2 And when he had fasted forty days and forty nights, he was afterward an hungred.
3 And when the tempter came to him, he said, If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread.
4 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.
5 Then the devil taketh him up into the holy city, and setteth him on a pinnacle of the temple,
6 And saith unto him, If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down: for it is written, He shall give his angels charge concerning thee: and in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone.
7 Jesus said unto him, It is written again, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God.
8 Again, the devil taketh him up into an exceeding high mountain, and sheweth him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them;
9 And saith unto him, All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me.
10 Then saith Jesus unto him, Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.
11 Then the devil leaveth him, and, behold, angels came and ministered unto him.
When I was younger this story did not draw my interest much because I didn’t find it relatable. After all, I could not see myself standing face to face with Satan. I was very aware that I was incapable of turning stones into bread. I would never stand on a high building and be tempted to jump knowing angels would save me. And I couldn’t even imagine a situation when the riches of the whole world would be offered to me.
As an adult with more scriptural maturity this story fascinates me! How amazing that almost all of our temptations can be placed into these three categories… physical appetite, a prideful desire for recognition, fame and glory, and a yearning for riches and other worldly things. I have been even more amazed at my most recent understanding of the common temptation Satan used in every one of these temptations when he addressed Christ. He used the challenge of our Lord’s divinity to try to get his way. How often does he try to make us question who we are as a means of getting us to distance ourselves from God, as a way to make us lose hope in our own potential and possibilities.
It has always been interesting to me that we could literally make a list of Satan’s temptations on a whiteboard or a sheet of paper and yet when we are in the middle of situations that include him feeding us those lines we honestly cannot make the connection. I know I have been in those situations. And my weakness and failings make me so very grateful for the gift of redemption offered through the atonement of Jesus Christ.
Christ had a very clear understanding of who He was and so He was able to overcome these temptations and tell Satan to get away from Him. I know that the more clearly we understand our own divine nature, our personal relationship to God and truly believe His love for us as His children, the easier it is for each of us to recognize Satan’s temptations for what they are and dismiss them. But I also know that we are very human and there will be times when we fall. As important as it is for us to fortify ourselves spiritually before hand so that we have a better chance of not giving into these lies, it is equally as important for us to understand that because Christ never did give in, He qualified to become our Savior and offer us a way back when we have proven unworthy. I thank God for the matchless gift of His divine Son!
I love President Hunter’s very clear depiction of Christ’ temptations and his explanation of how they apply to us.
Soul Searching Question:
What is one way in which you struggle that you can tell Satan to get behind you today?