After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. The tempter came to him and said, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.” (Matthew 4:2-3)
Writing about this scene, Kenneth Erisman makes these astute observations.
1). Jesus only used His powers when led by the Father to do so (John 5:30); however, turning stones into bread was not one of those times. 2). Therefore, “Satan was trying to get Jesus to meet a legitimate need (food) in an illegitimate way.”
If we’re honest, we’d likely have to admit that our areas of greatest temptation are areas of legitimate needs met illegitimately. For example, most of us have a legitimate need for sexual intimacy. Satan knows that and if/when that need gets difficult to meet within marriage, he tempts us to meet it outside of marriage. We have a legitimate need for relational intimacy – guess what? Satan tempts us to meet that need in ways God would not approve.
We have legitimate needs for safety and security. So Satan will take that need and tempt us to lie, steal and cheat in order to pad a bank account. We need to be valued, respected, and appreciated. Our enemy will take those needs and convince us they are best met by self-effort, self-confidence, and self-promotion. On and on we could go.
Here’s my point. Because the needs are God-given and legitimate, it is right to want them filled. But take a look at the short list we mentioned – sexual fulfillment, relational closeness, financial security, self-worth and value – do ANY of those come easily in our fallen world? Heavens no. But we long for them, and so they make easy targets for Satan to step in and suggest, “You deserve this, why not get it here instead?!”
Take heed of the legitimate needs in your life – if you’re frustrated in any area be on guard, because that’s where the temptations are likely to arise. –Dave
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