Peace be with you!
Temptations surround you wherever you go. Addicts struggle to give up their chosen substance(s)—pills, powder, or drinks. Those who face their addictions are constantly tempted by the one thing that can make them feel good temporarily, but that will ultimately destroy them in the end. The devil tempts you to go against the Lord by providing temporary gratification . You make excuses to justify why you give into the temptations, especially when you hurt others by doing so.
Jesus fasts for forty days and nights in the wilderness (Matthew 4:2). Fasting brings one closer to God the Father as we discussed on Ash Wednesday; it cleanses you and gives you the opportunity to examine your relationship with the Father.
During the forty days of fasting, Jesus is famished and is tempted by the devil (Matthew 4:1-2). The devil commands Jesus to turn stones into bread (Matthew 4:3). Fasting physically wears on a body and it is certainly understandable that Jesus was hungry. Yet Jesus says, “One does not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God” (Matthew 4:4). Jesus acknowledges the need to provide physical nourishment for his body. However, Jesus argues you need more then just food; you need to hear what God has to say. It is easy to think of God as silent, though he does speak to us through others, through situations, and in quiet moments. We live as long as God proclaims that we live. This is not dependent on circumstances, but on God’s command. In other words, Jesus trusts God to sustain Him. He is in total submission to God.
Then the devil places Jesus on top of the temple and tells him that if he jumps down, the Father will send angels to safeguard him (Matthew 4:5-6). Jesus says, “No, I do not need to and should not test my Father” (Matthew 4:7). Jesus knows God the Father will protect him when he is in danger. The Father provides you with what you need at all times. There is no need to test him to see what the Father says or does. The Father is all-knowing and all-powerful; there is no need to test him.
Lastly, the devil tells Jesus he can rule the world and have all of its riches if he just worships him (Matthew 4:8-9). This would be easier to do than what God the Father is asking of him—no going hungry, no being homeless, no being naked, no beating, no dying—yet Jesus does not give in. Jesus says, “No, you should only worship God the Father. He gives me all I need. Be gone, Satan!” (Matthew 4:10). Jesus will not take the devil’s temporary offer, because it has an expiration date. Life with the devil will end at the end of times. The world’s ways are only important for those who do not understand and believe there is nothing for us beyond this world. Jesus understands God the Father has a plan to save all of his children. Jesus finds no excuses to justify giving into the devi. Even in one of is weakest moments, Jesus finds strength in God the Father to deny the devil victory. When Jesus banishes the devil from his presence, God the Father sends angels to tend to Jesus. Unlike the devil, God the Father would never abandon his child.
Each time you refuse to listen to the devil’s justifications and simply tell him no, you are taking away his power. Excuses only serve you, and they hurt others. Find strength in God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit who will serve you in your darkest hour.
Thanks be to God!
Dear Heavenly Father, Thank you for giving Jesus and us strength to tell the devil no. Help us to stand firm in our faith and renounce the devil’s power. Hold us close to your heart as we spread the good news. Thank you for eternal life in your kingdom. Amen.
Thanks to the Triune God – God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit.
Please answer the following reflective questions in the comments below. Please agree to disagree and be respectful to each other. (If you have not already done so, please also take a moment, to sign the behavior covenant by commenting on it.) You can answer as many questions as you would like.
- How are you tempted?
- How do you tell the Devil no?