By Joseph Ametepe
"And Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit in the wilderness for forty days, being tempted by the devil. And He ate nothing during those days; and when they ended, He became hungry. And the devil said to Him, 'If You are the Son of God, tell this stone to become bread.' And Jesus answered him, 'It is written, man shall not live on bread alone...And Jesus answered and said to him, 'It is written, 'You shall worship the Lord" (Luke 4:1-4, 8).
This is a rich and remarkable passage of Scripture. It teaches us how the Lord Jesus Christ operated in the fullness of the Holy Spirit. Not only that, it reveals to us that the Lord Jesus was led, guided, or directed by the Holy Spirit. What a marvelous relationship between the Son of God and the Spirit of the God. But the lesson I would like to highlight from the life of the Lord Jesus is this: One of the marks of being full of the Holy Spirit is knowing and consistently relying on the Written Word of God. It is so special and sweet to note that the Lord Jesus Christ, who is the Living Word, fully and faithfully depended on the Written Word of God in His conflict with the devil. In fact, the scripture was so central in His life. The word of God was the foundation of His life on earth. The written word of God featured prominently in His life-that is, in His decisions, conflicts with the adversary, teaching, thinking, counseling, correction of others, and ministry. Actually, God's written word played a central role in His life before His death on the cross and after His resurrection. After He rose from the dead, one would have thought that He would simply set aside the Scriptures. But He specifically pointed His disciples to the written word. Before He opened the eyes of the two disciples going to Emmaus, the Lord Jesus rebuked them for being foolish and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken. Beginning with Moses and with all the prophets, He explained to them things concerning Himself in all the Scriptures (Luke 24:25,27). No doubt, scripture was an important part of His life.
Please notice that Luke chapter 4 begins by directing our attention to Jesus. He was described as being full of the Holy Spirit and led by the Spirit. That description is crucial. Why? It sets the stage for what follows. What followed? Jesus' own example of one of the characteristics of operating in the fullness of the Spirit of God. What is that characteristic? Knowing God's word and consistently relying on it in all of life's circumstances. The Lord Jesus knew and consistently relied on the written word of God. Notice the repeated phrase "it is written" (Greek: gegraptai- literally "it has been written"). In Mathew's account of the devil's temptation of our Lord, the expression "it is written," is used three times, clearly showing how consistently the Lord relied on the written word. "The use of gegraptai, it is written, in the perfect tense refers absolutely to what is found written in Holy Scripture... It always implies an appeal to the indisputable and legal authority of the passage quoted."-The Hebrew-Greek Key Study Bible. This shows that the Lord Jesus expressed unshakable confidence in the written word. It was His authority. Not only that, our Lord used the written word truthfully and honestly. He used it reverently. He honored it sincerely and steadfastly in His life. He quoted and applied it to His circumstances in its true context. He didn't twist it to say what He wanted it to say. On the other hand, even though the devil quoted the scripture in his temptation of the Lord, yet he did so dishonestly to achieve his clandestine and covert schemes. This is an important observation. Why? Just because a person quotes scripture doesn't mean that person is sincerely relying on the written word. It doesn't mean that person's confidence is rooted in the scriptures. Please, beware of people who take scripture out of its context to say what they want it to say. Beware of impostors who put on a false front of placing their confidence in the Bible when actually they are not. Beware of deceivers who twist God's word but actually don't honor it in their lives. Jesus was full of the Holy Spirit. As a result, He honored the Scripture in His life. He constantly depended on it. He relied on it throughout His life on earth. He held fast to it. He expressed total confidence in it. He revered it in His life. He faithfully wielded it as His weapon against the adversary. He has therefore left an example for us to follow. That is, when a believer is full of the Holy Spirit, one of the characteristics evident in his life is that he knows and consistently relies on the written word of God.
Some Christians claim that they are full of the Holy Spirit but know very little of the Scriptures. This is very sad indeed. Please understand that I am not talking about baby Christians. I am talking about Christians who claim to be in a relationship with Jesus Christ for many years. But they haven't grown in their understanding of the Scriptures. They haven't made the study of God's word an integral part of their lives. They haven't learned to saturate themselves with the scriptures. They haven't cultivated the habit of soaking themselves in the word. They haven't really developed a hunger for the word. Their idea of being full of the Holy Spirit only means the ability to "rattle in tongues." As long as they can speak in tongues, they are convinced that that is what being full of the Holy Sprit is about. How unbalanced! But sadly, they have overlooked the fact that the Lord Jesus Christ, who is not only our Savior, but also our Supreme Example in all things, is the One whose life really defines what fullness of the Holy Spirit is all about. His life reveals that being full of the Holy Spirit is about understanding God's Word and consistently relying on it.
As a believer in Jesus Christ, are you walking in the fullness of the Holy Spirit? What evidence is there in your life to show that you are walking in the fullness of the Spirit of God? Do you consistently rely on the written word of God? Do you confidently hold fast to it? Do you saturate yourself with the scriptures? Do you make the study of God's word an integral part of your life? Remember, one of the marks of being full of the Holy Spirit, as demonstrated in the life of our Lord Himself, is to know and consistently depend on the written word! May the Holy Spirit Himself help us to follow in the footsteps of our Savior Jesus!