May 14 I Friday
2 Kings 19-21
“He ate nothing during those days, and at the end of [the forty days] He was hungry.” —Luke 4:2
When Jesus was led by the Spirit to the wilderness, He was without food for forty days. The devil came and tempted Jesus three times. The first temptation that the devil sought to strike Jesus with was the lust of the flesh––His hunger. The devil said, “If You are the Son of God, tell this stone to become bread” (Luke 4:3). In other words, “Why are You out here in the desert starving Yourself? Just manufacture some bread and satisfy Your physical appetite with food.” This is not to say that there is something wrong with being hungry; we do not need to feel guilty and repent of our hunger. The subtlety of the lust of the flesh is that it takes things that are natural and good and exploits them. For example, hunger is good, but gluttony is not; rest is good, but laziness is bad; and sex is good, but sexual immorality is sin.
When we talk about the lust of the flesh, many of us tend to think the big one is sex. In the Bible, however, did we notice that the big area where the lust of the flesh has got people into trouble was over food? In the Garden of Eden, Eve was tempted and fell into sin because she ate the fruit from the forbidden tree. Eve had everything, but she wanted to eat what she could not have. Another example is Esau, who traded his birthright for stew. Afterwards, “when [Esau] wanted to inherit this blessing, he was rejected. Even though he sought the blessing with tears, he could not change what he had done” (Hebrews 12:17). The Israelites, too, in the wilderness, while they were on the way to the Promised land, wanted to go back to Egypt because of the food. They cried, “We remember the fish we ate in Egypt at no cost...But now we have lost our appetite; we never see anything but this manna!” (Numbers 11:5-6)
Food has a way with us, which is why it is not surprising that the first thing the devil tempts Jesus with is food. The lust of the flesh manifests with food in a way that reveals a deeper problem. Some of us may fool ourselves into thinking that having everything is enough, but when is “enough”? We can abuse a good thing––like food––that God has given us by overly indulging in it at the expense of others and sin. Like Jesus, may we resist the subtle lie that the lust of the flesh offers, find self-control over our appetites and be content with what we have.
Prayer: Dear God, thank You for the blessing of food each day. Help me to control my appetite that I may not sin against You.