For forty days he was tempted by the devil. He ate nothing during those days, and at the end of them he was hungry (Luke 4: NIV).
Hunger! Defined as “a feeling of discomfort or weakness caused by lack of food.” Hunger can range from a vague emptiness to a desperate urge. Most of us wouldn’t choose to feel hungry. And yet, that’s what Jesus did when He fasted in the desert for forty days while He resisted the devil’s temptations. I’ve wondered why He would intentionally weaken Himself physically just when He needed His strength the most.
Does it surprise you that Jesus allowed Himself to be tempted? After all, He was God in human flesh. But remember that the Bible teaches us He was tempted in all the ways we are, but without sin.
The same weapons Jesus used to battle the devil are available to us. He stood His ground by standing on God’s Word. And He fought in the power of the Holy Spirit.
So what role does hunger play in this scenario? Let’s take a minute to reflect on the verse from Deuteronomy which Jesus quoted when the devil tempted Him to satisfy His hunger by turning stones to bread:
He humbled you, causing you to hunger and then feeding you with manna,which neither you nor your ancestors had known, to teach you that man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord (Deuteronomy 8:3 NIV).
Jesus knew what it meant to depend on God’s Word. That was settled before the temptation in the wilderness. Empty of human strength after forty days of fasting, He battled his opponent in the realm of the spirit with the Word of God. He knew that spiritual battles can only be won with spiritual weapons. And spiritual hunger can only be satisfied by spiritual food.
In my study of God’s Word, I’ve learned it helps to come “hungry to the table.” This means I bring the real issues of my heart to my reading and meditation before I have a chance to fill up on unspiritual “junk food.” Too much mindless conversation, television, computer time, shopping–these and other distractions can actually dull my hunger for God’s Word.
For Reflection: What battle are you facing today? Anxiety, guilt, fear, jealousy, shame, bitterness, anger? Pause for a minute to consider: Have you tried to fight the enemy of your soul with human strength? Are you filling your spiritual hunger with food that doesn’t satisfy?
I encourage you to come hungry to the table. Search God’s Word for a promise that puts your heart at rest. And remember. With God all things are possible. Let that Word do its work in you and for you in your fight of faith. God will not disappoint you. The enemy of your soul will eventually flee after you have resisted, firm in your faith. In time, you’ll sense the peace of God…and this, my friends, is the “rest of faith.”
Lord, increase my hunger for your Word, knowing the deepest hunger in my heart can only be satisfied by You. -Amen