Temptations are not bad in themselves. The Holy Spirit led Jesus to be tempted by the devil (Matt. 4:1). In response, Jesus quoted Scripture from Deuteronomy that God's word was more important than bread in sustaining life, referring to pleasure or the desire of the flesh (Matt. 4:3-4).
After the second temptation, Jesus quoted Scripture to not put the Lord to the test. The devil wanted Christ to throw Himself down from the temple, referring to the power of position or the desire of the eyes (Matt. 4:5-7).
After the third temptation, Jesus quoted Scripture to worship the Lord and serve Him rather than the kingdoms of this world, referring to prestige or the pride of possessions (Matt. 4:8-11).
In Capernaum, Jesus fulfilled what was said through Isaiah that people living in darkness saw a great light and on those living in shadow of death, the light dawned. Jesus began to preach, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near" (Matt. 4:12-17).
In a similar way, we are tempted to prioritize earthly appetites of food, pleasure or possessions over our relationship with God. Jesus instructed Peter and Andrew to follow Him so He could make them fishers of men. They left their occupations and even family to follow Him. James and his brother, John, were in a boat preparing their nets. When Jesus called them, they immediately left the boat, their father and followed Him (Matt. 4:18-22).
Jesus went throughout Galilee teaching, preaching the good news of the kingdom and healing every disease and sickness. News spread and He healed those who were ill with various diseases, pain, demon-possessed, epileptics and paralytics. Large crowds followed Jesus (Matt. 4:23-25).
Our fast-paced society compels us to pursue activities at the expense of relationships. God wants us to point people to Christ through our example and words. Satan tempted Christ with pleasure (food), power (eyes) and prestige (possessions). We have to choose whom to trust (God’s Word or fleshly appetites), what we submit to (God’s Word or selfish pursuits) and who we worship (God Himself or ego gratification).
Meditating on God’s Word allows us to be filled with the Spirit so we fulfill God’s ultimate purpose in worshipping Him instead of the lusts of this world. Even our family or vocation can hinder us in making God the priority so we point people to Christ as a fisher of men.
What temptation of Christ can you most identify with and why? What step will you begin today to overcome that temptation and worship God instead?