shall give to you,
if you will prostrate yourself and worship me.”
For so “little,” for one prostration, Satan promises Jesus everything. In the New Testament, bowing means acknowledging the divinity of the one who is bowed to. Jesus is firm and clear, and very humble. Again, he quotes the Word of God: “Get away, Satan! It is written: The Lord, your God, shall you worship and him alone shall you serve.”
God Himself, Jesus Christ, did not enter into dialogue with Satan. We are not smarter or more powerful than God. Entering into dialogue with the evil spirit is very risky. Jesus shows us another way to victory over Satan. This way is to reflect on God’s Word, live it, and obey God.
Jesus knew the Scriptures and lived them. The Word of God was deep in his heart, so he responded with passages from the Bible.
How do I reflect on the Word of God? How do I try to live it every day? How does God’s Word help me in temptation?