by Molly Audiss
Luke 4:1-3 “And Jesus being full of the Holy Ghost returned from Jordan, and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness, being forty days tempted of the devil. And in those days he did eat nothing: and when they were ended, he afterward hungered. And the devil said unto him, If thou be the Son of God, command this stone that it be made bread.”
Jesus had just been baptized and led by the Holy Spirit into the wilderness for forty foodless days of Satanic attack. Well, that sounds familiar, coming off a spiritual “high time,” when God the Father and God the Holy Spirit both gave Their approval, visibly and audibly to all those who witnessed His baptism. This is essentially the beginning of Christ’s ministry on Earth. Thirty years of waiting, hidden away in a carpenter’s shop, and He is finally about to do what God put Him on Earth to do. What is the first thing He had to do? Be tempted by Satan. Forty day’s worth, with nary a comfort food to help Him through. Not even coffee.
He, through the power of God, survived. Surely He was very weak when Satan suggested, “You say you’re God? Turn this stone into bread.” It’s interesting, that’s the very first way the Devil tried to get Jesus to fall. He appealed to His strongest desire (imagine how hungry He was!). Notice, Satan did not suggest that He should sin. He did not try to get Jesus to lie, cheat, steal, kill, or be immoral. Is it wrong to eat bread? No. He simply suggested that He do something that was fine to do, in order to satisfy His own hunger.
Satan is still tempting us in this same way. He takes something that is perfectly fine to do and tells us we should do it AT THE WRONG TIME AND FOR THE WRONG REASON. It was wrong for Jesus to create a loaf of bread to eat at that time. It was time to fast, not to eat. Did Jesus ever miraculously create bread? Yes, He did! (John 6:11) He did the very thing Satan had suggested, but at the correct time and for the right reasons. The Devil wanted Christ to do a miracle to simply satisfy His own physical desire. Every miracle Jesus performed on Earth was for the good of others (like feeding 5000 people bread), and with the ultimate goal of glorifying God.
Throughout Scripture, we see that there are certain things that God commands a Christian NOT to do. That is actually quite a short list. Living for God is living a life full of good things to enjoy. But timing is everything. Sometimes God wants us to refrain from something good (while it seems that everyone else is enjoying them), because it is not the right time for it in our own life. If we demand to have something WHEN WE WANT IT, it may be harmful to us and others. Satan knows this. He takes good things and tells us, “What’s wrong with this? If you want it, have it. Do it. It’s not a sin.” But if you simply have it to satisfy our own physical desires, it keeps you from the blessing of God.
I’m a black-and-white thinker, so this truth is difficult for me. It’s either right or wrong! Well, if I look at the way the Devil tempted Christ, I see that right things can be wrong at the wrong time and for the wrong motive.
My friend just called me and explained that she will not be able to join me for a church banquet this week. She is fasting for a specific purpose all week and cannot attend the meal. It’s right for all the ladies in our church to eat at this banquet, but it wouldn’t be right for her. This is a time of fasting in her life.
I remember weeks after having my 3rd child. I was sitting at home, looking out of the window, feeling sorry for myself (hormones and sleep depredation at work!) I was “stuck” home with an infant and a toddler, nursing like 8 hours a day. I felt like I had NO LIFE. So many of my friends were meeting up for coffee, going shopping, dressing up and going to work to talk to ADULTS. There I was, looking out the window and listening to Satan tell me how I should go do what I wanted. Now that infant is 10 years old. I have coffee with friends often. I work part time outside my home. I go shopping. None of these things are right or wrong, but it was God’s plan for me to put off those things for awhile. God’s will looks different in each life. He will ask us to deny good things for certain seasons throughout this journey to Heaven.
There may be times in your life when you are asked to be alone. It seems everyone else has (fill in the blank with the relationship that is missing for you— a spouse, a child, a best friend). It is a trial. Please, dear friend, do not demand something immediately, simply to fulfill a personal longing. Jesus may be wanting to get closer to you through your loneliness. God very well may have a baby, a spouse, a best friend for you when it is the right time. Satan always says “Now!” The Lord often says “Wait.” Let Him bring good things into your life at the right time.
Ladies, let’s follow the leading of the Holy Spirit, with Christ as our example. The Spirit led Him into the wilderness (a time of testing). The Spirit led Him to fast for 40 days (a time of denying physical desires). When this time of testing in His life ended (and it ALWAYS has an end, Friends!), then the angels came and ministered unto Jesus. (Matthew 4:11). God will take care of you!