The tempter came to him and said, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread”…“If you are the Son of God,” he said, “throw yourself down”… “All this I will give you,” he said, “if you will bow down and worship me.” Matthew 4:3, 6 & 9
The three temptations that Jesus faced were: to provide for his needs through his own miraculous power and not by trusting God, to force God to serve him instead of him serving God and to achieve power and glory by the wrong avenues.
These temptations aren’t unique to Jesus. We too are tempted to meet our own legitimate needs in ways that are ungodly. Perhaps, it’s about our need for acceptance, belonging and security. While there is nothing wrong in having these needs, if we use people or things to meet these needs we find, not only are they unsatisfying, but they lead us away from trusting God.
We are also tempted to think God is there just to solve our problems and resolve our difficulties. Our focus becomes about what God is doing or will do for me rather than on how I can serve God. While God is interested in meeting our needs, he has bigger plans for us and his world.
Likewise, God’s desire is for us to be successful but not in the way the world defines success. We can live a successful Christian life and never achieve power and glory in this world. Alternatively, we may receive some measure of power and glory but if we achieve it through our own devices we will ultimately find it unfulfilling.
The tempter will continue to tempt us but, like Jesus, we are empowered by his word and his Spirit to overcome.