Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. He fasted forty days and forty nights, and afterwards he was famished. (Matthew 4:1-2)
Satan tells Jesus the truth. Jesus could use God’s power in the ways the tempter suggested: To serve himself first. (Read the whole story in Matthew 4:1-11)
Use God’s power to feed yourself first.
Use God’s power to save & protect yourself first.
Use God’s power to make yourself the richest, most powerful man on earth, be #1.
The voice is so clever and crafty because it all sounds pretty good. It tells us what we and every other human on the planet want to hear. Be wise. Be full. Be safe. Be rich and powerful. Be first.
Jesus says no. God already provides me everything I need.
No matter how hot, tired, hungry, thirsty or lonely I am right now, God provides what I need.
Jesus identity as God’s Beloved Son is enough for the trials and temptations that lie ahead of him. He doesn’t need to give into the self-serving temptations all around him because God provides all he needs.
When he sits with the hungry crowds, the Spirit gives him the power to feed, not just one person, but thousands.
When he touches sick, the Spirit gives him the power to heal and raise the dead.
When Judas betrays and Peter denies him, he forges ahead, because the Spirit gave him a name God won’t ever forget: Beloved Son.
Remember your own baptism? God promised to send you the Holy Spirit, too. You will never be alone in the trials and temptations before you. In the Spirit’s power, like Jesus, you can refuse self-serving choices and make decisions that serve God and others. When you fail (and you will now and then), remember that in Jesus Christ, you still remain God’s Beloved Daughter. God’s Beloved Son.
Prayer: For the Spirit’s guidance and the words to say when I am tempted to put myself first and the needs of others last.