1 Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted[a] by the devil. 2 After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. 3 The tempter came to him and said, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.”
4 Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’[b]”
Jesus is tempted in three ways which we will examine up close over the next three days.
The first temptation mentioned above has been called a temptation of hedonism or pleasure. Jesus is tempted to place his physical desire above his desire for God’s will. He responds by saying that what comes out of God’s mouth matters more than what goes into His. Not because food for the body is unimportant, but because centering our lives around fleeting desires will lead us away from God, not toward Him. What God provides is eternal because He is eternal. Living for those things that will last forever is God’s desire for us.
It is a waste of life to live for things that evaporate with the setting sun. Those things, no matter how good or necessary, ultimately become self-serving impulses. When we elevate them above all else, they erode our God given desires to the point that we no longer recognize God’s truth, beauty, and goodness. We settle for a superficial facsimile. One that provides temporary pleasure, but devoid of meaning or purpose other than its own momentary satisfaction.
The apostle James says that life itself is a vapor (James 4:14). In John 4, Jesus says that he offers us water that is so deeply thirst-quenching that we will never thirst again. In John 6 Jesus says He Himself is the bread of life that will provide us with unending nourishment. Jesus says that our greatest and ultimate pleasure is living in a deep, loving, eternal relationship with the One loves us best and most. When we put this first, all other desires fall into their God-given proportions and are transformed into acts of worship. Will we choose the bread that will spoil within a few hours, or the ancient stones upon which are written God's very words that will outlive us all?
What lifespan-limited desires are you exchanging for God's eternal pleasures?