The Temptation of Comfort

 

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 splendour  “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. Matthew 4: 1-11

 

 

I hate pain.

I hate physical, emotional and spiritual pain.

When I am in pain, I want it gone. So, I pop a tylenol, phone a friend, or ask someone to pray for me. I want relief and I want it fast. 

Our world rotates on the very economy of easing pain and bringing comfort. From Lazy Boy chairs, to medications, to recreational drugs, alcohol,vacations, relaxing music and meditation classes. Anywhere you go, there is a way for you to seek comfort and relieve your pain.

 

Is it possible that our comfort seeking could be one of our greatest temptations?

 

When Jesus was tempted in the wilderness by Satan, Satan tempted him with 3 things. 

1. Use his power to seek immediate relief

“If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.”

2. To give up and seek comfort/ministry/rescuing

“If you are the Son of God,” he said, “throw yourself down. For it is written:

“ ‘He will command his angels concerning you…”

3. To control and gain power of the world around him

The devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendour.

“All this I will give you,” he said, “if you will bow down and worship me.”

 

Interesting…. I would think as Christians, if we were to label the ultimate temptation of humans – we would think; sexual, gluttony, lying or some other “popular sin”.

Interesting how the temptation’s of Jesus were none of those things, but he was tempted with things we actually think we are entitled to on a daily basis.

OUCH

Yep, that hit me too.

The very first documented temptation of Jesus was the offer to use his power to make bread from a stone. After 40 days of fasting Jesus was starving to death, literally. He was human, there was no super bionic power to not feel pain, for that was not the purpose of his coming, he purposfully came to feel human pain and suffering. 

He was despised and rejected by mankind, a man of suffering, and familiar with pain. Isaiah 53:3

He was weakened and drained of all strength – he was hungry.

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.” Matthew 4:1-3

Here’s what stood out to me – Satan was not only tempting Jesus to use his power before his time – but was testing Jesus to use his own power to seek his own relief, comfort, and control, instead of seeking it from the Father. 

Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God. ”

So many times in my life I have rushed for comfort, using my own strength. If I am in great despair my mind races “who can I talk to?” or “What can I do to distract myself and make this pain go away” . I am tempted beyond belief to seek comfort. This was a HUGE battle for me during many months of daily panic attacks and extreme anxiety. I had a bottle of Ativan, nearby, “Take as needed” and friends who begged me to call them when I was in the middle of an attack. 

I avoided the drugs like the plague and I learnt to run to God, before I ran to my friends. Why? Especially when both things can offer almost immediate results? Because, it was temporary. But each time I laid before God trembling in despair, he would heal me deeply. Each time I would run to Him, I would become stronger, and deeper in my faith. Ativan, as joyful as that little pill can be, could not heal the deep fears of my heart.

We hit a traumatic season in our life and we become desperate for comfort, seeking medication, council, or distraction to ease the suffering. My 1st question to myself and others is usually, “Have you taken this to God?”  I never mean to be insensitive, but I know that I am limited in my ability to comfort that person the way they so deeply need it, only God can do that. I’m a counterfeit. If they have taken it to God and sought his comfort 1st, then I become a tool and an answer to their prayer, not their prayer.

 

“If you look for truth, you may find comfort in the end; if you look for comfort you will not get either comfort or truth only soft soap and wishful thinking to begin, and in the end, despair.” ~C. S. Lewis

 

I see people run to pastors, before they would run to God. People run to the bar, before they would open the word of God. We do it all the time and think it’s fine.

But we’re actually falling into The Great Temptation.

 God, above all else, desires for us to know that He is our God and he desires to meet all of our needs, and we are to have no other God before him. The truth is, that after Jesus rebuked Satan and Jesus thwarted all temptation, he received everything from the father that Satan had offered him. He received the provision of bread (Matthew 14:13-21), the ministry and comfort of angels (Matthew 4:11) and kingship over all the earth (matthew 28:18)

Learning to fight the temptation of comfort from anything but the Lord, is the beginning of powerful connection and an abundant life, I really believe this.

 

Faith Challenge: Jesus was tempted throughout his whole journey, not just one big test. Take some time to study the word finding clues to other temptations Jesus faced, and conquered. They are all hyperlinked so you can just click on the verse and read.

Matthew 26:38

Mark 8:31-33

Luke 22:28

John 6:15

Hebrews 2:18

Hebrews 4:15 

 

 

 

 

 

Past  Devotionals :

Running back to God

Childlike Faith

 

 

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The Baby Mama
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Ouch. This has really hit home. I often wonder why I have battled with anxiety for as long as I have. And a little while ago was I was thinking about this very thing – that each time I felt anxious, or was in the midst of a mind blowing panic attack, my first thought was to pop a pill, see a doctor, run and hide, anything. Now, I’m not battling as much anymore, (although I still have my off days – like today), but I have learnt to take things to God first. And to continually take things to… Read more »

The Baby Mama
Guest

I am somewhat amused right now. About five minutes ago I received an email from my hubby about a weekend away for the two of us and our daughter. It would be lovely – but my first reaction was panic. I like being at home. I feel more in control there and I fear an anxiety or panic attack when we go somewhere. And in trying to assess my reaction, the words I wrote in the comment above came back to me. So, now I can honestly say I need to go to God and let Him deal with it.… Read more »

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[…] The Temptation of Comfort: Many times, the reason we end up in bondage was by putting our trust and faith in something other than God to bring us comfort. We hate change and God deems it necessary, often. We hate it because it brings discomfort and brings us into unfamiliar places. Lot’s wife was terrified and she longed for comfort; maybe she looked back for something to bring her peace of mind — ‘maybe it wasn’t all that bad, maybe there was a piece of her old life she could return to?’ […]