Athlete, Consider What You are Eating
Luke 4:1-4 (ESV)
Man shall not live by bread alone.
A sports nutritionist probably wouldn’t recommend that you fast for 40 days. I think that after fasting just two days, if I had the power to turn stones into fresh bread with butter melting on top, I might give in to that temptation.
Jesus fasted for 40 days in the desert, but not to prove a dietary point. He did it to demonstrate that He is the Son of God, the one who would conquer sin so that His followers would have eternal victory over evil. The devil showed up to tempt Jesus to rebel against God, just like he had done successfully with Adam and Eve, during those 40 days when Jesus was physically compromised.
Have you ever noticed that temptation sneaks up in times of weakness? When we notice an opportunity for evil, we also hear a voice that tries to influence us, “How bad can it be? Did God really say? If God really loves you …?”
Satan wants to get in our heads, testing us to question our identity as God’s children.
But Jesus, though He was hungry, was also “full of the Holy Spirit.”
Jesus, God’s Son, did not fall victim to Satan’s lies like Adam and Eve did. Instead, He defended Satan’s attack with Scripture.
It’s interesting that Jesus quoted Deuteronomy 8:3, “Man does not live by bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord.” Just as physical food cares for our body, the Word of God — what God says is true about Himself and us — cares for our hearts, minds and souls.
In times of weakness, it’s easy to believe that human desires alone — sport, entertainment, sex, or some other type of gratification, can make us complete. The desires themselves are not evil, but we forget that God alone meets our every need.
Jesus went before us. He resisted temptation and stayed confident in His identity because of His relationship with His Father.
Because God has adopted you as His child, you can do the same.
Through the Holy Spirit, who “helps us in our weakness” (Romans 8:26), we can resist temptation and experience satisfaction that comes from God.
Reflect: Is there an area of your life that you are turning to for satisfaction other than Jesus?
A prayer to consider: God, thank You for being my Father. Thank You for sending Jesus as my ultimate example. Feed me by Your Word. Give me strength when I am weak. Remind me that as Your child, all I need is You.
Further reading: Matthew 4:1-4, Romans 8:1-30, 1 Corinthians 10:13