Obscurity: Appetites

Introduction:

Today we are going to look at appetites. People have different opinions about the value or harm when it comes to our appetites. Our appetites speak of desires and cravings that lead to our decision making. There are numerous examples in the Bible: Eve craved that which God had forbidden, Samson craved a relationship outside the will of God and ended up captured and blind and Judas craved money and because of yielding to that desire, sold Jesus to His enemies for 30 pieces of silver.

Something To Talk About:

In Matthew 4, we read about the temptation of Jesus. According to the Bible, Jesus went into the wilderness and “For forty days and forty nights he fasted and became very hungry” and then the “tempter “came and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become loaves of bread.” (Matthew 4:3)  In Matthew 4:4 Jesus gives the devil His answer: “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.” What is wonderful about Jesus’ temptation by Satan is that He was tested and did not sin. “For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin.”  (Hebrews 4:15 NASB)  Jesus models something different when it comes to appetites: truth leads. In order to let truth lead rather than appetites, we need to remember the following three things Jesus modeled for us:   

  1. Strength to detect a lie: The way to detect the lies of the devil is not to get to know the devil’s methods and tactics: rather it is getting to know the truth intimately When we know the truth, we can discern between falsehoods and the truth. It is fairly simple, the truth is the truth, and lies simply vanish when faced with truth. But that doesn’t mean we won’t be tempted, that the devil will not try to deceive us. But it seems that as soon as we’ve really gotten our appetites under control, when we grasp the idea that truth leads, just when we have a clearer understanding of our inseparable relationship with God, we’re tested to demonstrate that we indeed can detect the lies and deceptions of our enemy. Or, we’re tempted to believe that we really didn’t have a breakthrough with our appetites and cravings, or that God doesn’t really carry about us. This test/temptation/lies isn’t new. It happened to Jesus in Matthew 4.
  2. Strength to stand on truth: The enemy is good at his job and he knows just when and how to strike to do potentially the most damage. Often that is our appetites. When we try to edit truth to mesh with our own appetites or preferences, we are placing our own opinions and thoughts higher than God’s. 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.
  3. Strength to conquer temptation: We all experience temptation to follow our appetites and cravings instead of God – it’s part of life. Look at how Jesus teaches us to pray in The Lord’s Prayer (Matthew 6:13). He didn’t pray, “Father, keep us from temptation.” He prayed, “And don’t let us yield to temptation but rescue us from the evil one” So when we face temptation, we should pray for the strength to resist it. Strength is found in God’s Word, the Bible. In fact, there’s inherent power in the Word. In John 6:63, Jesus said, “The Spirit alone gives eternal life. Human effort accomplishes nothing. And the very words I have spoken to you are spirit and life.” Reading and meditating on the Word makes you stronger spiritually. If you can learn to stand upon the solid rock of God’s Word in every situation you face, you will not be vulnerable to the crafty distortion of truth the enemy uses against us. God is ready to plant your feet firmly upon the solid rock—which is Jesus Christ Himself. 

Questions:

  1. Jesus’ first temptation was to turn stones into bread. Which temptations do we face that are similar?
  2. How is a temptation different from a trial?
  3. 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?
  4. Where are you most likely to feel tempted? Read Proverbs 22:5: Can you avoid this place? If not, how can you best deal with the temptation?
  5. Read 2 Timothy 2:22:  Is it generally best to run away from temptation?
  6. What is your biggest “take away” from this passage? What are you going to do about it?  How will you apply this take away this week?

Take One Thing Home with You:

A lion’s work hours are only when he’s hungry; once he’s satisfied, work is over. We can relate because we understand our physical appetite for food. We get hungry and we tend to highlight various animals by saying “I can eat a horse.” or “I could eat an entire elephant” or “I’m as hungry as a bear.” Then when we eat we say, “I don’t think I will eat again for a week.” One hour later we ask, “What’s for dinner?” In other words, most of us are not in full control of our appetite for food. And that is true of other appetites as well. Appetites can take over our lives. Satan tempts us to satisfy godly appetites in ungodly ways. We control our appetites when we have the ability to detect a lie, the strength to stand on God’s truth and the strength to conquer temptation.