Overcoming Temptations 2 - A Temptation & A Taunt
Updated: Sep 9, 2019
Chan Gin Kai
The devil said to him, “If you are the Son of God, tell this stone to become bread.” Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone.’” (Luke 4:3-4)
Satan knows how to hit us where it hurts. He assesses our condition, looks for weaknesses, and strikes where we are most likely to fail. Jesus had fasted for forty days, and predictably Satan’s first attack was on his hunger.
Temptations Of The Flesh
That’s Temptation 101; appeal to our physical needs and wants.
Like Jesus’ need for food especially after his super long fast, we have many genuine needs. We need food, shelter, money, companionship, security, and more. It is natural for us to care about our needs, and highly irresponsible if we don’t. But there is a fine line between concern and worry. Times may be tough and the little that we have may be stretched too thin. We keep our faith at first, but as days drag into weeks or months, with no relief in sight, we get anxious, and worried. We start to doubt, and we even accuse God. We compromise on our integrity and take short cuts. God knows what you need. After Jesus overcame the temptations, “angels came and attended him” (Matthew 4:11). Do not lose faith and succumb to temptations. God will send angels to care for you too.
We have to learn to differentiate between Needs, Wants and Desires. Many things that we consider needs are actually wants. I need food, I want a sumptuous meal and I desire a wagyu steak with truffle sauce in a restaurant with three Michelin stars. I need transport, I want a car and I desire a Lamborghini. I need companionship, I want a wife, I desire secret trysts with beautiful girls.
NEEDS are essential for our survival and well being. We’ve shouldn’t neglect our needs and hurt ourselves. We don’t die if our WANTS are not fulfilled. They’re often good to have, but we don’t necessarily have to fulfil them. DESIRES are not necessarily sins (extra-marital affairs certainly are); though the chasing of desires often brings us dangerously close to sin.
We’ve got to meet our Needs, but we don’t necessarily have to fulfil our Wants and Desires. When we confuse Needs, Wants, and Desires, we get trapped in an insatiable cycle of lusting for more. We lose the sense of contentment and a void in our heart starts to grow. We fall into sins when our pursuit of these things becomes more important than our relationship with God.
I pray that you will have your needs met. Congratulations to you if you can have your wants and desires (the non-sinful ones) fulfilled too. I am genuinely happy for you. But let’s not chase after them at the expense of the more important things in life.
Taunts On Our Pride
It was a two-pronged attack, a temptation and a taunt. Satan said to Jesus, “If you are the Son of God...”
It was not only an appeal to Jesus’ physical need, but also a challenge to Jesus’ pride. If you are the Son of God, why do you need to subject yourself to suffering? Why do you need to deprive yourself? If you’ve got the power to get out of a sticky situation, why don’t you use it? You are stupid to allow yourself to go through this. Show what you can do, prove your ability.
Haven’t we asked the same questions before? If I am a child of God, why am I suffering? Why do I need to deprive myself of all the wonderful pleasures of the world? Am I stupid to sacrifice so much and work so hard for God’s kingdom? Why do I need to follow rules and guidelines? Don’t I have my rights and the freedom of choice? Why do I need to rely on God when I've got the ability?
Satan taunts our pride to get us to question God’s ways. He wants us to question why we obey the Bible. He wants us to challenge God. Do we react to Satan’s taunts? Let’s not fall for his tricks. Always remember that God deserves our humble worship. We can trust in Him and His plans. God does know better than we do.
Jesus was tempted and taunted in the tough environment of the wilderness, after fasting for forty days. He didn’t give in to the temptations of the flesh, or the taunts to stir his pride. He remained faultless.
No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it. (1 Corinthians 10:13)
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Chan Gin Kai
Gin Kai is a film producer who believes in the power of media to inspire positive changes. He has spearheaded disaster relief and capacity building projects in impoverished communities across Asia. In church, he serves as a mentor to young professionals in the EDGE Ministry. He describes himself as "just a sinner who wants to get right with God".