February 1, 2013
Wow! Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years, and my birthday are over and I’m finally at the end of the delectable but deadly gauntlet of tasty sweets and special holiday food. I ended up gaining 15 pounds. As I get older it is harder to lose those pounds, and it just doesn’t seem as worthwhile as it did 20 years ago. Now I am on my annual diet to get back to a reasonable weight so my clothes will fit comfortably and my heartburn will go away. The one benefit of the extra weight is that it does keep me a little warmer in the winter.
Hunger is a very realistic and powerful human physical need, one that gives many of us mild to significant trouble. In fact, 33% of Americans are obese, 75% are overweight, 32% are addicted to caffeine, 25% to nicotine, 13% to alcohol, and 8% to drugs. That doesn’t include those who recreationally use these harmful substances! The Bible tells us that the Holy Spirit led Jesus to the desert, where he fasted for 40 days. Satan was tempting Him for the duration of that time. Towards the end, Jesus faced a significant temptation of hunger.
Is eating to satisfy our hunger wrong? Of course not! But Jesus had been led by the Spirit and had made a commitment to God to fast during this time period. Breaking that fast by eating, by putting His desire for food above His commitment to the Father, would have been sin.
We experience many desires throughout each day that are normal and good: to succeed in a job, to dress nicely, to make or listen to music, to prosper financially and provide for our family, to enjoy shopping, to commit to a relationship, to participate in a ministry, to see someone we miss, to enjoy a skill or hobby we have. The list could go on. These things are not wrong in themselves. But they are wrong if they take priority over our relationship with the Lord. God’s plan and God’s leading must always come first.
Jesus responded to the temptation by quoting Scripture. “Man shall not live and be sustained by bread alone, but by every word and expression of God.” In other words, spiritual matters and faithfulness to God are life-sustaining and more important than physical resources could ever be, but especially when it comes to meeting our basic needs.
Today, take a moment to think about your life. Is there an area that is taking priority that should not be. Is there something that takes up mind space or emotional energy and is pushing out God and the important earthly responsibilities He wants you to steward? Is it causing you to slide backwards in your relationship with God? Is it tempting you to make wrong choices? If so, now is the time to get back on track. As Jesus taught us, turn to God’s Word. Say “no” to the temptation. That choice honors God and is the best thing for you anyway. Develop a concrete strategy to break that hold on your heart. If you need some help breaking the chains some temptations have on you, call our FREE National Helpline – (844) 543-3242 – and we will find Christian treatment options and support groups to help you successfully resist Satan’s temptations. Getting the help to resist temptation and turn your life around is your decision, so choose well.
Dear God, I confess there are areas in my life that are causing me to slide in my relationship with You. Fill me with Your Spirit so that I seek you. Teach me to understand Your Holy Bible better. Allow it to guide me as it guided Jesus. Please help me put Your word into action for practical living. I don’t want it to be just a part of my rarely-visited spiritual library. I pray this in the name of the One who always honored His ultimate priority, Jesus Christ; and all God’s children say – AMEN!
Then the devil said to Him, If You are the Son of God, order this stone to turn into a loaf of bread. And Jesus replied to him, “It is written, Man shall not live and be sustained by (on) bread alone but by every word and expression of God.” Luke 4:3-4
No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it. Therefore, my beloved, flee from idolatry. 1 Corinthians 10:13,14