The Cookie Monster Within
Matthew 4:1 —Then was Yeshua led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil.
Yeshua was tempted, really? To be honest, I can’t picture it. Exactly how was Yeshua tempted? Wouldn’t you like to know? I would. Why weren’t more specifics given? I would find it comforting to know … maybe?
Let’s think about this.
We know that, even though Yeshua was God manifested in the flesh, He had to deal with certain aspects of being human just like we do. He got tired. He got hungry. He wept. He acted with intense emotion when overthrowing the tables of the money changers. In the Garden His sweat poured out from Him profusely. And I’m sure there must have been a time or two in which He wanted to smack His stupid disciples upside the head.
So when we come to Yeshua (the God Man) facing temptation in the Wilderness, how do we approach it? How do we make sense of it so as to find some help and comfort for our self?
Truthfully, I don’t know. But … I do have some thoughts to toss out.
There are a couple of verses that will help steer us in a navigable direction. They are found in the book of Hebrews.
Hebrews 2:18 - “For in that he himself hath suffered being tempted, he is able to succour them that are tempted.” His suffering provides our succour.
Hebrews 4:14-16 — “Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession. For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.” The important phrase for us here is that He “was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.”
If nothing else, these verses plainly indicated that what Yeshua experienced was the real deal. It was something that touched Him at His human level. Otherwise, how would He know what we needed by way of help in our time of need? Would He really be able to succour us if He hadn’t suffered?
Let’s look at the temptation in the Wilderness.
I’m going through Matthew. During my second way through, I slowed down a bit in order to think about what I was reading. In doing so, I got to wondering if I needed to look at Yeshua’s time of temptation in the Wilderness differently than I normally do.
Here’s the premise I want to put forward: Our temptations are usually a pull to DO that which we SHOULD NOT do. The temptation Yeshua faced in the Wilderness was to NOT do that which He COULD do.
Here’s how James 5:14-15 presents our temptation experience. “Every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.” In other words, we are NOT to do that which we SHOULD NOT do. However, Yeshua had to subdue His “flesh” differently. He had to NOT do that which He COULD HAVE done.
How was Satan trying to get at Yeshua? It wasn’t so much with what He SHOULDN’T DO but with what He COULD DO. What do I mean?
During the 40 days and nights Yeshua definitely got very hungry. Can you imagine the strength it must have taken for Yeshua to NOT simply create, out of nothing, anything He wanted?
Yeshua COULD HAVE instantaneously had a Four Star Hotel, gourmet meals, bungee jumping from the pinnacle of the Temple, and complete control of all future kingdoms. But, He chose NOT to do that which He COULD do. I submit that’s harder than giving into that which one should not do.
So if Yeshua could NOT do that which He COULD do, can we with His help NOT do that which we SHOULDN’T do? I think we can. How? I’d like to suggest we look at temptation like trying to go on a diet.
Judy makes some incredibly great tasting cookies. They’re not a good thing to have around if one is trying to lose weight. I know if I start I’ll eat (at least) six of the things in about 10 seconds. But … if I would limit my intake, even by just one cookie, then I’ll have made progress. If I start doing that sort of thing with other foods, I’ll not only achieve my desired weight goal but I’ll be able to maintain it.
That’s great, but there’s a problem.
We all know we won’t always pass the Cookie Temptation. What are we to do then? Give up? Quit? Go on a cookie binge? No! Start once again and you’ll notice the next time around it’ll be easier to limit yourself. You’ll be on your way to Cookie Self-control. And before you know it, you’ll be able to say NO to … one temptation at a time.
Let me close with an encouraging verse.
I Corinthians 10:13 —There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.
Let’s slay the Cookie Monster within!