“Then Jesus, being filled with the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness, being tempted for forty days by the devil. And in those days He ate nothing and afterward when they had ended, He was hungry. And the devil said to Him….”(Luke 4:1-3a NKJV) You know the rest. What I want to look at is the role of “need” in opportunity for temptation. Now it is not exclusively linked to need, but I see here that when Jesus was hungry the enemy used the “need” to give an easy out. It was first of all the temptation to prove who He was (if you are…), and the secondary point of it was to satisfy Himself — since He could. Isn’t that the way the enemy still works? Think about it. He waits until I begin to think I have a need and then he presents to me a way to take care of it.
Now the answer to the opportunity is not what it would seem to be. Needs just are and we all have a record before the Lord of them. However, there is a way in Scripture to work here and to eliminate opportunity for temptation through a need.
In Philippians 4:11 in the process of thanking the church at Philippi for their assistance in sending Paul help, he makes the bold statement, “Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content:…” and then he goes on to site several circumstances which are extremes from one another. We spend endless time and energy on trying to likewise “learn to be content,” forever missing the point that contentment is a by-product of having no need. Now just how is this possible?
I believe the text reveals the secret. Because Paul trusts the Lord with his life, and abides continually in the awesome care of the Almighty, he could not possible have a need. Each and every circumstance is just an opportunity to magnify Christ in his life, so it really does not matter what that circumstance turns out to be. This is the secret he had “learned.” The Lord really is Lord and really does love us and really does care for us. So there can not possibly be a “need,” just an opportunity for Christ to be glorified.
What an awesome lesson to allow the emotions to learn! Just think about it. That means all the “needs” that present themselves are really not needs at all for me — but just opportunities to live out the reality of His care. Now this causes me to begin to re-evaluate the way I perceive my circumstances and I have long way to go. If I persist in holding on to my need and His need to answer, then the enemy has the opportunity to cause me to doubt the care of my Lord and to offer various opportunities to take care of matters myself . I have learned enough to know that doesn’t work.
So here goes. I will try to let you know as I learn. How about joining me.