And when he had fasted forty days and forty nights, he was afterward an hungered. And when the tempter came to him, he said, If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread. But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.
Satan comes to Jesus when He is hungry, when He has a physical need, a fleshly desire to fulfill. And when Satan presents this temptation to Jesus, it wasn’t really a matter of whether Jesus could or couldn’t do it, but whether He should or shouldn’t do it. Jesus’ power is undeniable and unlimited. There is nothing impossible to Him. But He would not do anything outside of God’s will for Him. Bread wasn’t important to Jesus. His bread and His meat came from doing the will of His Father. And that obedience is the true source of life and strength and sustenance.
To eat or not to eat—Wasn’t that the first test of man’s obedience way back in the Garden of Eden? And he failed, longing to fulfill a fleshly desire rather than a spiritual one. He gave in to a temptation in direct defiance to God’s command to him. He listened to a lie instead of the truth. And he failed to rely on the resource of God’s Word to help him make the right decision. And we face that same challenge. There are many temptations that come along, many things that we could do and are able to do, but before we do anything, we should seek to know what God says we should do.
The main question really is, who is asking us to do it? If it is Satan’s voice prodding us along, then let us not give him more power and authority than the God of our lives and give in to him. Let us listen for the whisper of the Spirit. Let us search out every word of God and know what He expects and what He has commanded. Let us decide ahead of time that that will be our food and our strength and our source for everything so that in those weak and vulnerable moments we are able to resist the pull of the flesh and the temptation to consume something else outside of God’s will for us. Let us be so full of every word of God that we have no room for the lies of the devil.
There is more to life than bread. There is more to this world than satisfying every desire of the flesh with reckless abandon. There is the kind of life that Jesus models for us—one of obedience to our Father, seeking His will and His glory, being controlled and led by His Spirit and not our own. So when the tempter comes calling, let’s repel him with those words of truth and life given to us by God Himself. When our hearts and flesh pull us toward something questionable, let us rely on His Spirit to guide us into the right course. Let’s not seek out every temporary satisfaction we can find, but find the long-lasting and unending satisfaction that comes from pleasing God.