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First temptation [Lust of the flesh 1 John 2:16]

First temptation [Lust of the flesh 1 John 2:16]

The Tempter's (Devil's) statement

“Now when the tempter came to Him, he said, “If You are the Son of God, command that these stones become bread.”[Mat. 4:3-4].

The first temptation is an attack on the body, for Jesus was hungry after His fast, and the devil tempted him with food so that Jesus would satisfy His physical needs. The First Adam was tempted similarly by the devil. Adam had a lust of the flesh because the tree was good for food [Gen. 3:6]. It is a temptation we all endure -- when our temptation to be ruled by our passion and desire more than the will of God. Type of Temptation here is Lust of flesh [Greed]. Adam and Eve were chased out of the Garden of Eden as a consequence of their disobedience to God’s commandments and because of the need to quench their flesh. Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, who can do whatever He wills so just in His Word without undergoing ups and downs, has fasted to give a practical lesson to us on how to self-control and overcome temptation. “Be always the master of your stomach; otherwise, it will be a master over you. He who cares for his voracity and, at the same time, hopes to overcome sensuality, is much like he who tries to smolder fire by oil.” [St. John Climakus]. Satan asked of him to change the stones into bread. But “the Savior decided to overcome Satan not by disposition (the changing of stones into bread) but by the humility he also refused to change the stones into bread to declare that he who does not feed on God’s word does not live.” [St. Jerom]. Our Lord responded by citing the Scripture to set an example for all of us that -- the Holy Scripture was given by God as a lamp in darkness to direct our feet and show us the safe way to walk [Psalm 119:105]. The devil may try to misdirect our step and separate us from His will, but we always have to shield ourselves in times of trial by His word. The Lord's Reaction (Statement) “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God '' [Deut. 8:3]. This temptation was the temptation of the ‘flesh’, a satisfied soul with the Word and Grace of God tramples all fleshly desire. The enemy can not find a place inside us for himself if our souls are filled with the Lord in a state of satisfaction and overflow. We should always show unyielding faith in God’s care and providence by trusting the sufficiency of God’s grace through submitting our desire to His greater purpose of living to please God. The approach of overcoming the temptation-Patience. Our Lord left an example to cling to the will of God and His commandments as a reference --- not to submit our will to our bodily desire and passion when tempted but overcome with the help of God’s Word and patience. For this is the will of God, to follow that which is the basic law of our being, “Fear God and keep His commandments, for this is the whole duty of man” [Ecclesiastes 12:13]. King David said, “I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you” [Ps. 119:11]. We must fill our minds daily with the Word of God -for saturating our minds; thus, God’s word is one of the surest safeguards against evil thinking. “Whenever you read the Gospel, Christ Himself is speaking to you. And while you read, you are praying and talking to Him.” St. Tikhon. Above all, We all must learn, as Jesus says, “You shall not (cannot) live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.”

God Bless.

Excerpt taken from "Tewahdo Orthodox Spiritual Journey From Fast of Nineveh to Good Friday" Deacon Medhanie Haile

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