Then Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan River. He was led by the Spirit in the wilderness, where he was tempted by the devil for forty days. Jesus ate nothing all that time and became very hungry.
Then the devil said to him, “If you are the Son of God, tell this stone to become a loaf of bread.”
But Jesus told him, “No! The Scriptures say, ‘People do not live by bread alone.’”
Satan, who tempted Adam and Eve in the garden in the guise of the serpent (Genesis 3), also tempted Jesus in the desert. He may tempt us to doubt Christ’s true identity. He knows that once we begin to question whether or not Jesus is God, it’s far easier to get us to do what he wants.
Sometimes what we are tempted to do isn’t wrong in itself. Turning stones into bread wasn’t necessarily bad. The sin was not in the act but in the reason behind it. The devil was trying to get Jesus to take a shortcut, to solve Jesus’ immediate problem at the expense of his long-range goals, to seek comfort at the sacrifice of his discipline. Satan often works that way—persuading us to take action, even right action, for the wrong reason or at the wrong time. The fact that something is not wrong in itself does not mean that it is good for you at a given time.
Often we are tempted not through our weaknesses, but through our strengths. The devil tempted Jesus where he was strong. Jesus had power over stones, the kingdoms of the world, and even angels, and Satan wanted him to use that power without regard to his mission. When we give in to the devil and wrongly use our strengths, we become proud and self-reliant. Trusting in our own powers, we feel little need for God. To avoid this trap, we must realize that all our strengths are God’s gifts to us, and we must dedicate those strengths to his service.
Times of questioning can help us sort out our beliefs and strengthen our faith, but those times can also be dangerous. If you are dealing with doubt, realize that you are especially vulnerable to temptation. Even as you search for answers, protect yourself by meditating on the unshakable truths of God’s Word.