“Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted there by the devil. For forty days and forty nights he fasted and became very hungry. 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.’”” Matthew 4:1-4
After Jesus is baptized by John and before He begins His earthly ministry He spends 40 days in the desert where He is tempted by the devil. Three times the devil tempts Jesus, offering Him shortcuts to achieving only part of what He was on earth to do. And each time Jesus refused, quoting scripture at the devil, using God’s word to refute the devil’s offers.
There are several points to take on board here. Firstly, temptation will come our way too. Jesus was tempted by the devil as the devil didn’t want to see the Kingdom advanced on earth. He wanted to compromise Jesus’ mission, and he wants to compromise us too as we follow in Jesus’ footsteps and seek to advance His Kingdom. The devil will try to get us doing things that distract us what God has called us to do. Things that may not be bad, but also aren’t great either. Turning rocks into bread wouldn’t have been a bad thing for Jesus, but Jesus knew that was not what would bring most glory to God. The devil will tempt us to take shortcuts, offering us what looks like something good but really is less than what God is calling us to. By bowing down to the devil Jesus could have had earthly power, but God had a higher purpose for Him – to make a way for all to enter the eternal Kingdom of Heaven. If Jesus had chosen power without the cross we would not have forgiveness for our sins. We need to be careful to make sure we do things God’s way and don’t listen to the devil’s temptations to take a route that seems easier but in reality takes us to a different direction to the one God is guiding us to.
Note how Jesus defends himself against temptation – with the Word of God. He says it is as essential to us as bread. Amongst Christians you would probably find if you asked them that most would agree God’s Word is good, true and trustworthy. Yet how many of us treat it as our daily bread? If we want to stand firm against the temptations that will come our way as we advance the Kingdom we need to arm ourselves with God’s word like never before. We need to treasure it. We need to let His truth sink deep into our hearts. We can’t afford to run on empty. There is too much at stake. We need to be feeding ourselves daily, not just on bread but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.
- Do you have a habit of reading the Bible daily? Why/why not?
- How could you make more time to read the Bible in your daily routine?
- What gets more of your time – God’s word or Facebook /twitter/youtube? What does that say about your priorities?
“For the word of God is alive and powerful. It is sharper than the sharpest two-edged sword, cutting between soul and spirit, between joint and marrow. It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires.” Hebrews 4:12