“And the tempter came and said to him, ‘If you are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread.’ But he answered, ‘It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’” -Matthew 4:3-4
I am a lot of things, but I am definitely not patient. I also have a tendency to try to fix everything and everyone. When you combine those character attributes, you get someone who doesn’t trust and quickly seeks to take matters into his own hands. Satan can pervert those attributes in a hurry. I have seen it over and over again. Looking at Matthew 4, this is the first temptation that Jesus faces as well.
Following Jesus’ baptism, he’s taken out into the desert to go 12 rounds with Satan. Satan comes at Jesus when He’s weak and frail seeking to make Him falter, but instead he is just a pawn that proves Jesus is exactly who He says He is.
The first temptation came after 40 days and 40 nights of fasting. Satan rolls up and tries to take advantage of Jesus’ hunger by telling Him that if He is the Son of God, He should turn a rock into a loaf of bread. Jesus responds, “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.”
They both knew Jesus was fully capable of turning that stone into the best bread any of us have ever tasted. He had, and still has, the gifts and abilities to resolve this issue on the spot, but Jesus knew that wasn’t the will of God. Jesus instead chose to abide in the promises of God rather than succumb to an enticing and seemingly innocent temptation.
Right out of the gate in Jesus’ ministry, Satan is tempting Jesus to take matters into His own hands. He is presented with a problem that he can resolve in his own way, but he recognizes it may not necessarily be the Father’s way. Why should we expect it to be any different in our lives and leadership roles? The moment we start to believe that our gifts are sufficient in and of themselves is the moment we become ineffective.
We are prone to want to turn rocks into loaves of bread on our own rather than displaying patience and trust in the promises of God. We want to force the issue and get to the solution. That’s when we begin to compromise. By looking at the temptation of Jesus’, we can see that this plays right into Satan’s hands.
Instead trust in the promises of God. Don’t cut corners, bend rules or lower standards. Employ the gifts and abilities that God has blessed you with in God’s time and for God’s glory.