“And after going without food for forty days and forty nights, he was in need of it. And the Evil One came and said to him, If you are the Son of God, give the word for these stones to become bread. But he made answer and said, It is in the Writings, Bread is not man’s only need, but every word which comes out of the mouth of God.” (Matthew 4:2-4 BBE)
Look to yourself! This was the Devil’s cry, challenge and critique. He wasn’t looking for a fulfillment of 1 Thessalonians 5:21 – he was looking for an abandonment of Matthew 6:33. And what failed against Jesus often overcomes us.
Self-denial is huge! How huge? This huge – Luke 9:23-25.
Self-denial looks to God. A task that’s not always so enjoyable for those of us who aren’t prepared. It can be downright scary because we’re not as ready to change as we thought we were. That is, until we look at Jesus, and keep looking at him. With Jesus the veil is removed and the load is lightened. With Jesus negative emotions are replaced with faith-filled emotions. With Jesus we see our self better – and we see how better off we are when we deny our self and confess him.
So the next time we’re challenged to “prove” something about our faith, we may want to stop and ask if our “proof” causes us to look to a reliance upon our self or to someone else beyond our self.
“So when Jesus heard these things, He said to him, “You still lack one thing. Sell all that you have and distribute to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.” But when he heard this, he became very sorrowful, for he was very rich. And when Jesus saw that he became very sorrowful, He said, “How hard it is for those who have riches to enter the kingdom of God! For it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.” And those who heard it said, “Who then can be saved?” But He said, “The things which are impossible with men are possible with God.” (Luke 18:22-27)