Continuing lessons gleaned from Johnny V. Miller’s talks on the Temptations of Christ.
The first temptation of Christ (Mt 4:1-4) deals with the vulnerability of a felt need. Satan calls us not to suffer.
At the point of this temptation, Christ has been fasting for forty days is dying. Forty days is the limit that a human body can go without nourishment, as it will have consumed all of its reserves. Satan approaches Christ with the question as to whether a good God would allow His chosen one to suffer so. What is more important, argues Satan, religion or your felt “needs”? In Jesus’ case food was beyond a felt need, it was a necessity. The problem is that often our felt needs become idols to us and once that has happened Satan has caught us. Idols must be smashed.
So Satan tries to tempt Jesus with the pleasure of food: “The goal of life is to be fed.” God made pleasure good; the Enemy has turned pleasure into a god.
Jesus, however, has his priorities straight. His response, directly from the Scriptures (Dt 8:1-4), is this: “The goal of life is to be led. It is better to be hungry in the will of God than to be hungry out of the will of God.” This is all about the heart of the believer: both Satan and God want our hearts, but only one person can have your heart.
In conclusion: “The cravings of the flesh can either be our master, leading to destruction, or our servants, leading to life.”