Not By Bread Only: Lenten Meditation | The Guardian Nigeria News
It can be said that the survival instinct is the strongest and most natural of all living beings. One thing that comes to the fore in the observance of Lent is the need for sacrifice, whereby we give up certain luxuries of life. The purpose of observance is to increase our spiritual sensitivity and make us more attentive to divine signals. When Jesus fasted for 40 days and nights, we are told that after this time he was hungry. Hunger is a strong desire for anything that will satisfy our appetite, either for food or for other desires in life.
The tempter challenged Jesus: “If you are the Son of God, command these stones to become bread,” Matt. 4:3. For someone who was physically hungry, it was definitely a strong temptation. He certainly needed food to satisfy his hunger, but not in the way the tempter wanted him to. If He succumbed, then this would become the pattern of His ministry: the will of the Father would be subordinated to His pleasure. But the Lord Jesus saw beyond the tempter’s hunger and offering. He knew he had not come to do his own will, but the will of the Father. This must remain the top priority. So he replied, “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes out of the mouth of God”, Matt. 4:4.
The question has sometimes been asked, “Do you eat to live or do you live to eat?” As simple as it is, it goes to the roots of our being and probes the passions that control it. Hunger can kill, and we need to understand what kind of hunger we need to satisfy in order to fulfill the purpose of our existence.
The Lord Jesus understood: He knew that this hunger would be better satisfied through God’s appointed channels and not by bowing to the challenge of the tempter. Life presents us with many desires and desires and all kinds of ways to satisfy our aspirations. Some are legit, some are flawed, and some are downright evil. We need guidance from the Word of God under the guidance of His Holy Spirit and godly people to know what is safe as we seek to satisfy our different types of hunger. There are desires which, when fulfilled, actually destroy the purpose of our lives because the correct channels have been compromised. The end does not always justify the means. We need the help of God’s Spirit to discern a legitimate and God-honoring way to satisfy our desires and satisfy our hunger.
Bread satisfies physical hunger, but Jesus is pointing to something that is a better alternative when he made this answer. Lent teaches us to hunger and thirst for more of God himself, more of his Word as revealed to us in the Bible, and more of his will known and done on earth as it is in heaven.
When we fail to recognize God’s provision for us and all that He has made available to us for our satisfaction, that is when we cross the red and suicidal line, which is the highway to the false and dangerous promise. of satisfaction. This is what brought Adam and Eve to their primitive spiritual grave. On the other hand, Christ’s mindset from beginning to end is what made him triumph over the grave (see Philippians 2:5-11).
• Bishop Emmanuel Egbunu is the bishop of the diocese of Lokoja