In Luke chapter four, we are told that Jesus, being full of the Holy Spirit, was led by the Spirit into the wilderness and began to fast. The devil begins to tempt him, saying, in verse three, that Jesus can make himself some bread from a stone. Jesus replies, in verse four, “No! The Scriptures say, ‘People do not live by bread alone.'”
This verse is very important in many ways. The first thing I thought about when I read this was the meaning of the word ‘live’. I think Jesus is telling us here that while our physical body may need food to live, our soul needs to be spiritually healthy, and that is far more important than any physical sustenance. Jesus knows that he is on a mission here, and he won’t allow anything to come before his spiritual condition, even physical sustenance.
Even though he was in physical form while he incarnated on earth, he wants us to understand that the needs of the body are less than that of the soul, and that we always need to put the condition of our soul before the cravings of the physical body.
Another way to see this verse is that it is an incentive to question all of our thoughts that encourage us to do things that may not be good for our soul. If even Jesus himself is allowed to be tempted by this malevolent being, then certainly we as human beings must encounter the same kind of treatment.
The further I go along this path of following Jesus the more it becomes clear to me that my thoughts are the genesis of the problems that I create for myself. I have spent a lot of my life ‘in my own head’ and as time goes on the more I realize, thanks to reading the Bible, that I can choose not to entertain the thoughts that can lead me down a crooked road.
Many of the thoughts that I choose to follow, especially when it comes to physical cravings or desires, are simply lies. They are impulses, first and foremost, but they become lies when my mind begins to tell me how I will feel or what will happen if I don’t follow through and satisfy carnal urges of whatever variety. (I am an over-eater so this is the first thing that comes to my mind).
Sometimes we use addictions and habits to tamp down on feelings of fear or past trauma, and sometimes these behaviors can do great damage to our souls and our physical lives if we follow the thoughts. Jesus gives us a great example here of how to refuse to consider the temptation the devil puts in front of him, and to cleave to his own righteousness and purity of spirit instead.
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