I noticed something while reading Matthew 4.
Each of the temptations Jesus faced were rooted in good desires: 1) Stone’s into bread: the desire to eat 2) A spectacular temple entrance – the desire for recognition 3) The kingdoms of the world and their splendor – the desire to rule.
It’s easy to assume that our sinful actions are rooted in sinful desires, but that’s not always the case. Sometimes, temptation comes in the form of a bad outlet for a good desire.
If we don’t meet good desires with good outlets, we will inevitably try to meet them with bad ones.
Upon being tested, Jesus relies on the Father’s strength, acknowledges he doesn’t have to prove anything, and rejects being falsely ruled by Satan – using the Word to proclaim truth.
I find it fascinating that Christ’s time of temptation is preceded by and concluded with divine love and affirmation.
Before he heads into the desert, the Spirit falls on him and the Father says, “This is my son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.” When his testing ends, we’re told that “the angels came and attended to him.” The Father meets his need for recognition, provides him with food, and affirms his rule. It’s as if his testing is sandwiched by what he needs most.
What legitimate desires have you been interpreting as illegitimate? How have you tried to fulfill your good desires through bad outlets? Are you allowing yourself to receive the Father’s love and affirmation and letting him meet your needs in his timing? Are using God’s truth to combat the devil’s lies?
Big questions, I know. But worth wrestling with.