Thursday, February 24th, 2011
Temptation #1: Stuff
Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every Word of God.
Luke 4:4 (KJV)
Satan: 'Command this stone that it be made bread' (Luke 4:3). Jesus rebuked Satan with scripture. Jesus' first major temptation after fasting in the desert for 40 days was stuff: in His case, food. He was hungry.
What stuff tempts you? Is it food? Hundreds of millions of people are limited by excess pounds, including 'old' me. I weighed 360 pounds at age 37--and long before that, I was a fat kid.
Are you tempted by cigarettes, alcohol or drugs? Clothes, gadgets, or cars? A beautiful and well-appointed house? A beautiful and well-appointed you?
I believe the temptation I call 'stuff' comes as the first of Jesus' major temptations in the books of Matthew and Luke--because it is the most common temptation; it is lust. Material possessions and physical entrapments are just that: entrapments. They seem desirable for a minute, but when the fun, flair, or flavor wear off, we crave our next bite, fix, fling, or thing.
Stuff steals the time and attention from the majority of people in this troubled world, including Christians. If we truly love Jesus, then we are truly saved, but who will we take with us? What is our legacy? Surely not stuff.
Most of us recognize stuff comes with strings attached. But strings grow into chains, and we can feel powerless to break them. Alone, we can't fight Satan.
Yet, we are not alone. We have the power of Jesus Christ Himself within us.
How do we tap into His power to conquer addictions and temptations? Follow Jesus' example.
Pray. Recite scripture. Use God's Own Words, because they bind Satan and bring freedom.
But remember--cutting through a thick chain may happen in one final whack after repeated attempts, or it may break off with slower chiseling. God sets the speed, but freedom will surely come.
P.S. To read the other devotions in this series, please see the Temptation series.