First Temptation

It was a long time coming, but you did it!

Now you're famished, depleted in both body and soul.
  • You've waved goodbye to the FedX man who holds your project.
  • You clicked SEND on that 12-page paper.
  • The test is over and you did well.

We've all experienced those "Ah-h" moments when we lean back, shut our eyes, and exhale. As tension drains from our bodies, our senses come alive.

"Feed me!"
"Rest me!"

"Entertain me!"

Our flesh wastes no time shouting its demands when it needs something. And we usually waste no time in meeting those demands. However, when those demands are at their peak, Satan usually arrives with enticing options.

"Go ahead and overeat. You earned it."

"Go ahead and call in sick. You deserve the rest."

"Go ahead and click on that porn site, visit the bar, pick up an easy mark. No one will know and you'll feel so much better."

Satan is clever, powerful, and persistent. But he's not very original. He's been using the same lines since the Garden of Eden, and we fall for them over and over again.

We can spot some of his best lines by studying the way he tempted Jesus. I picture him as a greasy used-car salesman.

Jesus had spent 40 days fasting and praying, seeking His Father's will and strength for the battle ahead.

But Satan has no manners. He doesn't respect our intent or needs. He strikes wherever he can--wherever we appear weak.

"Hey, Jesus," he sneered. "IF indeed you are the Son of God..."

I can hear him clear his throat. He may been munching on a hunk of warm bread when he sidled up to Jesus and lowered his voice.

You know, I'm still not clear on that whole Son of God thing. Here's a good chance for you to prove it to me, once and for all. I know you're hungry. Why don't you do a miracle for me? If you really can, then why don't you turn those rocks into bread? Wow, I'd be impressed!"

Imagine yourself in Jesus' sandals. You're famished. You're not thinking straight. Your body is screaming for food and someone has just suggested a harmless solution. What could it hurt? You can do anything you want and maybe it's time someone set this jerk straight.

Have you ever wondered why He didn't do it?

It wasn't a sin. He did miracles like that all the time. So what was wrong with Satan's suggestion? Why was that considered a temptation?

The evil began with the first word:
if. Satan was tempting Jesus to doubt His own identity and to verify it by responding to that doubt. If Satan could get Jesus to meet his own physical needs rather than allow His Father to do it, then the rest of us have no hope at all.

He hits us where we are weakest, when our fleshly need is screaming, and he knows it is all we can hear.

IF you really are a Christian, you can do this little thing to satisfy yourself and God won't love you any less. You can handle it. You deserve it. God will understand."

And by the thousands, we fall for it. We decide that God doesn't know what we need, so we have to provide it for ourselves. Any way we can. No harm done, right?

The only solution is to do what Jesus did.It didn't matter that he was hungry, thirsty, and tired. His physical reality did nothing to diminish spiritual truth. He responded with, "It is written..."

He didn't give himself time to consider the suggestion, argue, or discuss options. He showed no concern whatsoever with Satan's slam at his identity. He knew who He was.

And you need to know who you are.

If you've made the Lord Jesus Christ master of your life, then you belong to God and nothing can change that.

God has promised to meet your needs according to His will for you. Anything short of that is compromise with the devil.

When that greasy voice echoes in your ear, remember Jesus. He gave you a model of resistance to remind you that if He can do it, so can you.

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