When I get hungry enough, I get “hangry.” If I allow myself to get to this point, I feel like I start slipping up. I get snappy with my loved ones, I’m not as focused on the tasks at hand, and let’s just say this little light of mine don’t shine.
Jesus had gotten hungry too, but for much nobler circumstances. He had just been baptized and then the Spirit led him to the desert to be tempted by the devil. He had also just fasted forty days and forty nights. Satan’s first attempt at tempting Jesus was to entice him to make bread out of stones. How about that, the first way Satan tempted Jesus was through HUNGER. It’s such a basic, human experience, but when ignored it can have a poor outcome, just ask the mother of a toddler.
Of course, Jesus used this opportunity to remind Satan that bread doesn’t provide eternal sustenance.
“It is written: ‘Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’”—Matthew 4:4
Pain and Pride
Next on Satan’s temptation agenda was to threaten Jesus with pain and then to encourage Jesus to use His authority to get himself out of a bad situation. “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down. For it is written: ‘He will command his angels concerning you, and they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.”
I don’t know about you, but I don’t like pain. In the past I have done some pretty awful things to try to keep myself from feeling bad. This includes using excuses to get out of doing things my anxiety or fears have convinced me to avoid.
One issue that I struggle with is having all the answers; being an expert in all things. Because I’m not omniscient, I had developed a prideful spirit that persuaded me to shy away from stepping out on faith. In essence, I had put myself on a pedestal above God, denying His ability to work through me.
“It is also written: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’”—Matthew 4: 7
Last, Satan used power to tempt Jesus. Satan pulled out all the stops to cajole Jesus into worshiping him by tempting Him with the splendors of all the kingdoms. I imagine Satan put Jesus on top of a mountain and made all below Jesus look like the flashiest, most enticing wonderland possible (or maybe that’s just today’s culture influencing how I would experience the situation?)
If Satan used power as a temptation for Jesus, then how is he using power to tempt me? Could Satan be using areas where I am some sort of authority or in some role where I could abuse my position for his purposes? Ewww….that does not sit well, but it is a question to consider. How could he use me as a mother or a wife? Through my work? (I have a sneaking suspicion (read as ‘conviction’) that my desire to have all the answers creeps into how I could abuse my positions of authority. )
“…it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve Him only.” –Matthew 4: 10
“It is Written…”
Jesus is consistent with his response to Satan’s temptations: He uses the Word every time to put Satan in his place and to exalt God. Jesus endured Satan’s Greatest Hits as it came to temptations—hunger, pain, and power. Every time Satan grasped for a weakness, Jesus countered with how the Lord sustains us through hunger, pain and difficulties we encounter in the different roles we perform. Although we may be bombarded by Satan’s Greatest Hits—The Remix, we have Jesus’ response as a model for defense. “It is written….” “It is written….” “It is written…”!!!