“No man knows how bad he is until he has tried very hard to be good. A silly idea is current that good people do not know what temptation means. That is an obvious lie. Only those who try to resist temptation know how strong it is….Christ, because He was the only Man who never yielded to temptation, is also the only Man who knows to the full what temptation means.” – C.S. Lewis.
Think about the history of foods. God populated the earth with broccoli, cauliflower and spinach, green & yellow vegetables of all kinds, as well as all kinds of delicious fruits so men and women would live long, healthy lives. Then man created McDonald’s. Then man created the $1 menu with double cheeseburgers. And then man asked if you wanted fries with that and man said, “super-size them.” So man’s appetite and his waistline began to grow. And man gained pounds. Then man discovered he could bring home his McDonald’s and sit in front of his TV and watch all kinds of programs without moving because of his invention of the remote control. And so his appetite for TV programs grew as well. And man quickly discovered there were other temptations as well.
Appetites and temptations are designed to make us want to trade the favor and blessing of God for something that won’t satisfy and won’t last. The key is to not live for your appetites, but to live for God and trusting in Him. In Matthew 4, we read, “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.”
Satan attacked Jesus’s identity as the Son of God. The devil was saying, “Since you are God’s Son, speak the word that will turn these stones into loaves of bread. Besides that, you’ll have something to eat.” Jesus didn’t have to prove His identity to Himself or anyone else – let alone to Satan. We do not have to either. We can stand in God’s truth and in His power. We don’t have to live for our appetites, and we don’t have to measure up by the standards of others. There is nothing wrong with eating or watching TV. However, we can overdo it.
We must always remember that receiving His truth—not running away from it—is what leads to clarity and victory. The answers and “reasons why” may not always be immediately clear. But if you learn to place His unchanging, eternal truth far above your own appetites and experiences, you will soon begin to understand that truth leads.
Here is the question: Do you have an appetite or do your appetites have you? Temptations will always come. But we need God’s truth to know how to respond.
- What is the essence of Jesus’ first temptation, to turn stones into bread? Which temptations do we face that are similar?
- How does Satan try to get us to either question what God has revealed or twist the truth into what he wants us to do?
- What is your biggest “take away” from this message? What are you going to do about it?