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The Flesh

The Flesh

Words of Faith 3-19-18

Dr. Jeffrey D. Hoy © 2018

Jeff.Hoy@faithfellowshipweb.com

Faith Fellowship Church - Melbourne, FL

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Luke 4

    [3] The devil said to him, "If you are the Son of God, tell this stone to become bread."

    [4] Jesus answered, "It is written: 'Man does not live on bread alone.'"

 

     The first temptation, in some sense, was quite simple.  It was a temptation of the flesh.  While we can talk about it in many symbolic terms, fundamentally, Jesus was hungry.  He had sought to sharpen His hearing of God by fasting.  With a 40 day fast He probably had lost 25 pounds or more.  During such a fast the flesh cries out and then grows quiet. 

       When the Bible talks about "the flesh", it means more than just the body.  The flesh usually refers to the self and our tendency to go our own way following our fallen nature.  Jesus did not have a fallen nature but He was living in corruptible human flesh that had pangs of hunger, hurts and aches.  His flesh was growing older like all human flesh and when it was brutalized it bore pain and eventually death. To live in such flesh, incarnate, was part of the reconciling work of Jesus. 

       So this was real hunger.  How easy it would have been, since Jesus had the power of creation at His command, to meet the needs of His flesh.  But there was more going on here than just the temptation to rustle up a burger and fries in the desert.  This was the temptation to serve self.  It was the temptation not to trust God to get Him through.  It was the temptation to seize control of a situation with whatever power, rather than to trust God. 

       This first point of temptation is a place of self gratification.  For us, it is the temptation of a world that says: Be good to yourself, you deserve it.  Look out for number one.  Don't deny yourself a thing.  Pamper yourself.  Your appetites are good, normal and natural.  Feed your appetites and they will feed you. 

       There was also the temptation to prove something.  Prove you are somebody.  "If you really are the Son of God, tell this stone to become bread."  That phrase did not go away.  The same phrase will be there in the third temptation.  It will be there at the cross.

      Of course Jesus had an answer.  "It is written: 'Man does not live on bread alone.'" There are things far more nourishing than food for the flesh.  Later in His ministry Jesus would say, "My food, is to do the will of him who sent me and to finish his work" (John 4:34). 

         Now this is interesting.  Did God SPEAK to Jesus?  Did God give Him a new revelation?  A new Word? No.  A lifetime of being immersed in the Scripture suddenly showed its power in a clear answer.  The voice of God was resounding and clear.  We often miss the fact that Scripture is the voice of God.  So often we pray and seek saying "O Lord, give me Word.  Give me a sign. Speak to me".  Perhaps the Lord would say to us, if my Word in Scripture was adequate in the time of testing for Jesus then perhaps it is a good starting point for you.  Does that mean that God does not speak today? Not at all.  But most often He speaks to us in the Word of God and by the illumination of that Word by the Holy Spirit.

        So where are you today?  The most basic are of temptation is the flesh and with it our tendency to serve self.  Our culture urges us toward self-indulgence.  Our economy is driven by excessive consumption.  Is there an area where the Lord wants you to grow in self-control?  Is there a temptation to serve self that He wants you to overcome?  Is there a situation that you are tempted to control by whatever power you have rather than trust God?  This is the flesh.

 

        Father God, I give thanks for Your Word.  I am thankful for the power of the Word made flesh.  Thank You for Jesus who is my guide, example and strength.  Keep me from the temptation of the flesh. Show me the times and ways that I am simply serving self and guide me back to trust in You.  In Jesus' name.