It Is Written

Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. And after fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. And the tempter came and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread.” But he answered, It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by everyword that comes from the mouth of God.'” Then the devil took him to the holy city and set him on the pinnacle of the temple and said to him, “If you are the Son ofGod, throw yourself down, for it is written, ‘He will command his angels concerning you,’ and ‘On their hands they will bear you up, lest you strike your foot against a stone.'” Jesus said to him, Again it is written, ‘You shall not put the Lord your God to the test.'” Again the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. And he said to him, “All these I will give you, if you will fall down and worship me.” Then Jesus said to him, Be gone, Satan! For it is written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God and him only shall you serve.'” Then the devil left him, and behold, angels came and were ministering to him.  (Matthew 4:1-11, ESV)

This is the scripture that I have studied in preparation for teaching Sunday school in the morning. I teach the kindergarteners and the first graders in my church. They are a precious bunch and I do not take my responsibility lightly. Especially for a lesson like this one.

I have to help the little ones in my class understand the significance of the temptation of Jesus, what they can learn about God from it, and how they can apply this to their lives even now as 6 and 7 year olds.

But I have to start with myself.

As usual I have my nose in online newspapers (since school started I don’t have time during the day to catch much news on t.v.). A common headline reads, “Dollar drops again,” or “UN calls for global currency.” These kinds of stories make me feel sick to my stomach. I don’t really know why. Could it be that I’m just too amerocentric in my thinking? After all, there are hundreds of other countries whose currencies are not the dollar and their citizens are still alive. Why should I think that the dollar losing its prominence in the world market is a sign of the apocalypse? Did I read one too many of Tim LaHaye’s books? Or do I feel fearful because my faith really is in the dollar and not God at all? That last question is worst of all to grapple with.

So, then I started to think about what it would be like to be really hungry, like Jesus when he hadn’t eaten for 40 days and nights. I’ve done short fasts, 24-hour fasts, but I have never ever known that kind of hunger. I wonder how I will stand up under that true of a test. Will I use the sword of the Spirit and stand? Will I pray for grace? Will Jesus be more precious to me than bread on day 40? Or will I fail and cry out for the stones to to turn bread?

I don’t really have to do much to find out. After all, my response to temptation when my belly is full is a strong indicator as to how I’ll respond when my belly is empty. I am tempted to sin every single day. And every single day, I sin. The simple, plain truth is that when I sin I choose to gratify my desires and feelings rather than trust God and turn to His word for strength. And I make excuses for it every time.  Ugh.

After studying this lesson, I need to remember:

  • Matthew 6:25-34.  “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on.  Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing?…O you of little faith…Do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’…But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.  Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself.  Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.”
  • Psalm 37:25 “I have been young, and now am old, yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken or his children begging for bread.” 
  • Consider the great cloud of witnesses that surrounds me, throw off my sin and entanglements, and run (Hebrews 12)!
  • I am a sinner in need of God’s grace.  I will never be so mature that I outgrow my need for the gospel.  
  • Jesus won the victory over sin for me.
  • God is faithful.  He sent angels to minister to Jesus and he will provide the grace I need when the time comes.
  • God is greater than my flesh.
  • Keep pumping the word of God into the children in my life so that when their day of temptation comes they will be able to stand.

What would you add to my list?

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