In my sometimes naïve mind, I often think that temptations come in this fierce easy to recognize monster-like ways. Yet the thing God keeps reminding me is that the devil also wears prada. Last week I was reading through the temptations that Christ went through in the wilderness and I found some deep truths that I am meditating on.
The devil is a canny dude, he knows our weakest link and he will try in every way to use this. The first temptation the devil takes Jesus through involves tempting His hunger. Jesus has not eaten for 40 days. 40 days without food, I can imagine how much is his tummy is hungering for food, rumbling even. And so when the first temptation is an offer for food, my thinking is this is as difficult as it comes. An offer for a yummy meal after 40 days of hunger will not be easy.
This temptation teaches me that the devil will always first strike where our personal weakness is.
If you are jobless, the devil will strike with seemingly justifiable illegal ways to make money, everybody is doing it any. If your marriage is on the rocks, he will strike with an ex-boyfriend who will seem perfect in your eyes. If you are single, he will strike with a lady who you are unequally yoked with and convince you that you can change her. If you are hungering for people’s approval, he will find a way of using this. He knows that the weakest link represents the easiest door for him to access through.
And this is where like our Lord Jesus we must be convinced that man shall not live by bread alone. We must be convinced of our need for the Lord. We must know that our relationship with Him is more important than anything else in our lives. We must be able to say like David “you unfailing love is better than life..” We must be able to ask ourselves of what use is it win the world but lose our soul.
Sometimes this conviction will waver; this is why we must always depend on the Holy Spirit to convict us of these. In our own strength, when the rubber meets the road, when you have been hungry for over 40 days, when you have been single for so long, when your marriage causes you to weep daily, it can only take the Hand of God to not fall into the devil’s trap. No amount of willpower, no amount of determination can rescue you from this snare, only the Holy Spirit Himself.
In the second temptation, the devil reveals to Jesus all the kingdoms of the world. “I will give you the glory of these kingdoms and authority over them. I will give it all if you will worship me.”
The devil was tapping into our innate need to be great. We all have that need; a need to be someone important. It is bad enough that food is being offered, but in addition at this moment of fuzzy thoughts power is offered as well. In our today world, it is that moment where work is not working out and someone offers you a position at a top organization, all you need to do is bribe them. Or an offer to be the owner of property at some throw away price, all you need to do is sleep with the person.
It’s a tempting offer at a moment of weakness. Yet the response I hear from Jesus is something we must never lose sight off, ‘You must worship the Lord our God and serve only Him”. Many times we have semi-gods in our lives, things that compete with our love for God. We must displace them, we must never lose sight of that we are called to serve the Lord God alone.
Happily ever after
Then there was the third temptation.
But what saddens my heart is even after the Lord wins this round of temptation, the scripture does not end with He then lived happily ever after. No, that only happens in movies. This round of temptation ends with a scripture that says, “When the devil finished tempting Jesus, he left Him until the next opportunity came”.
Yap, another opportunity for the devil to tempt us will come, it’s a sure thing. It’s the reason we are called to die to self-daily. The victories of today will not count tomorrow unless we are submitted to the Lord. The devil roams looking for someone to devour. May he find me lost in the Lord’s goodness, fully sold out to His will alone. And when I fall, when i slide to the selfish self, may I find my way back to the Lord Jesus who has overcome.