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  • Bob Wilburn, District Superintendent

“Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.”


“Then was Jesus led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil. And when he had fasted forty days and forty nights, he was afterward an hungred. And when the tempter came to him, he said, If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread. But he answered and said, It is written, man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.”

(Matthew 4:1-4)

The first eleven verses of Matthew, Chapter Four describe Jesus’ warfare in the wilderness. Although, this most assuredly was not Jesus’ first bout with the devil, the Holy Spirit wanted us to have a detailed description of this battle. As with Jesus, so with us: there are no insignificant temptations. Every temptation has a very far-reaching consequence. When Satan tempted Jesus to turn the stones into bread, he targeted that which is common to all people in all cultures. “Appetite” speaks of hunger and legitimate need. In and of itself, hunger is not a sin. People hunger for food. People hunger for love, acceptance and intimacy. The need for relief of pain, whether it be physical or emotional, is a very real need. Hunger/need is not the problem. How we respond to those needs can create a problem. By definition, sin is an illegitimate answer to a legitimate need, hunger or desire. Satan is relentless in putting those “illegitimate” options in front of us. How many lives have been ravaged, wrecked and ruined as a result of choosing Satan’s option rather than God’s answer.

We don’t have to look far to find someone who’s life is in a downward spiral because of one bad choice after another. Perhaps, you are that person. God offers forgiveness for our failures and mercy for our mistakes. In God, we can start over. Only God can turn a mess into a miracle. The role of the church is not that of judge and jury. Ours is a message of redemption and restoration. When it seems Satan has come at us from every direction, we need more than a “high five” and a “you’re an overcomer in Jesus’ Name” word. Instruction must follow encouragement. Jesus responded to Satan’s temptation with the unchanging truth of God’s Word: “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.” God’s Word will strengthen, sustain, and satisfy us in every situation.

If you find yourself in an intense spiritual battle….tempted, torn and taunted by Satan-know this: God’s Word still stands true, “When the enemy shall come in like a flood, the Spirit of the Lord will lift up a standard against him.”

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