March 1, 2017
Wow! Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years Eve/Day, my birthday, Super Bowl, Valentine’s Day, and Fat Tuesday, 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 about 10 pounds. As I get older, I find it harder to lose those pounds, and the eating doesn’t even seem as worthwhile as it did 20 years ago. Now I am on my annual Lenten/Pre-Easter 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. And boy, it has each winter seems to feel a little colder each year here in Pennsylvania.
Hunger, although a very realistic and powerful human physical need, 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 use these harmful substances ‘only’ recreationally! 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, after fasting that long, Jesus faced the 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, putting His desire for food above His commitment to the Father, would have been sin for Him in that moment.
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 goes on and on. These desires and pursuits are not wrong in and of themselves. But they are wrong if they take priority over our relationship with our Lord. God’s plan and God’s leading must always come first in our lives.
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 and desires of our heart.
Today, take a moment to think about your life. Is there an area that is taking high priority that should not be? Is there something that takes up mind space or emotional energy and is pushing God out as well as the important earthly responsibilities He wants you to steward? Is this area 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 decision for you anyway. Develop a concrete strategy to break that hold on your heart. If you need some help breaking the chains a powerful addiction has on you, call our FREE National Helpline – 844-Life-Change (844-543-3242) – and we will find Christian treatment options and support groups to help you successfully resist Satan’s temptations. Whether you get help to resist temptation and turn your life around or you let Satan’s sweets pull you away from God, 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