Part 10: Croissant Temptation
I’ll admit it, the fact that my gym and this bakery were so close in vicinity created great temptation on my part. But after awhile, purchasing a warm, buttery croissant in my Lululemon just started to feel right. Croissant temptation is tricky. Does one neglect the graceful provisions of God through the croissant or resist the temptation to indulge?
Although I'm weak in the knees for carbs, the reaction of the Savior of the world in His moment of great temptation is so different. The first mention of the word “bread” in the New Testament is from an eyewitness story from Matthew about how Satan tempted Jesus to prove his deity by turning stones into bread.
Matthew 4:1-11: Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. The tempter came to him and said, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.” Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’ ” Then the devil took him to the holy city and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. “If you are the Son of God,” he said, “throw yourself down. For it is written: “‘He will command his angels concerning you, and they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.’ ” Jesus answered him, “It is also written: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’ ” Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. “All this I will give you,” he said, “if you will bow down and worship me.” Jesus said to him, “Away from me, Satan! For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.’ ” Then the devil left him, and angels came and attended him.
It’s disorienting that the Spirit would be the one leading Christ into the wilderness to be tempted. But as soon as I saw that number 40 some memory triggers went off.
- The flood lasted 40 days/nights
- Moses was on the mountain 40 days/nights twice getting God's commandments for the Jewish people
- The spies surveyed the promised land for 40 days/nights and Joshua was 40 years old during this mission
- As a result of their unbelief to get the promised land, the Israelites suffer through 40 years of wandering through the wilderness
- David and Solomon reigned for 40 years
- Elijah survived 40 days/nights on a bread cake and a jar of water
- Jonah's sermon included a warning that in 40 days/nights Nineveh would be overthrown
- Jesus appeared to more than 500 people after his resurrection over the course of 40 days/nights
Jesus' temptation is not the first time God has led people into a wilderness to be tested.
Deuteronomy 8:1-3: Be careful to follow every command I am giving you today, so that you may live and increase and may enter and possess the land the Lord promised on oath to your ancestors. Remember how the Lord your God led you all the way in the wilderness these forty years, to humble and test you in order to know what was in your heart, whether or not you would keep his commands. 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.
A quick comparison of Matthew and Moses’ account of these temptation stories reveals that both Jesus and the Israelites were led by God into the wilderness as a test of their faith. Faith testing is a hungry business apparently. Our stomach for the testing grows as we fill ourselves with more of God's presence and expand our faith. Our comparison also reveals that God does the leading to the wilderness and Satan does the tempting while we are there. To confuse the two is dangerous heresy.
If hunger reveals our reliance on God’s provision, then based on the example of Jesus and the Israelites, God can use seasons of hunger to humble and test us to expose pride and self-reliance. Ugh. I love self-reliance as much as I love carbs. I'm resistant to examine where self-reliance may be diminishing my faith in Christ. After all, God alone is all-sufficient to meet all my needs.
The thing is, I'm pretty awesome at getting crap done. You are, too. My Slack messages, Voxer responses, email replies, and text emojis include a lot of these phrases: sure thing, no problem, I'd be happy to, consider it done, check.check.check, got it, roger that, on it, cross it off your list, and my then my most favorite: DONE! Oh and how I looooove that feeling of check-boxing an Evernote. It rivals that first crunchy bite of a ham and cheese croissant where the cheese has toasted just perfectly right outside the bread.
Correspondingly, I don't like being hungry. So I've got snacks stashed everywhere. Because man oh man my blood sugar gets low and the hangry wrath is lose-your-religion-cray. You do the math.
Love of self-reliance + hatred of hunger = not liking this lesson too much.
What if the season of spiritual hunger that sparked this whole study is a test of my faith to crunch on my self-reliance?? What if our season of personal wilderness is a test from God to stick a toothpick in our rising faith to see if we're ready for what's next?
Only God can get things done in our heart. That holy work of the Holy Spirit to produce love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness and self-control...yeah, I can't do that myself. It feels like punishment somehow. But look again at God's purpose for our faith testing:
Deut 8:1 "so that you may live and increase and may enter and possess the land the Lord promised"
In a season of great spiritual hunger, I started to follow the breadcrumb trail through the sacred scriptures to find the most satisfying bread for our soul: Jesus.
This led to an obsession with the 300+ times “bread” is mentioned in the holy scriptures, and you’re reading the results, a 16 part bible study: I.Love.Carbs.
Let's break bread together. You could start from the beginning here & be sure to sign up to get the latest blog post delivered right to your inbox >>>>>