Blog Post by Abby McDonald
“If you are the Son of God…” (Matthew 4:3)
Ah, the tactics of the enemy.
Isn’t this the same question the he’s asked since the beginning? These manipulative words attack Jesus’ identity when he is in the middle of the desert, hungry and exhausted. Matthew aptly refers to Satan in this passage as “the tempter.”
Although his angle varies, the father of lies loves to question. He makes us doubt what we believe and second-guess what we heard from the One who is the source of all things good and true.
“Did God really say…” (Genesis 3:1)
If the foundation of our trust becomes shaky, then everything else will shake along with it. And no one knows this better than the one who’s been telling lies from the beginning.
As much as I would like to have a trumpet blast or an alarm to announce when the enemy of my soul is on the prowl, this isn’t how he works. His strongholds start in the mind, and once he builds his fortress there, actions follow suit.
Then calamity hits and I question the goodness of God. Just like the battle between good and evil in the wilderness all those years ago, God’s identity is in question.
Would a good God allow this? If God was really all-powerful, wouldn’t he do something about this?
Friends, this is exactly where darkness starts. And it only becomes darker and more hopeless once we question who God is.
I wish the struggle was different, but this is what we face day and day out, as we’re bombarded with news of people starving and terrorists performing unthinkable acts of evil. When we’re in the thick of health crisis and heartache with those closest to us, we fight to keep our thoughts from going to that place of doubt.
So what do we do? When the world, as the popular song puts it, is “going to hell in a hand-basket,” how do we keep our minds from going there too?
When I go back to the passage in Matthew where Jesus is being tempted, I love how he responds to Satan. Jesus knows this world contains nothing which will sustain us, not even food and water.
Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’” Matthew 4:4 NIV
We are a creation made not only of body, soul and mind, but spirit.
And that which is spiritual can’t be sustained by the material.
So today, as you’re gathering around the table and spending time with loved ones, I want you to remember that as good as that turkey tastes, there is a life source far greater. It can’t be neglected or shoved to the back burner.
His words aren’t just black and white on page or an item to check off our to-do list, but a never-ending spring of truth. When we come to him with humility and minds open to receive, he transforms our doubtful thinking and heavy-laden hearts into hearts filled with peace and hope.
There is a reason why scripture refers to Jesus as “the Word.” (John 1:1) The Word brings life and Jesus is life. It is a mystery interwoven into the fabric of our beings, and through it the Father speaks and reveals pieces of his greater plan.
The more time we spend in his presence, the more our questions become affirmations. The more we fill ourselves up with the Living Water which never runs dry, the more we can discern what is eternal and true.
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Abby McDonald is a writer who can’t contain the lavish love of a God who relentlessly pursues her, even during her darkest times. When she’s not chasing her two little boys around, she loves hiking, photography, and consuming copious amounts of coffee with friends.
Abby would love to connect with you on her blog, Twitter, and Facebook.