You are going to be tempted. Overcoming temptation will lead to you living to your fullest potential in Christ. Giving into temptation kind of sends you back to the beginning and starting over.
As James says, “When troubles come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing.” James 1:2-4
Overcoming temptation is a joyful experience. It gives you endurance, which will develop into your perfection.
I am still a long way from that.
During that time the devil came and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become loaves of bread.”
But Jesus told him, “No! The Scriptures say, ‘People do not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.'” Matt 4:3-4
Jesus faced some strong temptations during His forty day fast. Satan aimed the temptations at specific areas of Jesus’ life. These areas were perceived by Satan as weaknesses.
In my life he is usually right. He knows my faults and weak areas.
He knew the areas to tempt Jesus in too.
Satan wants you to doubt because that will lead to failure.
To overcome doubt you must be God dependent!
The phrase “if you are the Son of God” is designed to cast doubt in the mind of Jesus. “If” seems to demand proof that He is who He is claiming to be. “If you are who you are then prove it by doing this!”
The appeal was to Jesus’ hunger – “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become loaves of bread.”
Although there is no doubt in my mind that Jesus could have done this, it totally removes the dependence upon God and would have made Jesus self-sufficient for Himself. He could have just filled His own needs.
But His response goes in the opposite direction – from self-sufficient to God dependent. It came in the form of scripture – God’s own word for man.
To overcome doubt you must know and believe the scripture.
Jesus did not have the New Testament like you do today. All that was available was that portion of your Bible that you know as the Old Testament. And it wasn’t in print form bound between two covers like a book. There was no pocket Bible to carry or a YouVersion on a smartphone.
The scriptures were copied by hand from scroll to scroll. A scroll was a long piece of paper like material. Instead of pages, this long piece was rolled up on two handles, usually wood. You had to unroll from one and roll it up on the other in order to find what you wanted to read.
These scrolls were not kept in homes but in the synagogues, which were kind of like a Jewish church. So in “church” was the only place you could read the scripture or hear it read to you.
So for Jesus to quote from Deuteronomy chapter 8, He would have had to memorize that portion of scripture.
This is what the entire verse says – Yes, he humbled you by letting you go hungry and then feeding you with manna, a food previously unknown to you and your ancestors. He did it to teach you that people do not live by bread alone; rather, we live by every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord. Deut 8:3
Note that the entire verse mentions the humility of “letting you go hungry”, which is fasting
Compare it to what Jesus said.
But Jesus told him, “No! The Scriptures say, ‘People do not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.'”
He was right on target.
Doubt is a lie but scripture is the truth!
Jesus knew that satisfying His hunger for food was not as important as satisfying His hunger for Father.
You will find more fulfillment and satisfaction today when you, too, seek Father for all your needs!
More on temptation next time.